Well I finished my taxes this year and they are finally accepted. Every year, we look at the market and the issues and decide on what provider to use. So here is a summary of our experience. Happy to hear your experiences too.

Over the years I have used TaxCut/H&R Block, TaxAct, FreeTaxUSA, and now this year OLT. They all have done the job, but they have all had issues too. I left the PC version of TaxCut/H&R Block (often considered the #2 software out there) in 2003 primarily because I wanted to move to the Web and use Linux. It was also a huge cost savings at the time. My last H&R Block return was $61.30, and TaxAct was $17.90 in 2003. We used TaxAct (maybe the #4 tax provider, and #3 provider in the high-end market) for many years, but their price hikes over the years were way beyond simple inflation and sanity. By 2020, our last return cost $134.90. They also had issues with calculating underpayment penalties so we sometimes payed penalties when we did not have to. If they had just followed inflation that $17.90 in today’s dollars would be $30.16. So I strongly believe that paying more then $30 regardless of how complex your taxes are is a rippoff. So in 2021 we moved to FreeTaxUSA (FTU) which was $21.98. As far as I know they are the #3 tax provider and the #1 value player. We actually like them quite a lot. The main issue we found was their treatment of MN Exempt income from mutual funds is a bit suspect though it can be worked around. The other issue we had was particular to this year. Turns out that we needed K1 support with certain boxes and codes, and the state part of that which for us is MN KF. FTU just could not do it. So we tried OLT. The cost of OLT was $15.90. What I really appreciate about OLT is support of a wider range of filing situations for a price under $30.00. Also like their lack of games including no price tiers based on your return, and being able to see your whole return before paying. What I am less sure of is thier MN state returns. My experience is that you may have to know what your doing and know to manually enter certain things, and manually override others for MN State returns. I had no particular issues with Federal though. So it seems like OLT is good for more complex returns for people that know what they are doing. Overall I liked OLT because of many added capabilities and I do hopefully know what I am doing.

I’ll close with the list of tax providers I personally considered in the order of decreasing market share based on relative web traffic: TurboTax (60%), H&R Block (23%), FreeTaxUSA(7.4%), TaxAct (6.4%), TaxSlayer (2.3%), OLT (0.59%), 1040 dot com (0.48%). I did not seriously consider CashApp Taxes, FileYourTaxes, 1040Now, eFile Express, IRS Free Fillable Forms, or Sprintax for various reasons. I also did not consider TaxHawk or Express1040 or consider them in my web traffic estimates as they are from the same company as FreeTaxUSA which is more well known. I wanted a provider with fairly good support, that had some popularity, had a reasonable reputation, could file taxes of reasonable complexity, was focused on US residents, is web based and can use with Linux and Firefox, and could file my state return. I also wanted a provider for under $30 which left only FreeTaxUSA, OLT, and 1040 dot com on the list.

Anyway, hope someone finds this somewhat interesting or useful. Best to you all.

  • Sinfaen@beehaw.org
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    2
    ·
    3 months ago

    I used H&R block this year because my wife is a contractor and I don’t understand the rules in that scenario lol

    Thanks for the info!

    • flatbield@beehaw.orgOP
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      1
      ·
      edit-2
      3 months ago

      Did you do the web or PC version? Just curious regarding what you thought of the web version if you used it. I think going back to H&R Block would be my next jump if I cannot work with FTU or OLT. H&R Block was pretty reasonably priced this year too compared to TurboTax and TaxAct. TaxSlayer for some reason was not listed as certified on the MN tax site this year. Do not know if that is a trend or just a one of.

      • Sinfaen@beehaw.org
        link
        fedilink
        arrow-up
        2
        ·
        2 months ago

        PC version. It had some weird bugs when it came to me putting in our income and looking like it duplicated stuff, but at the end it showed everything just fine.

        Got my tax return recently, was a good chunk too compared to last year which was nice

  • TehPers@beehaw.org
    cake
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    2
    ·
    3 months ago

    I gave FreeTaxUSA a shot this year and it was a really good experience overall for me. I was able to do everything I needed, and since I don’t live in a state with state income tax, the whole thing was free since I only needed to file a federal return. I almost considered buying one of their services just as appreciation for how much money it saved me.

    For context, the year prior, I tried a CPA (my taxes were much more complicated tbf). That was certainly quite the expense…

    • flatbield@beehaw.orgOP
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      2
      ·
      2 months ago

      Personally, I think FreeTaxUSA is great. It really should be the first thing most people consider.

  • Otherbarry@lemmy.zip
    link
    fedilink
    English
    arrow-up
    1
    ·
    3 months ago

    Nice review!

    Way back I used to use TurboTax & eventually switched away from it when they started limiting how many tax returns you can complete with it (at the time I was also helping family do their taxes). It also doesn’t help that Intuit in general is a terrible company.

    At the moment have settled on H&R Block Deluxe + State, usually get it for $20 whenever there’s a sales promotion at Newegg/Amazon or wherever. Not fully on Linux yet so haven’t had to think about that aspect but I assumed you could still run it via Wine or a VM running Windows. (though at that point it’s also reasonable to switch to something web based)

      • Otherbarry@lemmy.zip
        link
        fedilink
        English
        arrow-up
        1
        ·
        2 months ago

        Not yet, hadn’t had a need to consider it since the desktop version does what I need & is cheap enough when on sale.

        That gets me curious - is the web/online version ever on sale? Like does the Deluxe+State online version ever go on a $19.99 sale? I get the feeling those types of promotions are usually done via the online retailers (Amazon/Newegg/etc.) but could be wrong.

        • flatbield@beehaw.orgOP
          link
          fedilink
          English
          arrow-up
          2
          ·
          edit-2
          2 months ago

          This is one thing I never liked about many of the providers. They do every marketing gimmick in the book. Tiers so you really end up needing premium or business at some crazy price, prices that shift through the filing season, discounts through various paths so it is an Easter egg hunt, not showing you your return until you pay.