TurboTax 2009 Home & Business from Intuit Inc. . March 2010 . Vol. 16 No. 3

Cyber News and Reviews is a monthly column published for parents, teachers & business owners featuring kids educational software reviews, business software reviews (small business & home business), games and entertainment articles, a free resource since 1995.

December 2009--EarMaster Essential 5 from eMedia Music Corporation & Windows 7 Academic Offer

November 2009--Kaplan SAT® Premier Live Online 2010 Edition

October 2009--Algodoo, a Physical Science Simulator Game

TurboTax 2009 Home & Business from Intuit Inc.

By Howard Berenbon

In no time April 15 will be here, the deadline for filing your federal and state income tax forms.  You’ll find new deductions for 2009 to help reduce your tax liability, especially when it comes to saving energy and the environment.  This includes a 30 percent home energy credit for installing a more efficient furnace and air conditioning, solar panels for harnessing electricity and supplementing your home hot water and even adding a small wind turbine or new windows.  So, you have a month or so to get those papers filed, either by entering your information into the IRS tax forms by hand, or using special tax software.  For years, I had been filling out my tax forms by hand, following the detailed instructions from the IRS.  It was tedious and often difficult until I discovered TurboTax and then everything changed for the better.   If you haven’t used TurboTax, then it’s time to try it even if you have an accountant, or you’re using some other brand of tax preparation software.   I’ve used it for years, and it works great and is guaranteed accurate, covering just about any tax situation for home and business, and you’ll definitely save money over an accountant.

If you haven’t started collecting your tax data, it’s time to get all your paperwork in order.  You should have all the important federal, state and local tax information for the year 2009, and important expense information for your deductions like your property tax payments, home improvement expenses, health related expenses, interested paid and business expenses (if you run your own business).  You’ll need that information plus the 1099s and W-2 forms from banks and employers to enter into the tax forms—or in this case, TurboTax.  Once you have all the data you need, you have three choices: take the data to your accountant, prepare the forms on your own with pen and paper or buy TurboTax 2009 and make Intuit your computerized accountant, which is my choice.  TurboTax will save you time and money, and once you use it there’s no turning back.  It's not expensive.  In fact, they offer a free Federal edition for the 1040EZ and simple forms (with limitations).  For more complex tax situations, personal or business, they offer several versions from $40 to $129.95 and include free Federal eFile with an additional cost for the state.

Every year I recommend TurboTax because in my opinion, it’s the best tax preparation software available, and I haven’t changed my mind. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of improvements especially in their step-by-step format and online support. You can actually talk to real person if you have a question. TurboTax covers all tax situations, and changes are updated when they occur so when you file you’ll be filing with the latest forms and updates.  If you have questions or run into problems, they offer lots of help within TurboTax, in every screen, including a 24/7 online chat and their Live Community with questions and answers by experienced users and experts .  And Intuit guarantees you’ll get the highest legally allowable refund.


TurboTax installed from the single CD in just a few minutes.  Once installed, it checks for updates, and then you’re required to register.  To begin, you’ll click on Start a New Return, and then you can transfer your 2008 tax information from last year’s TurboTax file, for use in your 2009 return, or start completely new.  The ability to transfer all your tax information from last year’s tax return to this new tax year is really priceless and quite a time saver. This means that all you have to do is change the numbers for 2009.  Of course, any new financial information and forms required are easily added.  For example, if you have to add another bank account, or you sold some stock, you just add the new forms.

If you’re experienced, TurboTax lets you enter your tax data directly into each form, or you can have them guide you through your entry with a series of detailed questions. As you enter your data, you’ll see the estimated refund amount displayed at the top of the screen.  If you have a question about an entry or a form, you can type your question into a search box at the top of the screen, or check your question against those commonly asked.  When you’re done, you can print your forms for a backup, and then file electronically.  You can also file by mailing your forms, but it’s so easy to eFile that you might as well take advantage of the free service.  Last year was the first time I used eFile, and was a bit hesitant, but did it anyway.  I was relieved to get a quick response that it was filed and accepted without problems so I will do it again for 2009.

Features & Improvements

The important features and improvements include Live Tax Answers, improved error scanning with real time checking, bookmarks to return to different areas of your return, free technical support, improved file transfers, accuracy guarantee, up-to-date on latest tax laws, finds small-business and industry-specific deductions, creates W-2 and 1099 forms, imports investment info, finds best depreciation method, tracks your audit risk with risk meter, helps get maximum donation deduction, new business startup deductions, deductions for rental property, guidance for investments, transfer data from QuickBooks and many more.

TurboTax 2009 Home & Business sells for $75 and will run on any multimedia PC (Windows or Macintosh), 450 MHz 32-bit or faster processor, 500 MB hard disk space, 256 MB RAM with Windows XP/Vista/7, a CD-ROM drive and Adobe Reader 7.0 or higher. Mac – PowerPC G3 or higher processor, 256 MB RAM, 225 MB hard disk space and Mac OS X (10.3) or higher.  For more information, or to order, visit Amazon.com.

TurboTax 2009 Versions

TurboTax Deluxe Federal + State + eFile 2009 – $40.37

TurboTax Premier Federal + State + eFile 2009 -- $61.23

TurboTax Home & Business Federal + State + eFile 2009 --  $63.93

TurboTax Business Federal + State + eFile 2009 --  $78.84

Software Companies Mentioned

Intuit Inc.
2500 Garcia Ave.
Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone: 1-800-446-8848
URL turbotax.com