Tax planner

RandySimonRandySimon Member
edited December 2018 in Product Ideas - Quicken for Mac
I'm a 25-year Quicken user who switched to using a Mac about 8 years ago and had to run a virtual PC for years just to keep using Quicken.   Finally Quicken for Mac 2017 has allowed me to drop the PC.   It is a great program but I would love to see the Tax Planner in it.  That is one feature I really miss from the PC version.
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  • ConcordmanConcordman Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2018
    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    Given the complexity of what is in the tax planner (all the different entries, rules, and calculations), I would bet the best "specification" for such a feature would be just to copy the Windows one.  I don't think there is any thing in it that would be that different for the Mac version.
  • mistertheplaguemistertheplague Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    Yup, the reporting skeleton for a Windows-style tax planner is (more or less) already in place in QM17. You can see it all in the QM tax schedule report: tax categories, forms, schedules, etc.

    The reporting engine leveraged by the QW tax planner, on the other hand, is nowhere in evidence in QM17. And my guess is that it would have to be a monster to implement from scratch, even for a development team that was larger than the one currently working on the Mac side.

    I agree with the OP: a bona fide tax planner would be fantastic to have in QM. I wouldn't look for it anytime soon, however.

    For one thing, it's taken 9 months for the QM team to get loan am. into QM 4.5x, and from the early reports (I don't have 4.5 yet), even that's not yet feature-complete.

    For example, one very big sticking point for users who value QM's budgeting functions is that the QM devs still haven't enabled a critical linked feature: the ability for QM to incorporate principal transfer into a user's budget.

    So, as yet QM will amortize your mortgage but not link the principal amounts with your budget. I'm not entirely clear on whether they're committed to nailing down that linkage, or if they're going to bypass it and "come back to it later." Obviously, bypassing feature linkages isn't feasible for a tax planner of QW's scope and complexity. 

    Two other reasons I wouldn't look for a QM tax planner anytime soon: first, I don't think anyone's really requested it -- at least not to my knowledge (maybe smayer97, our resident archivist and curator of QMac feature requests, will stumble on this and clarify). (Maybe some of the QW refugees among us should start a request if one doesn't already exist). 

    Second, word has been trickling down that the QM team is going to focus on revamping QM's investments capabilities for the upcoming data-lockout version in the Fall. 
  • RandySimonRandySimon Member
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    The tax planner in QW is relatively simple but very helpful.  You enter your predicted income, deductions, withholding rates, and tax credits and it estimates how much tax you will owe next year.  I tried using the one from my last QW edition (2014), but it isn't up to date on various things like exemptions and won't calculate things like withholding for 2017.
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    I'm not sure I agree with this statement:
    The reporting engine leveraged by the QW tax planner, on the other hand, is nowhere in evidence in QM17.
    Granted I'm no expert on Quicken Mac, I don't even use it.
    But I know a few things (or think I do :-) )
    First off anything you see on a report or is needed on the tax planner is just a database query away.  There is no real reason it has to be tied into any kind or reporting system.

    This is for the "actual" amounts year to date.

    But on top of this, it the fact that I believe that Quicken Mac already has a report that queries for the same information needed to for the tax planner.
    Quicken Mac has a tax schedule report doesn't it?
    As in one that can be exported to a .TXF file that can be used by tax programs?

    They would also need a tie into the reminder system, but that is clearly there.
    Then there is the function of importing TurboTax files, but that seems VERY optional to me.
  • mistertheplaguemistertheplague Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    @Randy Simon: A couple of outside resources (both Intuit products) that I use in addition to QW for current-year tax planning:

    TurboTax (desktop, not online) has a What-If worksheet that lets you plug in numbers for the current tax year. 

    TaxCastor (browser or mobile app): is a great free tool that accomplishes much the same.

    Unlike QW tax planner, which does a rolling estimate throughout the year using your built-in data, both TT What-If and TC require you to do separate calculations and enter them.

    However, TT What-If will auto-populate your current year column with last year's data -- very helpful if you only have a handful of tweaks to test out. 
  • mistertheplaguemistertheplague Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    @QPW, I can confirm that you know more than a few things :-)

    You're correct, I spoke too broadly. QM does of course have a straightforward reporting engine that produces a tax schedule report. Provided you have your tax categories set up correctly, it's very accurate.

    Perhaps I should have said "linking engine," but that sounds clunky. Essentially QW's ability to forecast your end-of-year tax liability using scheduled transactions like paychecks, RMDs -- any transactions with tax implications. 

    This capability seems tricky to build from scratch, but then again I'm not a software developer -- it may not be.
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    Well I don't really see anything "special" in Quicken Windows.  The predictions are either the scheduled reminders, or just an estimate based on how much has been spent on a given tax line to date, or a manual entry by the user in the tax planner.
    As shown in the example below.  Note that if I hadn't put in any scheduled reminders there wouldn't be any prediction at all (when scheduled Bills and Deposits is selected).
    image

    In fact you can say that the reason this "widget" doesn't exist in Quicken Mac:
    image

    is because the tax planner doesn't exist.  It is drawing its information from the tax planner.

    BTW on a personal note I use the Tax Planner numbers with a "big grain of salt".
    It is limited in what it can predict by a number of factors.  First off like I pointed out above if your scheduled reminders don't reflect what is really going to happen then the prediction of course is going to be wrong.  This can actually come out in some surprising, and complicated situations.  For instance it only has the reminder system with all its faults to rely on.  And at least in the Windows very the paycheck reminder can't different at different times of the year.  If you imagine a teacher you can see how that would be a big problem.  But in my own personal case I would max out things like my 401K or other taxes and such before the end of the year, so the amounts coming from my paycheck were never "100%".

