Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Now For Something Totally Different - An Actual Money Post

Back when I started this blog, I often did posts on money and financial planning along with my usual gun and gun-related posts. But I got away from that as the gun stuff got to be way more interesting and court cases started really heating up. However, I think this info on tax prep software is important enough to break that trend.

Since the mid-1990s, I used Turbo Tax to prepare my taxes. Even as my taxes got more complicated - investment income, Schedule C, Schedule D, etc - I stayed with Turbo Tax Basic. It did everything I needed without the expense of the Deluxe or Premier editions.

This year Intuit decided to make a change in the Turbo Tax software. Their Basic level software will now only handle Form 1040EZ and Form 1040A. If you have investment income or need to itemize you are out of luck with that software. This year I would need not merely the Deluxe Edition but the Premier Edition because I sold some stock last year. The cost would have skyrocketed from an average of $25 to about $75. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper especially given this would be the first year in 20 years that I'd be filing Married Filing Jointly.

Change is good they say and change I have. After much investigation, I went with H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe + State 2014 Win [Download] . It included everything I needed plus it would file my North Carolina state return. I paid little more for this than I had the Turbo Tax Basic in years past. So far, the setup has been easy, the entry of what little data I have so far is been effortless, and it imported my tax files from last year's Turbo Tax file.

I should note for the record that I do not give tax or legal advice, I am not a Certified Public Accountant, and I'm not an Enrolled Agent. I'm just a person who has done his own taxes since 1983 after getting screwed over by a friend's dad who was a CPA when he bungled my taxes.

So what do you do if you have already purchased either the Basic or Deluxe Editions of Turbo Tax 2014 and you've run into their brick wall. Showing that they are no dummies and that they realize they have a chance to steal a lot of Turbo Tax's customers, H&R Block has a solution for that.
KANSAS CITY, MO, Jan 12, 2015 (Marketwired via COMTEX) -- H&R Block, the world's largest consumer tax services provider, is offering its Deluxe + State desktop software free to taxpayers who already purchased TurboTax's Basic or Deluxe software for 2014. The offer comes in the wake of a change in forms available to TurboTax Basic and Deluxe clients. Many TurboTax clients are discovering the products they've used for years will no longer support their tax needs without additional paid upgrades.

The biggest change TurboTax made in their forms coverage is no longer supporting Schedule A in their Basic product. Taxpayers who itemize deductions and use forms for mortgage interest, charitable donations and Health Savings Accounts will now have to upgrade to TurboTax Deluxe, a $40 increase in price. However, the 30 percent of DIYers who file a Schedule A can use H&R Block Basic software, normally $19.95, to access Schedule A forms. H&R Block Basic users will also receive a 5 percent bonus on top of a federal refund when the taxpayer puts some or all of their refund on e-gift cards from more than 40 retailers.

"If people are disappointed by their software choice this year, we encourage them to switch to H&R Block for free. Our software products offer the same tax form support and related features as last year and TurboTax users can easily import prior year data into H&R Block tax software," said Jason Houseworth, president of digital products for H&R Block.

Software users can easily "switch to Block"

To claim the free H&R Block Deluxe + State software, taxpayers should email and include their name, address, phone number, the type of operating system they use (Windows/Mac), and proof of purchase (a photo or scan of their store receipt or the email showing their download code). The taxpayer will then receive an email for one free download of H&R Block Deluxe + State. Taxpayers can easily import last year's tax return directly from TurboTax for free.

Deluxe clients also impacted by TurboTax decision to withhold forms

DIYers who have small business or self-employment income and need to file a Schedule C can now switch to H&R Block's Deluxe + State software for free as they will no longer have access to Schedule C forms with TurboTax Deluxe software. H&R Block Deluxe + State also covers stocks, bonds, ESPPs and other investment income (Schedule D), which TurboTax Deluxe software no longer includes. H&R Block Deluxe + State users will receive a 10 percent refund bonus on a federal refund when the taxpayer puts some or all of their refund on e-gift cards from more than 40 retailers. All of these features, as well as five federal e-files and one state product download, are free to H&R Block Deluxe + State users.

H&R Block Basic and Deluxe clients receive the same in-person audit support and advice from a tax expert by real-time chat that all H&R Block users receive.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! I would have been in the same boat, your tip came just in time as I was about to start my own return now that some forms are starting to show up.