Internet Tax preparation ... A good cloud application? 


Written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling

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Over the past years more and more tax payers prepare their return online.  One of the leaders in this industry is Turbo Tax.

The way it has worked for a long time goes something like this:

1.  You select the type of return you will prepare from a list that ranges from simple to complex.

2.  You download the Turbo Tax application just like any other application you buy.

3.  Sometimes you are asked to go look for recent updates and download them.

4.  You prepare your tax return by following detailed explanations and tips.  Once in a while you are presented with a review of where you stand so far.  There even is a way to establish a risk of audit.

5.  Finally, you submit your return electronically and wait for acceptance via email.  You can also print it out and submit it by mail.

This year it's a bit different.  You don't download the application.  You prepare on the Cloud.  You are not asked to download updates because you have them already and any update is immediate.

The application is clean and seems to function without the nasty errors and jerky feel that Google's very poor Office Suite copy cat seemed to have.

This is not meant to be an endorsement of the product itself, but only how it works and feels.

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The big hang-up with Cloud Applications for me is look and feel, especially feel.

There are huge banks of servers out there and they keep an exact image of everything you are doing.  It's tricky with the Cloud because they capture every keystroke and mouse move in real time and update immediately. 

With Google's Cloud applications, I don't feel connected to the application.  It's like driving a car with a jerky steering wheel.  Off the road I go.   So far Google failed to meet expectations and Turbo Tax did well.

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Monday, March 23, 2015