For a number of years, I have used TurboTax Online to do my taxes. When I had a typical full-time career with a few mutual funds and a home it was cheap and easy. However, when I got married things got complicated. My wife is in the military and gets a few tax breaks. She also owned her own place, which she rented out when she moved in with me. Around the same time, I started earning side income with Lazy Man and Money. Suddenly, we had a few tax circumstances that weren’t very typical. I still wanted to use TurboTax because it served me well over the years, but my wife thought it was best we get a professional. It turns out that any kind of lingering tax mishaps will stand out a black mark in your military career that can prevent promotions. In that light, I viewed moving to a professional as career insurance and something that was well worth paying extra for.
All that said, I thought I’d sign back into TurboTax Online and see what it looks like today. Yes, sometimes I’m curiously weird like that. Fortunately my login from 5 years ago still works. I don’t know why I thought it wouldn’t (well I do – Sprint disables mine every couple of years). Here were some things that I noted as I toured the software:
TurboTax has always had a step by step procedure for doing your taxes. This isn’t anything new or unique, but it’s something to expect. You have the ability to skip a step and come back to it later. This is a feature that I used every year as different investment documents came in at different times.
As I mentioned, my taxes are pretty complicated. It looks like TurboTax can hack them all. I had everything on the right side of the graphic this year. I was able to avoid a lot of the left side (except for the charitable donations).
One of the big questions that I had about TurboTax handling our unique military situation was answered by the screen above. I have to give them props for explaining it in detail. I imagine that this question would likely confuse many, many people though.
After you’ve completed entering your information it’s time to go through your Federal tax documents. Get out those W-2s.
This is a pretty neat time saver for those who have Mint accounts. I celebrated technology for a minute… until I got to:
The words “Epic Fail” are tossed around much too liberally nowadays. I’m going to call TurboTax’s lack of integration with a Quicken import an official epic fail. Mint hasn’t been owned by Intuit that long that, but they were able to make that work. Why wouldn’t Quicken, Intuit’s flagship financial software, work with TurboTax, Intuit’s flagship tax software?
Who is the manager that said, “Let’s not support Quicken anymore with our online version of our software. We’ll make people get in a car and go buy Quicken at Staples. Oh and we’ll specifically point out that Macintosh users are out of luck – at least we’ll save them the car ride.”
Give that manager an award for being able to decrease sales and upset customers in two quick sentences.
I hate to end on a sour note like that, but at this point, I figured out most of what I needed to know about TurboTax. Truth be told, I don’t think it is that sour, I never used the import as entering the W-2 and 1099 information only took me a few minutes.
I think TurboTax in general is a good solution for some 99% of the population. One of the best parts is that you can give it a shot yourself without paying until the end: TurboTax Online