capsule review

TurboTax Premier Investments 2006

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At a Glance
  • Intuit TurboTax Premier Investments 2006 (Full Product)

TurboTax Premier is tops for detailed data entry, but that thoroughness requires patience: I had to download 15 updates plus the state program, and repeatedly during this time-consuming process TurboTax presented the message, "Checking for updates is taking longer than expected. Do you still wish to continue?"

TurboTax did provide a quick workaround by offering to let me start the tax-preparation process without downloading the most current tax forms and instructions, but I felt uneasy about doing that in a year when the IRS is making so many last-minute changes and additions.

If you used TurboTax last year, and your job and living situations haven't changed, you can save a lot of time by importing your 2005 tax file. This eliminates the need to retype a load of personal information such as addresses, Social Security numbers, names of financial institutions, and employer ID numbers.

With TurboTax, I could follow the interview step-by-step or tailor the process to fit my personal situation. The program also showed me which topics I had visited so I wouldn't inadvertently overlook one. The desktop software mirrors the online version with one exception: The desktop TurboTax shows the IRS forms, and TurboTax Online doesn't. You can go directly to a form and enter data, which gives you a quick sense of where you are in the process and whether you've made any data-entry errors.

Also, each data item on a form has a "magnifying glass" link that takes you to the relevant tax worksheet with details behind the dollar amount on the IRS form. So, for example, when I wanted to see the details behind the interest income figure on my tax return, I could quickly look at the worksheet details to make sure I had entered all 1099-INT numbers. Online, I would have had to retrace my steps in the interview process.

On the whole, TurboTax is the most comprehensive tax software package and provides the best guidance for entering information. Its multiple links on every page led to information about specific topics when I needed to learn more. The $80 price is no bargain, but I felt buyers will be getting what they paid for and then some.

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Detailed interview, great tax help.
    • Import abilities reduce data entry chores.


    • Pricey.
    • Update downloads can be slow.
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