File Taxes With Your Mac

  Matt Cone       April 10, 2007      Tutorials Mac Apps


Mark Twain said that the only inevitabilities in life are death and taxes. We’re certainly not about to argue against those words of wisdom! But as tax day in the United States fast approaches (it’s April 17, 2007), we would like to know how to file our taxes as quickly and painlessly as possible. One thing we don’t want to do is use the standard government-issue paperwork. It’s too complicated, too time-consuming, and too conducive to errors. We’re looking for a simple, quick, and accurate solution!

Paying taxes with your Mac

Your Mac is the perfect tax-filing tool. In a matter of minutes, you can complete your taxes and see how much you owe, or how much the government owes you. But what tool should you use? There are literally dozens of tax software packages to choose from. Some are free and some are expensive. Some are designed for individuals and some are designed for businesses. Some are available online and some are only available in boxes.

What gives? How are you supposed to tell which software package offers you the right options at the right price?

We’ll help you decide! This article is far from comprehensive, but we’ve done our best to share all of the tips and tricks we learned the hard way.

What Options Do You Have?

There are dozens of tax programs out there – we’re only going to cover a couple of the best. Here goes…

What’s the Difference Between Box and Web Applications?

Both TurboTax and TaxCut offer web and box versions of their applications. The web application is used through a web browser, and the box application is installed on your Mac’s hard drive. Obviously, you should carefully compare the prices of the two distributions, because the prices fluctuate – often without any apparent reason! Don’t let the companies trick you, either. Sometimes they bundle both the federal and state packages into one box for a lower price than the comparable web applications.

TurboTax for Mac

As for differences between the web and box versions of the applications, there really aren’t any. We suspect the companies are pushing their web applications to cut down on software piracy. If you purchased a box version of the application, you could share it illegally with your friends, and that wouldn’t go over too well. The web application ensures that everyone pays to use the application.

Are There Hidden Costs?

One obnoxious feature of nearly all tax programs is their inability to tell you exactly how much their software and services are going to cost. If you decide to eFile your taxes, or file them electronically instead of mailing them through the post office, you’ll probably have to pay additional fees.

To find out how much tax software really costs, you’ll need to visit the Software Pricing Comparison at the Getting Finances Done blog. These people have done a great job at calculating all of the costs – hidden or otherwise!

Need More Time? Hit the Panic Button!

It happens to the best of us: For one reason or another, you can’t file your taxes by April 17, 2007. Maybe you’re missing a W2 form. Maybe you forgot. Maybe you’re the ultimate procrastinator. It doesn’t matter. If you need to file for an extension, your tax program probably has you covered. Look for something similar to this screen in TurboTax:

TurboTax for Mac

Just remember that you have to pay your taxes by April 17, whether you’ve filed for an extension or not!

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