Reporting Kurtis Ming
It’s the heart of tax season and there are quite a few companies out there that want to do your taxes. But is one better than the other?
We call on Kurtis Ming with the great tax test.
We found three viewers to help us out.
It’s usually a pain to do your taxes once, but we had each do their taxes three times, to see what they thought and figure out which company would find them the biggest refund.
Biotech technician Amy Dhirapong, attorney Stephen Duvernay and behavior analyst Tiffany Lee all plugged in all their financials into three online tax preparers: TurboTax, TaxACT and H&R Block.
All are single, with no kids and fairly simple taxes. They qualified to use each sites’ free versions to prepare the federal 1040EZ.
However, to file with the state, TurboTax charges you $27.99, TaxACT: $14.95 and H&R Block $27.95
Amy has never filed online before.
“All three were really easy to navigate through,” said Amy.
Amy felt TurboTax and TaxACT asked a lot more questions than H&R Block.
While that may translate into more deductions for some people, she says her simple taxes didn’t need them.
“For me, I was annoyed, just because I know already I don’t have any more. I just want to get to the end,” said Amy.
Each program showed she was owed the same exact federal refund but for her state return, H&R Block found $9 more for her state refund.
“So what do you think, where does this difference come from?” Kurtis asked.
“I have no idea,” said Amy.
Stephen normally uses TaxACT, but he says all three sites were user-friendly. His state returns were identical but TaxACT gave him $25 less on his federal return, not enough of a difference to make him switch companies.
“I still plan to file with TaxACT so I’ll take the $25 hit,” said Stephen.
“They’re definitely close. That’s probably a good sign. Sounds like there’s not a major error on anyone of them,” said Betty Williams, tax Attorney/managing shareholder with the Law Office of Williams and Associates.
Williams says no matter which tax company you use, the results should be the same, unless you entered something incorrectly.
“It could be the way the question is asked and how they understood it,” said Williams.
Which brings us to Tiffany, who’s been using TurboTax for the past four years.
“TurboTax is easier, TaxACT online was the most confusing and frustrating to use and H&R Block online was right in the middle,” said Tiffany.
Each site said she was owed the same exact federal refund, but TurboTax found she had $60 more coming her way from the state.
“They asked me to reveal renter’s credit so I filled out that information and it yielded $60 extra in my state refund,” said Tiffany.
Tiffany says H&R Block didn’t ask about the credit. TaxACT did but the follow-up questions weren’t clear to her. But she’s happy about the question TurboTax asked.
“What’s 60 bucks?” Kurtis asked.
“Sixty bucks is a pair of shoes! Sixty bucks is like a new dress or maybe some new gym stuff,” said Tiffany.
So no clear winners.
In fact each of our viewers preferred a different company.
Amy: H&R Block.
And Tiffany: TurboTax.
Just to be clear, TurboTax and H&R Block charge about $13 more than TaxACT to file your state returns.