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I just bought and downloaded TurboTax Deluxe + State 2018 Fed Efile MAC Download [Amazon Exclusive].

Two (Amazon) glitches were obvious even before it was launched:
  1. It should be "Mac", not "MAC"; and
  2. Although Amazon describes it as a 120 MB download, the downloaded disk image is 247.7 MB.
After copying to /Applications, running it under macOS El Capitan pops up a window that says:

"Alert: You can continue to use TurboTax on your Mac for this year. However, you'll need to update the operating system that's currently on your Mac for TurboTax 2018. Please get macOS Sierra (version 10.12) or above when you can."​

So the very first thing TurboTax does is display a confusing message! (If I need to update macOS for TurboTax 2018, how can I continue to use it on my El Capitan Mac? I'm assuming they just didn't update the message from TurboTax 2017, and I should not run it on El Capitan.)

To be fair, Amazon does list it as "Platform: Mac OS Sierra", but Intuit QA (does such a thing exist?) should have at least tried to run it on an earlier version of macOS to check that they issue an appropriate warning. Doesn't give me a lot of confidence that the rest of the program works properly.
 


I just bought and downloaded TurboTax Deluxe + State 2018 Fed Efile MAC Download [Amazon Exclusive].
... After copying to /Applications, running it under macOS El Capitan pops up a window that says:

"Alert: You can continue to use TurboTax on your Mac for this year. However, you'll need to update the operating system that's currently on your Mac for TurboTax 2018. Please get macOS Sierra (version 10.12) or above when you can."​

So the very first thing TurboTax does is display a confusing message! (If I need to update macOS for TurboTax 2018, how can I continue to use it on my El Capitan Mac? I'm assuming they just didn't update the message from TurboTax 2017, and I should not run it on El Capitan.) To be fair, Amazon does list it as "Platform: Mac OS Sierra", but Intuit QA (does such a thing exist?) should have at least tried to run it on an earlier version of macOS to check that they issue an appropriate warning. Doesn't give me a lot of confidence that the rest of the program works properly.
I had a similar experience yesterday. I am running macOS 10.12.6 Sierra on my Mac. When I opened TurboTax Deluxe 2018, I got a polite warning that I would need to upgrade to High Sierra in order to run Turbo Tax 2019.

I have avoided “upgrading” to either High Sierra or Mojave because (i) Sierra meets my needs and (ii) I don’t want my SSD converted to APFS and have to endure all of the bugs and slowdowns that other MacInTouch readers have reported. Is it possible for me to keep my SSD formatted in HFS+ and run High Sierra? Mojave?
 


I did a run-though of my taxes to make sure there weren't any surprises, and found TurboTax still a bit rough, perhaps because of all the sundry disruptions in IRS operations. As has become too common, some bits and pieces are not finished, notably 1099 processing by investment companies and others.

I also found TurboTax more opaque this year than in the past, and more likely to ask for the same information multiple times. TurboTax hides its Itemized Deduction calculations, so you can't tell by how much you could have claimed if it decides you would do better with a standard deduction. I was asked in two separate places to enter office-in-home expenses and personal property tax, for example, with no sign the information was being transferred properly. Opacity is a bad thing because it's hard to check your own return properly if you can't see what TurboTax is doing to the numbers.
 



Can you not access the worksheets created by the software?
The worksheets that are visible don't show everything you need, notably how much medical expense remains after deducting 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income, and how much state and local tax deduction is allowable.
 


I have an "interesting" issue with TurboTax Deluxe 2018. Almost every time I fire it up (2 - 3 times per week, as 1099s dribble in), it says it has updates. Assenting to the update generally results in a very quick download of ~ 220 Mbyte, followed by an excruciating 4 - 5 minutes of "extraction." Then a prompt appears, asking for installation and restart, which goes very quickly. (Occasionally, updated forms of state tax software is necessary, but not every time.)

Are others seeing the same sort of delay for extraction? Fwiw, I'm using a 2017 iMac with a 4-core, 4.2GHz i7 CPU, and Activity Monitor indicates almost no CPU activity.
 


I have an "interesting" issue with TurboTax Deluxe 2018. Almost every time I fire it up (2 - 3 times per week, as 1099s dribble in), it says it has updates. Assenting to the update generally results in a very quick download of ~ 220 Mbyte, followed by an excruciating 4 - 5 minutes of "extraction." Then a prompt appears, asking for installation and restart, which goes very quickly. (Occasionally, updated forms of state tax software is necessary, but not every time.)

