Thursday, March 26, 2009


From Cleve, 3/26/09:

Those of you, like me, who have used the tax preparation software TurboTax by Intuit in the past may have been frustrated and surprised trying to find the 2008 tax year version at either or From the options given, it may appear that TurboTax has migrated to become an online-only product. Not true; the desktop version, which I much prefer, is still available, but it's not easy to find.

I realized a desktop version must exist after reading through a number of posts in the Technical Support section (which wasn't easy to find, either; it's buried at the bottom of a page trying to get you to sign up for tax advice at $29.95 per session). Some of the posts referred to either the Online or Desktop version. I Googled a few phrases and finally got best results by searching for "turbotax desktop" (no quotes). To save you the trouble, here is the link you need:
Not only is the desktop version my preference (more on this below), it's also a lot cheaper. For the Deluxe version, the online cost starts at $29.95 but only IF you file by March 27; after that it's $49.95. Add a state and you pay another $34.95. But the desktop version, which includes both federal and state, is $59.95.

In my view there are other compelling reasons to choose the desktop over the online:
  1. It's much faster, especially if you're trying to do it over wireless. I downloaded the desktop over a DSL Ethernet connection in less than 3 minutes.
  2. It doesn't require you to upload your sensitive personal or financial information.
  3. In theory you can upload your old information from your 2007 TurboTax. However, that's not clear in the online version. And once you start entering ANY data, including your name, you can't go back and overwrite it with the 2007 data.
    But WAIT; THERE'S MORE . . .
  4. Intuit does a terrible job of letting you know about problem #3. It's there in a user forum as the advice voted the best by the thousands of others who asked this question. And what is the advice? Essentially, "Well, you can't do that, even though they say you can." In my opinion, this is woefully unsatisfactory customer service on Intuit's part.
I've used TurboTax since 1998 (when it was called MacInTax). With a couple of exceptions, each year it's gotten better and easier. Now that I've finally figured out how to get the desktop version for 2008 running, I guess I'll stay with it, but you can bet I'll look at other options, and start a lot earlier, next year.

No comments: