Turbo Tax for the Web

By Deane Barker on April 11, 2005

I’ve purchased a shrink-wrapped copy of Turbo Tax every year for the last five years or so. I was going to do it again this year, but Joe told me to try their Web-based version (same link as above).

I’ve known about Turbo Tax for the Web, but I’ve always been a little leery of it because (1) filing my taxes is a pretty complicated affair, usually; and (2) I was always nervous about losing data, with the Web being such a crude editing environment and all.

But I procrastinated enough that tonight I decided to give it a shot out of a sincere lack of desire to drive to Office Max and pick up a copy of the “real thing.”

Uh, wow.

I hereby proclaim Turbo Tax for the Web as the greatest Web app I have ever used. I gave up trying to figure out how they were doing things about halfway through. Shortly after that, I promptly forgot I was using a Web app rather than shrink-wrapped, installed software, which is amazing because I can’t think of a more tedious, error-prone affair than filing a tax return. That means I can’t think of a process less well-suited for translation to the Web than filing a tax return. Yet, it worked beautifully.

The whole experience just…flowed. I couldn’t tell the difference between when a segment of the page swapped out via Ajax, and when the entire page reloaded (did it ever? I can’t say I could tell…).

I looked at the source once, and I think it’s some serious client-side and Ajax voodoo. And there’s no cheating with ActiveX or other proprietary crap — I completed my return in Firefox, no less. I didn’t notice any Java applets, either. It appeared to be pure — albeit seriously complicated — JavaScript.

Fantastic tool. Hats off to Intuit. If you haven’t filed yet (three days to go…), give it a shot. You can test drive it all you want — even to the point of completing your entire return — and you only have to pay if you decide to file.



  1. Did mine a few weeks ago on taxfreedom.com (by Intuit). If you get there via a link from the IRS site it’s completely free. No limitations on who can use it. No cost to file. No cost to direct deposit. Free, Free, Free. In the end, it spit out a pdf of all the documents I need to keep for my records and filed it electronically for me. I believe the IRS required Intuit to provide a free option so they could get their efile numbers up. The only catch is they charge you to file your state return. Good news for the Gadgetopia team, we live in the fine state of South Dakota where we don’t have state income tax.

    It is one of the slickest web apps I’ve used as well. I have to believe it’s the same software backend that you used to file yours Deano.

  2. Well, here’s a drawback —

    I’m trying to finish and file my return tonight. There’s no way it’s going to happen — the servers are just getting hammered. Every other click is a time out. I hope I can get in tomorrow, but I think it’s just going to get worse.

  3. Definitely not a solution for the procrastinator. But then again, neither is the boxed (or downloaded) software using e-file; I finished mine up late last night, did the e-file thing, and it says you have to wait 24 hours for confirmation that it went through. I’m guessing that the IRS system is getting hammered pretty hard as well.

    I think I’ll be printing a hard copy to go in the mail tonight, just in case.

  4. Question – I’m thinking about using TurboTax this coming year (2008) and want to “test” it on my filing (done by accountant) from 2007.

    I am a 1099 contract employee (1099-MISC); so tons of deductions.

    Any ideas on how I can test it out and see if I can do it myself?

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