So What Should I
Do Now?"> So what should you do? If youre a long-time user of TurboTax, or of Quicken, is it safe to use TurboTax this year? Are there other alternatives? Well first of all, Intuit has made some major changes in its approach to SafeCast in part, Id like to think, because of our dogged coverage of this important issue.As I said at the top, Im a long-time Quicken and TurboTax user. The tight integration between Quicken and the tax software really does make filing taxes much easier. For me, it would be a huge liability to move away from TurboTax, even to another fine product like TaxCut. Im Staying With TurboTax: (
check prices) Had I been forced to use the first version of TurboTax, I would have jumped ship. The inability to uninstall SafeCast, along with potentially losing access to my return down the road would have simply been too much to bear. But with those two items fixed, Im grudgingly going to stay with TurboTax this year.
Im still not happy about the problems reported by some users when they attempted to change a hard drive, or move an activated installation. Im also very concerned about the use of Sector 33 on the hard drives first track. So I plan on installing and using TurboTax on my second machine at home the one my wife usually uses. That way if it breaks, I wont be completely out of luck.
If youre a long-time TurboTax and Quicken user like me, you have a complex return, and can put up with some of the possible annoyances, Id recommend sticking with what you know. The ability to integrate with prior year returns, along with all your Quicken-based financial data outweighs the possible problems. But there are other options.
Use Common Sense: If youre an enthusiast who enjoys building and modifying machines, dont use that machine for your taxes! Set aside a stable machine that wont set off Intuits DRM alarm bells. Thats what Ive done with my wifes machine. You dont need 3D graphics and 3 GHz to do your return.
TaxCut Premier: ( check prices) Remember that PC Magazine also gave H&R Blocks tax software an editors choice. If youre at all wary, and youre not concerned about integration with past returns, or Quicken, TaxCut offers a very viable option. It works well, and lacks DRM-style product activation.
Tax Act: Although it didnt win any awards at PC Magazine, many of our readers have suggested it as a lower cost alternative. At around $10, it certainly is priced right! Weve got a complete review if youre interested in this alternative.
Go Online: If your return is reasonably simple, and you have a broadband connection, dont forget the online options! Both H&R Block and Intuit offer robust websites where you can add all your return information. Beware, though, because prices rise on both sites after April 1st. A less expensive way might be to use 2nd Storys site, which costs less than $10 to file a return. For more details, take a look at our story detailing online options. In any case, make sure you print out a copy of your return for your records.
Free Filing with the IRS: Finally, if you meet certain eligibility restrictions, mostly concerning total salary, you can file for free! Head over to the IRS site for more details on eligibility and how to get started.
Get a Refund: I hope you will on your taxes, but if youve already purchased TurboTax and all these problems now deter you from using it, you should be able to easily get a refund from either the store where you bought it, or directly from Intuit. Nick Stam decided against using TurboTax this year, and received a prompt refund right from Intuit!
Last Word: Lets face it. Doing taxes is hard work enough! Why does Intuit have to add all this fear, uncertainty and doubt into the mix. Change your tune next year Intuit, or I just may have to switch to Microsoft Money!
You can now upgrade a store-bought version of TurboTax to get a complete SafeCast uninstaller. That upgrade also gives you more flexibility when using the product on an un-activated computer. And by offering a completely unlocked version of TurboTax in October of 2003, Intuit has blunted another whole set of concerns about access to returns in the near and distant future.