TurboTax 2009 Has Some Nice New Features
I have been a customer of TurboTax for a few years already. When I used the software to prepare my own taxes in the past, I always got the PC version, the software that requires installation on my own PC. I know Intuit has been offering the equivalent, online tax preparation software for sometime, but I never tried the web-based version because, somehow, I feel it’s safer to have all the important personal information on my own computer than on a website. Not that I don’t trust the website in securing my personal data, it’s just a habit that’s a little hard to break.
This year, however, I decided to give the web-based TurboTax a try because I heard there are some nice improvements in the 2009 version. Though those improvements are also included in the standalone version, I also want to see how the online software works. No, I am not planning to shift permanently to the web-based software, at least not with the first try.
Anyway, the first impression when I started TurboTax Premier Online with State and E-Filing was, well, it looks just like the PC version and the procedures are also identical, as far as I can tell: I first enter our personal information, then W-2s, then 1099s.
While I was putting my W-2 into the tax software, I intentionally made an error. In Box 13, I check-marked the second option, Retirement plan. However, I omitted the amount in Box 12, D – Elective deferrals to 401(k). When I tried to continue with my filing, I got an error message like this:
It looks like the software detected there was something wrong while I was entering my information. This brings the improvement of the new version of the software: The error check occurs as the filing goes, not at the end of the process as it usually did in the past as I can remember. Since it always takes me days, if not weeks, to complete our returns, I like the instant error check feature a lot. Catching the error right away and correcting it while things are still fresh make it much easier.
It also happened to me before that there were times I wasn’t very sure about something during the process and I wanted to revisit the issue later. Going back to those places wasn’t that straightforward before since I had to remember where I left those issues myself. In the 2009 TurboTax, however, it’s easy with new Flag feature. As you can see above, I added a Flag at the place I want to back later, gave it a name, and saved it. Clicking on the Flag button at the top of the screen and selecting the name of the flag I created will take me right back to where I flagged.
Finally, the 2009 TurboTax also includes a Live Community. It’s a place where you can get your tax related questions answered. Before posting your own question, you can search through the archives to see if the same or similar question has been asked and answered before. If you can’t find the answer for your question, you can post it to the community and somebody, either users just like you or a tax experts from Intuit will provide an answer in a timely manner. It could be very helpful during the tax season.
Are you using the online version of TurboTax or the PC program? What do you think of these improvements if you have used the online version before?
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