    Also their are many complicated tax situations it just doesn't have all rules (and maybe not even enough information) to do right.

    I consider it a "ballpark" estimate.  I always use my last year's tax program for a much better estimate (and it is nice that I can get an early copy of my tax program in about November to plan the end of the year).
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    Side note. I just notice that it was saying $3996 due.
    I realized that my business revenue was way high.
    The first thing I saw that needed to change is that I had previously added $1000 to the total to compensate for the fact that I knew that I was going to be paid that over the next couple of months, but not for the rest of the year.  There is no way in the reminder system to put in a varying amounts.  Well you can override the next one, but that is about it.  And in fact the Tax Planner won't pick up that override.

    But that certainly couldn't explain $3996.  Well I notice that Quicken added 3035 + 3251 and got a bit over 22,000.  This has been a long standing problem with the Tax Planner, where amounts don't "stick" or some strange amount "sticks".

    I cleared that amounts, and got it to recalculate it, and then it came down to $110.

    If you get a Tax Planner I hope it is more reliable than the one the Windows version currently has (it should have been rewritten years ago so that it stopped using ActiveX)
  • mistertheplaguemistertheplague Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    First things first: how in hell did you find a checking account paying that much interest??!!

    Completely agree about the hit-or-miss utility of QW's tax planner if your projected finances are variable. Being able to have Tax Planner pull your numbers in automatically is the lion's share of what makes it a good option, in my opinion. If you had to manually calculate your various tax-related line items, other tools are as good or better.

    Another issue that borks Tax Planner's projections is that the rates for the current year are frequently wrong. So every year, until markus1957 swoops in and posts his perennial corrections, you're basically dead in the water (unless you want to try to do the job he's been doing for years -- no thanks).

    A useful feature of MS Money's tax planner, for instance (especially now that the program is free-range), is that all of the rates, limits, and other tax-related data fields are user-customizable. It'd be helpful for Quicken's tax planner to allow for that sort of customization, especially when the data Q sticks you with is wrong.
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    First things first: how in hell did you find a checking account paying that much interest??!!
    I didn't it is in the way that Quicken Windows Tax Planner presents the data that sort of makes it looks like that.

    The number is the total interest of all my taxable accounts.  I scrolled to the dividing line in the list just between the actual transactions and the reminders (so people could see the difference), and that section just show the ones from my checking account.
  • QPWQPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    Oops, maybe you are referring to the $53 of interest scheduled interest in the checking account.  I sort of forgot about that one.

    It isn't an estimate of $53 a week from my checking account.
    What it is $53 from all my accounts.
    What I did to make a "reasonable" prediction for the tax planner and for cash flow in general/budget is to create a weekly reminder that is split like this:
    image

    This reminder is always skipped, it is only for such predictions, so it doesn't matter what accounts it is for, and it is much easier to to manage such a reminder that to actually breakout the numbers into the accounts the amounts it will show up in.
    Which I actually don't care about.

    This are basically the categories that are "variable" or for whatever reason I want to predict, but not have a real reminder for.

    In the past I didn't even do something like this, but recently I thought I would throw it in just to make the budget balance and such "look right".
  • ConcordmanConcordman Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    Thanks for the info regarding the what-if scenario in TT, unfortunately it does not cover state tax return scenarios, which is my present need 
  • Rod LanthorneRod Lanthorne Member
    edited August 2018

    Can you provide more info of what your looking for in a tax planner , I am a former QW user but not sure what your meaning

    Quicken Tax Planner for Windows was very useful for federal tax planning scenarios. I would like to see a similar version developed for Q-Mac with an added planner feature for state taxes.
  • edited July 2018
    I loved tax planner in Quicken for Windows 2017.  My PC was old and slow so I got a MacBook Pro - thinking I could still use Quicken, not realizing Quicken for Mac doesn't have all of the same features as Quicken for Windows.... Why?
  • jacobsjacobs SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    Quicken for Windows is the culmination of 30+ years of development. Quicken Mac was in a similar state in 2007, when the developers concluded that they couldn't keep adding onto it because changes in the Mac operating system were going to make core parts of the program obsolete. They bit the bullet and decided to start over from scratch. Unfortunately, management at Intuit at that time changed direction and leadership a few times, resulting in a failed first effort that never made it to market (Quicken Financial Life in 2008), then a second effort that made it to market as a very basic, limited version of Quicken (Quicken Essentials in 2010), and near abandonment of Quicken Mac and the development team thereafter. In late 2012, they hired a new product manager, who hired a few developers and steered this tiny team to create what came to market as Quicken 2015 for Mac. It was a major improvement over Quicken Essentials, but fell well short of either the venerable Quicken 2007 for Mac or Quicken Windows. Over the ensuing nearly four years, the Mac development team has slowly grown, and there has been a long string of enhancements to the Mac program. Nonetheless, development is slow, and the Mac product today still doesn't have all the features of the Windows product or the old Mac product. 

    We all use Quicken differently, so for some people the missing feature in the Mac product are inconsequential or are inconvenient but able to be worked around; for others, one or more missing features makes the Mac product not suited to their needs. The good news is that management has stated a goal of making the Mac version on par with the windows version, that there have been clear signs of progress in that direction, and that the independent Quicken company has hired more Mac programmers. The bad news is that there's a lot of ground to cover, and development progress is slow, so if there's a particular feature you're missing, it could be months or years until the Mac version fully catches up. 
    QMac 2007 & QMac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
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