I finally got around to doing my incomes taxes. I’ve been using QuickTax for several years now, but there are so many other choices now that I almost chose something cheaper. In the end, I decided to stick with the annoying software I know instead of some new, likely annoying, software.
For the most part, QuickTax works well as long as you know what you are doing. There is no substitute for understanding the tax system and knowing how different deductions, income, and transactions will affect your total taxes owed. QuickTax will help with getting some choices right, but it can’t save you from everything.
For more information about QuickTax pricing and competing products, see this article by Rob Carrick.
My main criticism of QuickTax is the constant attempts to get people to upgrade to more expensive versions of the product. I get along fine with the “Standard” version, but the confusing product feature lists make it seem like you need to upgrade to “Platinum” if you have any dividends or capital gains.
Even while going through the built-in interview process to do my taxes, I was hit with repeated offers to upgrade to more expensive versions. I knew that the upgrades weren’t necessary, but many people could be fooled into thinking that an upgrade is necessary to complete their taxes.
I certainly hope that the confusion surrounding which version of QuickTax to use caused more people to leave QuickTax than were caused to buy upgraded versions. I don’t like to see a company get rewarded for confusing people.
QuickTax has some sort of automatic renewal system for future years. I didn’t bother to learn about it because I’m not interested in getting locked in pointlessly. I had to refuse this option multiple times.
QuickTax gives tips and runs various optimizers on your tax situation. Maybe my tax situation is too simple, but I have never found any of these to be useful. The tips are often repetitive. Three times I had to say that my wife and I don’t have a safe deposit box and therefore couldn’t deduct its cost.
One of the optimization tips looked like it might be useful. Apparently, we were going to be better off declaring all dividends on one return rather than having my wife declare hers and me declare mine. I clicked on the button to check this out and was presented with a bewildering screen that seemed to want me to input dividend information even though I had already entered it.
I thought that QuickTax was going to figure out how much I would save and ask me if I wanted to make the change. After fighting with the confusing screen for a while, I left interview mode and figured out how to make the appropriate changes. I then owed $14 more. Thanks for the tip. (Grumble, grumble, change it all back.)
Software and Online Versions
I used the software version of QuickTax, but they also offer online versions with a different cost structure. I suspect that many people wouldn’t understand the difference right away.
Making it worse, the first Google link for QuickTax that I clicked on took me to marketing for the online version. I didn’t realize this immediately. What tipped me off that something was different from last year was the unexpected pricing structure. It took a little work to find the web page for the software version.
It seems that QuickTax is more interested in selling its online version than its software version.
The main advantage of QuickTax for me is familiarity. I stuck with it mainly due to momentum. Overall, the product works well enough for me, and I was able to avoid the trap of paying too much for added features I didn’t need.