Are others seeing the same sort of delay for extraction? Fwiw, I'm using a 2017 iMac with a 4-core, 4.2GHz i7 CPU, and Activity Monitor indicates almost no CPU activity.
I have seen similar behavior, but once the update process failed after going through the whole routine, and I had to repeat it. I'm on a 2010 Mac Mini running High Sierra and normally have other apps loaded and running at the same time.
 



I have an "interesting" issue with TurboTax Deluxe 2018. Almost every time I fire it up (2 - 3 times per week, as 1099s dribble in), it says it has updates. Assenting to the update generally results in a very quick download of ~ 220 Mbyte, followed by an excruciating 4 - 5 minutes of "extraction." Then a prompt appears, asking for installation and restart, which goes very quickly. (Occasionally, updated forms of state tax software is necessary, but not every time.)

Are others seeing the same sort of delay for extraction? Fwiw, I'm using a 2017 iMac with a 4-core, 4.2GHz i7 CPU, and Activity Monitor indicates almost no CPU activity.
A TurboTax check for updates will "update" and rebuild once per day, regardless of if that actually changes anything. You can see this in the About TurboTax version information. If there were no actual updates, the version number stays the same but the build date is when it "updated".

It didn't use to be this way. It started doing this several years ago.
 


I have an "interesting" issue with TurboTax Deluxe 2018. Almost every time I fire it up (2 - 3 times per week, as 1099s dribble in), it says it has updates. Assenting to the update generally results in a very quick download of ~ 220 Mbyte, followed by an excruciating 4 - 5 minutes of "extraction." Then a prompt appears, asking for installation and restart, which goes very quickly. (Occasionally, updated forms of state tax software is necessary, but not every time.)
I haven't personally seen this (I use the web version of TT for my taxes), but it doesn't surprise me. Every year, people report similar updates and delays. I suspect it's because they find a lot of bugs early in the season (as everybody starts running the software) and need to update algorithms based on last-minute changes/interpretations of the tax code.
 


I did a run-though of my taxes to make sure there weren't any surprises, and found TurboTax still a bit rough, perhaps because of all the sundry disruptions in IRS operations. As has become too common, some bits and pieces are not finished, notably 1099 processing by investment companies and others. I also found TurboTax more opaque this year than in the past, and more likely to ask for the same information multiple times. TurboTax hides its Itemized Deduction calculations, so you can't tell by how much you could have claimed if it decides you would do better with a standard deduction. I was asked in two separate places to enter office-in-home expenses and personal property tax, for example, with no sign the information was being transferred properly. Opacity is a bad thing because it's hard to check your own return properly if you can't see what TurboTax is doing to the numbers.
I use the forms method, rather than Easy Step, for everything in my relatively simple return. You can find Schedule A in the list of forms. If you live in CA, as I do, you need to fill in all of your usual deductions, despite the $10,000 cap on SALT and the elimination of Miscellaneous Deductions. CA did not pass a law in 2018 conforming to the 2017 changes to the Federal tax. Schedule CA does a good job of highlighting the changes between your Federal and CA deductions, but you have to enter the items in Schedule A and the Misc. Deductions worksheet even if you are taking a standard deduction on your Federal return.
 



Assenting to the update generally results in a very quick download of ~ 220 Mbyte, followed by an excruciating 4 - 5 minutes of "extraction." Then a prompt appears, asking for installation and restart, which goes very quickly. (Occasionally, updated forms of state tax software is necessary, but not every time.)

Are others seeing the same sort of delay for extraction?
I fired up TurboTax 2018 for the first time today. It downloaded a 220MB update, and it took about 10 seconds for the extraction step, and 5 seconds for the installation step.

I noted when installing TurboTax Home & Business 2018 that beginning next year TT will only run on macOS High Sierra and later.
Last year the minimum OS was El Capitan, this year Sierra, next year High Sierra. They seem to be incrementing the minimum OS in lockstep with Apple's security updates, without any real technical requirement to do so.
 


Ever since the debacle of TurboTax sending print jobs through its own servers, I've kicked them to the curb and used H&R Block's software.
I think that was what prompted me to switch back to H&R Block as well. For the last few years I have been purchasing and downloading the software from Amazon.com since H&R Block at one point would not sell to non-USA addresses. I have found each year that the cheapest, most basic version has all the same forms available as the "deluxe" and more expensive versions, including stuff for investments, real estate and self-employed income, though it may have fewer interview questions in these areas.

