buy tubotax software in store

Tax Software: It’s Cheaper to Buy Online Than In-Store – Here Are Coupons

Was it cheaper to buy tax software online, or in-store in 2015? I was at Staples just before the deadline for last tax season, and was curious about whether it’s better to buy software like TurboTax and H&R Block online or from a big-box retailer.

Adding intrigue to the question is that both companies promise me an “easy” choice. Staples has that famous “easy button”, and TurboTax’s tagline is, “Choose Easy.”

turbotax best buy

Well, after checking the online prices against those at brick and mortar stores, my choice was easy: it’s cheaper to download the software online than to buy from a store.

This was a little surprising, as the TurboTax display box looked like it had been beaten up by desperate shoppers grabbing boxes off the shelf like it was Black Friday. I assume that there is something nice about having a product in-hand. After all, it is tangible, and maybe you get satisfaction from throwing the box away when you finish.

Tax software comparison: In-store vs. online

Online Coupons give online software downloads a big advantage

A recent search for “printable TurboTax coupons” yielded no real results, although a few sites promises coupons that could be printed. (I suspect they are aware that people are searching for them, so they figure an empty promise might get them a traffic boost during tax season) I have yet to see a significant discount on any of these editions.

Having said that, the companies that make popular tax software do release online coupons up until about a week before the tax deadline. (After that, panicked taxpayers don’t have the luxury of getting a discount!)

So, why is it cheaper to just download tax software?

A couple of reasons come to mind:

  • It’s just cheaper for companies to provide downloads – Thank about it. No box, no sales associates, no giant store to pay for and heat (The average Walmart is over 100k square feet in size!) Also, someone has to pay for that truck that delivered the CD’s. When you download, it’s really just a server providing you with the files. (Unfortunately, this is why big-box stores are struggling)
  • No Sales Tax Online – In most cases you won’t be paying sales tax on downloaded software. Compare that to the box version, and you’ll be saving an extra $4 or so
  • Buy it directly from the company – Any time you involve a middle man, you’re going to pay more
  • Coupons – Although you can get them online, I can’t find any printable ones. Stores will offer you rebates, but who needs one more thing to mail in during tax season?
  • View: Turbo Tax discounts | H&R Block Promo Codes

So, without any further ado, like most things these days, it’s just cheaper to buy tax software online. Really, I think the stores are still depending on older people, or those who aren’t computer savvy to bring CD’s to the register instead of downloading.

Be aware that as you get closer to the tax deadline, coupons and rebates of all kinds start to really dry up! Plus, I noticed that it’s also cheaper to buy security software from Norton online with a coupon!

About kevin

Hi, I'm Kevin McCormick. I graduated from Rutgers U., and now live in Philadelphia with my wife, three kids, and a dog. I enjoy blogging in my free time, especially about finance and the history of taxation. Thanks for stopping by Mighty Taxes!