capsule review

TaxCut Online Premium

At a Glance
  • H&R Block TaxCut Premium Online

    PCWorld Rating

The TaxCut online service works well for those with at least some knowledge of the tax-filing process, and it charges a modest $40 for electronically filing one federal and one state return. But it doesn't include enough detailed questions to ensure that people with special situations--tax-exempt bonds or rental property, for example--wouldn't overlook areas they should be answering.

The interview process was comprehensive and logical. A customized questionnaire asking about our Life Changes let us tailor our overall Q&A format by selecting only areas that applied to our tax situation--a good time-saver. And TaxCut can import your 2005 TurboTax file, should you be contemplating a switch.

But in some instances, TaxCut stumbled. In the section for claiming dependents, when we said our college-aged son lived away from home for nine months, TaxCut asked whether we shared custody or, if not, who was the custodial parent--and this was after we had already stated we were married, filing jointly. Why not just a simple question asking, "Is your kid in college?"

The process got worse for claiming a live-in parent. After a brief interview, TaxCut said we could claim Mom as a dependent because we provided more than half of her support, but it never addressed the requirement that she also had to have less than $3300 in total income.

We consulted the Help Center to see if it warned of this requirement. It stated that an adult must pass five qualifying tests to be claimed as a dependent, but didn't say what the tests were. How would novices with no idea of qualifying tests know where to look? We had to click Help Center, then Personal Info, and finally Dependents to find the all-important question, "What is the maximum income that a dependant can make and still be claimed as a dependent?" That information should be on the main screen.

Still, TaxCut has a nice design, a quick interface and a fair price ($40 for a federal and one state return), making it a solid choice for middle-of-the-road filers.

Vanessa Richardson

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Pros

    • Good price; logical, customizable interview.
    • Can import 2005 TurboTax returns.

    Cons

    • Interview can be confusing.
    • Help Center sometimes buries key info.
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