On a related note: Do you know any non-resident US citizens? Maybe they can take part in research on non-resident US taxation issues:
  • https://www.democratsabroad.org/carmelan/2019_non-resident_taxation_research_-_please_contribute
This survey seems to be commissioned by "Democrats Abroad", but it is not limited to data from Democrats. Both "Democrats Abroad" and "Republicans Overseas" are working towards addressing US tax issues for non-resident citizens:
  • https://republicansoverseas.com/
  • https://www.democratsabroad.org/
 


Ever since the debacle of TurboTax sending print jobs through its own servers, I've kicked them to the curb and used H&R Block's software.
I've switched back and forth, largely in response to problems. I tried H&R Block in 2014 and 2015, but it wasn't up to handling a return with my business and rental property. I no longer remember what was the final straw, but TurboTax Home & Business is worth the extra money (when it's on sale) because it saves a lot of time instead of struggling through the low-end version.
 


A couple of gotchas, not necessarily TurboTax's sole fault...
  • Ally Bank 1099-INT may not import completely (mine didn't).
  • If you have Fidelity accounts and a Fidelity-administered pension, the pension won't import with your "own" accounts; I had to enter that 1099-R manually. So, double-check totals for interest, pension, etc.!
 


Last year the minimum OS was El Capitan, this year Sierra, next year High Sierra. They seem to be incrementing the minimum OS in lockstep with Apple's security updates, without any real technical requirement to do so.
By contrast, Intuit continues to develop TurboTax for remarkably antiquated Windows versions. For example, several years ago they stopped supporting Snow Leopard while retaining support for Windows XP(!).

What will be problematic is that the three-version-support cycle means Intuit will likely require Mojave to run TurboTax 2020. That will force Apple hardware upgrades for some of us, or the implementation of another solution.

It might be worth seeing how a *.tax2017 file created on a Mac is imported by TurboTax 2018 for Windows, running inside Parallels or some other emulation tool. (Note to self: try this and report back?)
 


What will be problematic is that the three-version-support cycle means Intuit will likely require Mojave to run TurboTax 2020. That will force Apple hardware upgrades for some of us, or the implementation of another solution.

It might be worth seeing how a *.tax2017 file created on a Mac is imported by TurboTax 2018 for Windows, running inside Parallels or some other emulation tool. (Note to self: try this and report back?)
Oh, virtualization is definitely a solution, and you don't even have to resort to Windows. Last year, my main system was still on Yosemite, so in order to do my taxes, I ran TurboTax in an El Capitan VM just fine.
 


I found the usual little bit of flakiness if you try to do something TurboTax doesn't expect. I file the federal return electronically but won't pay extra to file the state (Massachusetts) electronically, so I printed it out. When I filed the Federal tax electronically, TurboTax had me print out paper vouchers for estimated tax payments. However, when I printed out the Massachusetts return, TurboTax did not include estimated tax vouchers for next year (or ask me to print them out), so I had to go back into the program and print them. That's an important step for those of us who have to file estimated taxes.
 


When I filed the Federal tax electronically, TurboTax had me print out paper vouchers for estimated tax payments. However, when I printed out the Massachusetts return, TurboTax did not include estimated tax vouchers for next year (or ask me to print them out), so I had to go back into the program and print them.
That sounds like my experience, too. If I file Federal and State electronically, the 1040-ES Federal and corresponding State estimated vouchers are also generated during the process for printing. Since I filed estimated last year, I also receive 1040-ES vouchers from the IRS in the mail.
 




Did not realize this is an option, good to know. Tax programs should provide a link as an option to vouchers.
TurboTax has an option in the filing process that lets you set up EFTPS for payment of balance due when you file electronically (at least for the federal). I did not see an option for setting that up for estimates, but I did not use the EFTPS option to pay balance due.
 



TurboTax has an option in the filing process that lets you set up EFTPS for payment of balance due when you file electronically (at least for the federal). I did not see an option for setting that up for estimates, but I did not use the EFTPS option to pay balance due.
You can log into EFTPS (https:eftps.gov) directly to set up your estimated payments. Note that initial enrollment is a 2-step process. After initializing the enroll, you are sent a PIN via terrestrial mail, and you cannot complete enrollment until you receive it.

My state (California) has a similar process for handling state income tax payments and estimates.
 


You can log into EFTPS (https:eftps.gov) directly to set up your estimated payments. Note that initial enrollment is a 2-step process. After initializing the enroll, you are sent a PIN via terrestrial mail, and you cannot complete enrollment until you receive it.
As I recall, if you need to change your banking information, you effectively do the whole thing again - it was a bit of a [pain] when we did that in around 2014. Back in 2012 when we first signed up for EFTPS, ad-blocking via Ghostery resulted in the site not working. Today when I tested, the website worked with Ublock Origin via Firefox.

