I am BARRY HESS > Blog

Tax Season '06

This year I decided to comparison shop on my e-taxes. I went through the online process with TurboTax and TaxACT. The end result was exactly the same through both applications. This kind of surprised me.

One thing I did notice was it was vastly easier to complete the data entry in TurboTax. Both sets of software had detailed questioning, but TurboTax used boldface with clear and consistent queries to make answers much more clear. Especially when going through sections of the questioning that did not apply to us. TaxACT had several paragraphs with questions buried inside. And the buttons that needed to be clicked were all over the place. Way too much lateral mouse movement.

The kicker for most people, though, is that TaxACT is cheaper. I don’t remember the exact pricing, but I believe the only cost with TaxACT is for state filing. TurboTax has state filing cost along with federal filing cost to the tune of, I believe, $20. Knowing what I know now I may pay $20 for the ease-of-use and added confidence in correctness that TurboTax provides.

A couple related things. I e-submitted both federal and state forms at about 9PM last night and I’ve already received acceptance from the State of Minnesota. TaxACT told me it would take three to five days for the state to respond. This is our top five tax burden in action! Of course, TaxACT also told me to wait to submit the state forms until I had heard back from the fed, but whatever.

Also, this is the third straight year that we donated an inordinate no-interest loan to the state and federal governments. Four years ago we were hit with a monster pay-in situation and ever since we have entirely flip-flopped with a monster pay-out situation. Every year I adjust the ol’ W-4 and it never quite works out. The calculations are bunk, that’s for sure. The good thing is that my 401(k) is taken out tax-free regardless, meaning I’m not submitting any less to the 401(k) due to my horrible ability to calculate tax withholding. Come to think of it, maybe I need to be subtracting that 401(k) allocation from my income on the W-4. Hmmm….