I have always done my state and federal income taxes manually. However this year I decided to try Turbotax. I had hoped to receive it in time to figure my final estimated tax payment (due January 15). However due my procrastination and refusal to pay more for expedited shipping I didn't receive it until Saturday so I had estimate what my taxes would be manually anyway.
Having now received it I can report my first impressions. I got the Deluxe version which includes 1 state return and federal efile.
To start I found the data entry a bit awkward as it assumes you have all your W-2, 1099 and similar forms in front of you and it is not always clear how to proceed if you don't. And when I tried to import my dividends received from Quicken it lumped them all together which is not correct. It also kept trying to sell me a fancier version to handle investments although I think this is unnecessary.
Another problem is my 2009 taxes are affected by my 2008 taxes. If I had used Turbotax last year this would presumably have been no problem but as it is I had to enter a lot of data from 2008 including data from worksheets. This would have been easier if Turbotax had given the location (page numbers) of the worksheets.
In general it seems that I may not save all that much time. Having done my taxes manually for many years I know which calculations to skip as they won't save me money. However Turbotax has me spend time figuring credits that I ultimately don't qualify for. Of course it could turn out I have been overlooking something for years. On the other hand Turbotax seemed overly willing to assume a state tax refund I received was taxable income.
So my initial impressions are a bit negative. Of course my mood was not improved by learning that the AMT is going to be a considerably larger hit for me in 2009 than it had been in previous years.
1 hour ago