01 February 2008

The Joys of TurboTax

I debated whether this belonged in the News & Politics category, but then decided to relegate it to the generic Blogging category.  Anyhow, I know some people are touchy about product endorsements in blogs because it commercializes what is supposed to be a more personal forum.  Still, for the third consecutive year, I have elected to use TurboTax to file my taxes (the second year my wife has used it, as we elected to file together) and I have to say I love it.

Like most people, I am neither completely incapable of doing my own taxes nor am I completely confident in my ability to do them.  What I like about TurboTax is that it makes the filing process quick, and it gives me the reassurance that everything is done right.  Plus, it calculates my tax return each step of the way, so I don't have to guess what size return I'll be getting.

Paying for the software includes the federal filing fee, though state is usually extra.  You can elect to have the cost of all fees deducted from your return, but they charge an extra $29.95 to defer payment; I don't know about you, but I'd rather front the $40 some odd dollars and save.  You can also choose between having your return mailed in, which gets your return to you in five to six weeks, or you can pay an additional $17.95 to e-file and get it in about nine days.  I recommend spending the $18 to expedite the federal return, but waiting the extra time to get the state return, which is usually a lot less money.

Why am I praising TurboTax, here on the first of February?  Because last night, my wife and I completed e-filing and have already been notified that both our federal and state files were accepted and our returns will be issued forthwith.  Not only did we save on fees by not going to have a paid tax preparer go over our files, but we were able to do it at our convenience during A Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.  It's always nice when you can go from laughing at a CNN blooper depicting a guy dressed as SpongeBob SquarePants to typing in your W-2 data and back again in a matter of minutes.

I haven't used H & R Block's software, but I hear good things.  This will likely disappoint President Bush and Congress, but we have no intention of going shopping with our return, or our eventual rebate.  They will, however, be pleased to know that those funds will be applied directly to our credit debt, thus ensuring we will not be among the numerous Americans that have defaulted or declared bankruptcy or laughingly sent a hand-written "I.O.U." to the creditors.  It's not the sexy thing to do with the money, but it's the most responsible thing.

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