Overall, EFTPS has been very useful for paying yearly IRS stuff, as well as for setting up estimated payments - at the very least it saves the cost of postage.
 


… EFTPS has been very useful for paying yearly IRS stuff, as well as for setting up estimated payments - at the very least it saves the cost of postage.
I am not a tax advisor (and this is a Mac, not tax, community, heh), but there appears to be a myriad of ways to pay the IRS, not only EFTPS. See:

(Internal Revenue Service, “How To Pay Estimated Tax”)​
 


Checking my files while preparing Massachusetts estimated tax payments for 2019, I found that when I filed originally a month ago, TurboTax lost a page in printing filing procedures for state estimates. It wasn't a printer glitch - it was missing from the PDF. When I checked today and downloaded a batch of new forms, I found the new version did print the missing page (which lists quarterly estimates and due dates) and a couple of added state forms that don't seem necessary. I checked the totals and saw no changes. It's a fiddly detail, but does show TurboTax keeps on making changes.
 


Checking my files while preparing Massachusetts estimated tax payments for 2019, I found that when I filed originally a month ago, TurboTax lost a page in printing filing procedures for state estimates.
Good to know. I hope e-filing from the previous TurboTax version didn't have the same issue.
 


I ran across a glitch in TurboTax in form 1040, line 4a (IRAs, pensions and annuities). TurboTax did not include my pension amount. I caught it when I noticed that line 4b (taxable amount) was larger than 4a. I just lined through the amount in 4a and entered the correct amount. I couldn't find anywhere 4a was relevant.

I couldn't find an easy way to report this to TurboTax, so I didn't.
 


I ran across a glitch in TurboTax in form 1040, line 4a (IRAs, pensions and annuities). TurboTax did not include my pension amount. I caught it when I noticed that line 4b (taxable amount) was larger than 4a. I just lined through the amount in 4a and entered the correct amount. I couldn't find anywhere 4a was relevant.

I couldn't find an easy way to report this to TurboTax, so I didn't.
Interesting. I went back and checked form 1040, lines 4a and 4b, and found nothing in line 4a but the amount of my required distribution from my IRA in 4b. I had only checked line 4b when going through the numbers to verify the accounting, and that number was correct. My lines 3a and 3b also have anomalies -- qualified dividends in line 3a are lower than ordinary dividends in line 3b. Searching the PDF version of my tax return does not find the number on line 3b anywhere else in my federal return. The number on line 3a only appears in a worksheet for form 1040 line 11a, which is where my total tax is calculated for listing on line 11a of the 1040. As far as I can tell, the numbers on lines 2a, 2b, 5a and 5b were correct.

I checked overall totals before filing both on screen and in a PDF version of the draft printout, and did not see any discrepancies before I filed the federal electronically. I don't know if these discrepancies arise from TurboTax failing to transfer information incorrectly into the printed form, or from not understanding what the Feds expect to be entered on the printed form. I doubt we are the only people to be confused.
 


My lines 3a and 3b also have anomalies -- qualified dividends in line 3a are lower than ordinary dividends in line 3b.
I believe that the qualified dividends (3a) are a subset of ordinary dividends (3b) and should be smaller. Line 3b should be line 8 of Form B Part II. Line 1a of 1099DIV goes to 3b while line 1b goes to 3a.

"Simplification" of Form 1040 has created more forms and confusion. Even my explanation reads like 1040 instructions.

My wife has a great eye for detail and wants to know where all the numbers come from. However, she refuses to walk through the Schedule D and Social Security worksheets.
 


I believe that the qualified dividends (3a) are a subset of ordinary dividends (3b) and should be smaller. Line 3b should be line 8 of Form B Part II. Line 1a of 1099DIV goes to 3b while line 1b goes to 3a.
I don't find Form B in my Federal return, which may be because I have under $400 in total interest. The total from line 3b does appear in my Massachusetts return as "total ordinary dividends", so I think you're right, but TurboTax did not include the form, because they did not have to. They should have shown the worksheet, though.

I agree that the new tax forms are more confusing than the old. They are a sloppy mess.
 


This thread just reinforces a process that includes checking for TurboTax updates daily and ensuring that worksheet numbers are correctly inserted in federal and state forms. I preferred using Excel spreadsheet-forms of the 1990's, where you complete, link, and print.
 


