By Howard Berenbon
I’m going to just start out and say, thank you Intuit for making my income tax year easy again. I have been using TurboTax to file my takes for years and years (I’ll have to check that number), but with no regrets. It’s an amazing program. Prior to using TurboTax, I’d spend about a week entering and double checking my data, and if I was lucky, I filed that 10 days later, and I was only doing one tax return. On March 31, I started 3 separate tax returns, Federal and state (my two daughters and my own) and was done and filed electronically on April 1st, no fooling around! That’s just two days, and I’m done. As I was writing this review I was notified by TurboTax, via e-mail, that both the US Federal and Michigan State returns were accepted. Just amazing!
As far as appearance and functioning, TurboTax Home and Business 2016 worked essentially the same as year the 2015 version. If you need help, enter your question, and usually you’ll get the answer. I use the step-by-step approach and rarely look at the forms unless I want to double check my entries, and it functioned nicely. When it’s time to check for error, it did find a few, but they were easily fixed. It didn’t happen with the kids’ returns, but only in my joint return with my wife.
I do have some minor criticism at the price of a second state data. One daughter had to file in both Michigan and Ohio, and we had to buy the Ohio data, which was a bit steep at $49.95. I think $25 or $30 would be more acceptable. Now, e-filing is free for Federal returns, and that’s great, but State e-filing is $24.99 (used to be $19.99), and that can add to your tax expense especially if you’ll filing 3 state returns. However, you can opt out of e-filing for the state and print out the return and snail mail it in, which I did for one daughter. But, if want to save time and file immediately, e-filing is the way to go. Now, another great feature is that TurboTax imports your personal information and forms data from last year, and unless you have new forms to enter, you can just breeze right through. If you have different forms, it’s fast to create a new one.
This year I made an error in my taxes, discovered just after clicking the send button to file (this can be a common mistake). Opps! I know about amending returns, though I never had to until this year. If you happen to discover missing forms, or income or deductions, you can file an amended return right from TurboTax (of course!). Before you file, you need to wait for your return to be accept, and that didn’t take long for our returns. Then you make a backup copy of your original return naming it “amended” and then search for “amending returns” and you’re on your way to correct them. When amending a return, you can’t e-file, so it prints out the new forms and you mail it in with your tax payment (if you owe). Even with an error, in just 2 days our three separate taxes were done.
TurboTax Home and Business 2016 installed in about 5 minutes from CD, and I imported the 3 previous 2015 tax return data in a minute more. I prefer the CD version, but you can also download the software, or even work with their online version. This version includes 5 free Federal e-files and one state download.
For more information, or to order, visit Amazon.com. It currently costs $64 and free shipping for the PC/MAC CD.
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