2014 Tax programs. What's the best?

I’m not in a complicated enough position to spend the money on a professional but also can’t get away with a 1040EZ. I typically need to do a Schedule A and B, sometimes a C. Just enough that I prefer to let a machine do all the calculations and keep track of what I’m allowed and not allowed to do.

I’ve used Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s over the past years, and, at times, sworn never to use them again. But I still do. I appreciate the convenience of the program over learning tax codes.

So, again this year, I will probably buy one or the other. Or maybe something I’ve not yet discovered. I’m hoping for the informed consensus of the membership here to sway me to something based on your personal experiences. What do you like and why?

To sweeten the pot, I just got a free copy of the H&R Block program in the mail. What’s the catch here? What can they upsell to me if they gave me the full program and free filing?

BTW, one question: Turbo Tax allows me to create PDFs as I go, and when I’m finished. This is a deal breaker for me. If I can’t save a PDF of all the forms and worksheets for future reference, then I don’t want the product. Does the H&R program allow for this? It seems missing from their website.

I use H&R Block, but their online system, not the software. I get PDFs of all my tax returns.

In my opinion H&R Block plus electronic filing is an expensive option, but they’ve got all my returns for several years now and are excellent since I started a business.

I think the “catch” may be that federal filing is free but not state filing. And also note that there are free online alternatives, which may be why H&R Block sent out the free CD.

Anything that can print can save to a PDF (Adobe reader, Foxit, Bullzip PDF Printer all allow this), so don’t worry about this. H&R block taxcut is absolute garbage on the business and usable but not so great on the personal side. They have not updated the program much in many many years (beyond required tax code updates), and it shows. They seem to be hitting the promotion lever even harder this year so I doubt very much that has changed (it may be worse). I know last year for the first time I had to buy Turbotax Business last minute because H&R Block taxcut business didn’t have the state forms ready in time for me to do my taxes, so they are forever on my shit list for that. But I switched to Turbotax Personal and Turbotax Business at the same time and after using H&R block for 5+ years I found it to be quite a bit better/easier to use.
I wouldn’t go so far to say Turbotax is great and there are online choices that I haven’t looked at in years like Taxact.

Interesting. I’ve been using H&R Block for nine years now, mostly out of inertia/familiarity. In addition to my day job, I supplement my income by manufacturing some items in my basement and selling them over the internet, so I do use the business features, sort of. It works, but I don’t have any experience to compare it to, so I can’t say that it’s better than anything else. I’m planning to use it again this year. It imports last year’s data (names on 1099 forms, etc.) which speeds up the process relative to trying some other software, but maybe next year I’ll try TurboTax…

Edited your topic title as you asked.

I like Turbo tax. The guidance seems better than Tax Act by far. never used HRBlock.

Not to pry into your finances, but for folks who make under 50000 they are all free now.

Surprisingly, it offers free Federal and State. I’ve never used Turbo Tax where the state filing wasn’t a separate charge.

That mirrors my past experiences.

(It’s sort an an inside joke–the name of a local Mexican restaurant spelled just a wee bit differently than the Spanish word for “thanks.”)


I’ve been using TurboTax online for, gosh, at least 8 years. Probably more like 10. I like it a lot.

I think there is a fee for state filing, so I recommend moving to a state like mine (Tennessee) that doesn’t require to you to file. Problem solved!

A vote for TurboTax. We use it for both the Taekwondo school and our personal taxes, never have had an issue in many years.

What about folks who make under 50,000 and are self-employed?

Should be fine and free. It’s just a regular 1040 with a Schedule C, so it doesn’t require any fancy filing. Our library did free tax prep and tons of seniors had side businesses, not a big deal. Income is income.

I always use TurboTax online. Federal is always free, and there’s a fee for state, but for most states you can skip that and just go directly to your state’s comptroller’s website and e-file for free there.

I used Turbo Tax for a few years (the Online version) but the first year I had an HSA (Health Savings Account) TurboTax did not do the calculation correctly so I ditched it and went to H&R Block which did do it right. I have stuck with them since.

I am sure TurboTax no longer has that issue but I am a creature of habit so I don’t plan to change.

ETA: It is true most states let you file for free. You are basically paying to save you the hassle of reentering everything on a second web site.

I have to look into this “states let you file for free thing.”

Missed the edit window.
I’ll be darned! My state does let me do it through the use of an “on-line fillable form.” I guess this means that I can do it for free by copying the data from the tax program’s representation of the physical form onto the website or pay the $20 for the convenience of having the tax form do it for me. Something learned. Thanks again. Either way is better than my previous assumption that I had to do a mail-in.


Contrary to what it says on the State’s web page, the current web site, which has 2012 forms on it, really only lets me fill out the form and it calculates for me. I still have to print it and mail it in. There are free filing possibilities but they’re income based. Oh well–I still appreciate the responses here.