The further declining value of Turbotax and Quicken

Last year I posted a rant on the declining value of Turbotax and Quicken. I just finished filing my taxes for the 2008 tax year and thought I’d write a quick follow up after sticking to my guns for the 2008 year.

Summary:

  • I dropped Quicken altogether. I switched to an Open Source Free program called GnuCash. This might not be for everyone, but for me personally, I love it. You can review yourself some of the GnuCash features if you like. I personally switched because of the way I was able to do Budgeting with GnuCash.
  • I dropped Turbotax this year too. A quick Google search before I started doing my taxes yielded a number of online tax services. The highest rated were Taxact and TurboTax. Because I had my previous years data in TurboTax, I went ahead and entered this year’s data. Then, I entered all my information into Taxact. I was pleasantly surprised that the numbers came out exactly the same. (They should, the forms are standard and it’s all just math basically.)

    So Taxact costs $16.95 for Federal + State and TurboTax costs ~$64.50. I will admit that some of the interface issues that TurboTax offers are a little nicer than Taxact, but for me, I’ll use the extra ~$50 somewhere else.

The declining value of TurboTax and Quicken

I’ve been a TurboTax user for about as many years as I’ve had a computer at home. I’ve traditionally loved the great deal I got at the start of each year by purchasing a copy of TurboTax with a copy of the new year’s version of Quicken. In the past, there has always been a good discount when you purchased both products in combination. This year, I have found reference to the $30 discount on Intuit’s Rebate Site, but I haven’t yet seen much rebate promotion for the combo.

It seems Intuit is no longer happy with keeping its low end users in this state of free upgrades. This year, they’ve chosen to alter the names and features of their Quicken product. Instead of the “Basic” version, which has had all the support I ever needed, they’ve downgraded the lowest version of Quicken to something called the “Starter Edition”. I’m pretty sure the Starter Edition has most of the same features the basic edition had with the exception of the most important one: You can’t import your existing data. That’s right. The Starter Edition is only for new users. If you’re an existing Quicken user, you’re going to have to fork over another $30 and pay for the “Deluxe” version.

Here is how the costs break down. Continue reading “The declining value of TurboTax and Quicken”