My lines 3a and 3b also have anomalies -- qualified dividends in line 3a are lower than ordinary dividends in line 3b.
In general, that situation is not unusual. For example, if one has a stock brokerage account that has cash balances (often called "sweep") held in a money market fund, the interest payments are reported as dividends on Form 1099. However, money market dividends receive different tax treatment than dividends generated by stocks and equity mutual funds. In many cases, the difference between the Qualified Dividends amount and the Non-Qualified Dividends amount is simply the interest earned on swept cash.
 


This thread just reinforces a process that includes checking for TurboTax updates daily and ensuring that worksheet numbers are correctly inserted in federal and state forms. I preferred using Excel spreadsheet-forms of the 1990's, where you complete, link, and print.
Based on recommendations here, I began using TurboTax about 5 years ago, when I could no longer afford to pay someone else to do it. I have always used the "Home and Business" version that I pick up at Costco in January at a discounted price, as my taxes are a bit tricky, being self-employed with a house, kids, and a wife with a W-30.

For the last 5 years, I have filed a Form 4868 extension, so that I have up until October 15th to send my taxes in. Since I am self-employed, I make the necessary quarterly payments and never owe money on April 15th. If I have overpaid, which is always the case, I just roll it over to the next year anyway, so I don't require a refund and therefore have no rush to get my taxes in.

I found that when I do my taxes in August or September, upon first boot, TurboTax installs all the necessary updates and bug fixes. By this time, it seems pretty bug-free after all the earlier-in-the-year user complaints have been addressed. Since all these bugs get worked out before I start, I haven't had any problems with TurboTax.

If you need a refund earlier in the year or potentially need to make a payment, my method won't work for you, but it's been pretty solid for me. Each year, I also make notes and take screen shots so that the following year is easier and faster to complete.
 


My wife has a great eye for detail and wants to know where all the numbers come from. However, she refuses to walk through the Schedule D and Social Security worksheets.
I don't use TurboTax (or any other "tax software"). Instead, I've created my own spreadsheets for forms like the Social Security Worksheet, the "Simplified Worksheet" (for determining the taxable amount of pension/annuity income), and the Schedule D Worksheet.

I've also created a Form 1040 Worksheet as well.

I use these to do my basic calculations, and then submit to the IRS on handwritten forms (although this year I found I could use the IRS-provided PDF for 1040 to do my entries, then print it out for mailing).

It is necessary to re-check and update these homemade worksheets each year, as there always seem to be changes. But that works for me.
 


Based on recommendations here, I began using TurboTax about 5 years ago, when I could no longer afford to pay someone else to do it. I have always used the "Home and Business" version that I pick up at Costco in January at a discounted price, as my taxes are a bit tricky, being self-employed with a house, kids, and a wife with a W-30.
Every year that I have checked, the absolute lowest, most basic version of TurboTax, as well as H&R, was able to do everything for self-employment, investment, house rental, and foreign income exclusions and foreign tax credits. (I gather that maybe some interview questions are omitted compared to the more pricey versions.)

Like Dave, I tend to wait until the summer to get it all squared away, but this year we did my son's taxes last week for both the USA and Canada and all the interactions that entails. The "basic" H&R was up to the task....
 


Every year that I have checked, the absolute lowest, most basic version of TurboTax, as well as H&R, was able to do everything for self-employment, investment, house rental, and foreign income exclusions and foreign tax credits. (I gather that maybe some interview questions are omitted compared to the more pricey versions.)
I used to do that but decided to try the Home & Business version of TurboTax a couple of years ago and found it worth the extra money if bought on sale. We don't have foreign tax issues, but I am self-employed, we own rental property, and we're now getting into retirement income.

You usually can do all that on the basic version, but sometimes I had to struggle with the software, and the last time I tried, I found the basic H&R Block could not handle estimated taxes properly with me self-employed and my wife in a salaried job. (It insisted on increasing my wife's withholding to pay the whole estimate.) As always, your experience may vary.
 


I ran across a glitch in TurboTax in form 1040, line 4a (IRAs, pensions and annuities). TurboTax did not include my pension amount. I caught it when I noticed that line 4b (taxable amount) was larger than 4a. I just lined through the amount in 4a and entered the correct amount. I couldn't find anywhere 4a was relevant.
I noticed a similar discrepancy in lines 4a vs. 4b using the on-line version of Turbo Tax.

Line 4a included both my and my wife's 401k distributions but not my defined benefit pension from my former employer. It was particularly confusing in our case because the bulk of my wife's RMD was donated and that amount was quite close to my pension amount, making lines 4a (which omits the pension) and 4b (which excludes the donated amount) eerily similar. Took a bit of arithmetic to sort out what was happening.
 


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