Tax season is upon us again and most people are already dreading getting everything together and filing their taxes this year. In years past I have used Turbo Tax Online to file my taxes but decided to try Turbo Tax 2011 Tax Preparation for the iPad to see if I could completely file my taxes using just an iPad.
Turbo Tax 2011 Tax Preparation allows a user to enter all of their W-2 along with other pertinent tax data and Efile your tax return. The app is optimized for the iPad and can even pre-load your prior year data if you have a Turbo Tax account. The app can import financial data from several financial institutions for interest received, and since it is from Turbo Tax the app will guide you every step of the way.
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Turbo Tax 2011 Tax Preparation has a unique loading screen which gave off a good impression, even though the app does take several seconds to load. The app has a spinning progress bar to let you know the app is loading, but statements of what the app is doing scroll across the screen during this time.
Some of them are funny such as, Kick-starting Refund Monitor and Eschewing Mediocrity but one item really stood out. Usually right before the app finishes loading, Thanking Steve Jobs scrolls across the screen. I thought this was a fitting tribute and it is the first time I noticed that a developer has put something into their app directly saying thanks.
Thanking Steve Jobs scrolls across the loading screen.
After the app loaded and was ready to use, I was able to type in my Turbo Tax credentials and the app pulled all my information from the prior year. I did not have to enter my name, social, address, or any other details. This made it really easy to get starting on my return after answering some questions about any changes from the previous year.
When setting up your return you are asked to set up a password for the return. The app will require the password each time you access the return. If you did not file with Turbo Tax in the prior year then entering all of your personal data is easy and Turbo Tax 2011 Tax Preparation is very clear about what information is needed and where to put it in the proper place.
Entering W-2 Information.
As you enter your W-2 and other wage information your refund or the amount you owe will be auto-calculated. It is a visual guide to see what directly effects your refund. When entering your income you can also upload your 1099-INT directly from your bank or investment fund. Unfortunately my bank was not included on the list of the supporting institutions but I was able to access the PDF in Safari and use the Open In… function to send it to Dropbox.
The app allows a user to log into several banking institutions to load tax data into the app.
After getting all of your income entered it is time to get all of your deductions entered. Using the Easy Guide is good decision just to make sure you do not miss anything.
The Easy Guide will walk you through all possible deductions to make sure you get the fullest refund possible.
The deductions and credits are separated into ten different categories. Each of these categories can get very tedious and detailed in questions but that is because the app is trying to make sure a deduction or credit is not missed. Some of the categories include charitable contributions, education expenses, and medical expenses. All of these items are explained in detail when you are going through each section, and Turbo Tax 2011 Tax Preparation will tell you if a situation is not likely.
After all of your income and deductions are entered it is time to review your return. The app will let you know of any errors that need fixing before submitting your return. After that is complete the app will show you a summary of your refund or how much you owe the IRS.
Reviewing the return before submitting it to the IRS.
Filing was the easiest part in Turbo Tax 2011 Tax Preparation. Once you have reviewed everything and are ready to send the information to the government, you can either Efile or print out your returns and mail them in. Of course, Efiling is the easiest way. I filed a basic Federal return and a basic State return which were charged through an in-app purchase which I thought was unique.
It was a relief to not have to enter all of my credit card information and Turbo Tax 2011 Tax Preparation could just pull all of the information from my iTunes account. Once the return is filed, Turbo Tax 2011 Tax Preparation will show the status of the return within the app on whether it has been accepted or not. Once it is accepted by the government then there is nothing else to do other than wait for your refund check or send some money their way.
Saving a filed return in another place is easy as well. Turbo Tax 2011 Tax Preparation allows the user to send the return to iTunes to get it off the iPad next time it is synced, print the return from your iPad, or use the Open In… option to upload to Dropbox or into your PDF reader of choice.
Turbo Tax 2011 Tax Preparation made filing my taxes easier this year. The process did not take very long and it was easy to do everything on the iPad. When the iPad was first introduced two years ago, I bet no one ever thought that they would be able to file their taxes from it. The app is stable and will pick up where you left off if you leave the app while filling out your return. Everything is explained very well and once you file you have Turbo Tax’s audit protection guarantee. This year I was able to do something I never thought possible, I was able to completely file my taxes using just an iPad.