you are right and that is why I buy the CD / download and do not use the Online Version. For about $70 I complete 4 family member tax returns, efile the federal for free and mail in the state return to avoid the efiling charge.
Do understand that even with the CD / Download version, it does require updates to the software via the internet. If the internet connection is poor, there is no reason why you can't download the first time and then wait to download the updated software onetime just before your are ready to file. It's not best to do it that way, but certainly doable.
TT simply has two different models - online and CD. Different products for different segments of the market.
Not saying online version is not any good, just with the poor internet sometimes it is frustrating to use, that said my issue is that three people in house hold can complete and e-file taxes for the $119.99 cost of the CD Download but only one person can us e the online version product for the same cost, so last year instead of it costing my a one time payment of 119.99 it cost us $119.99 X 3 so since I was doing my taxes first and assumed since they are charging the same price for the online version it would be able to do everybody's taxes in the house hold for that one price but it did not so I thought then the download must be included with that cost, but no I was wrong so I feel like I got ripped off, dont get me wrong I love the TT software, but if the online version is a single user use tghen it shoukld not cost as much as the CD
Sorry but the ONLINE and DOWNLOADED/CD versions are completely different in cost and the number of returns that can be done with each version. This has always been the case. Part of the requirements to use them both would be reliable internet service. What you need to do to get the updates/downloads or use the online version is your situation to solve.
Here are the system requirements to install Turbo Tax for Windows…..
Here are the system requirements to install Turbo Tax for MAC…..
Online version system requirements
Now for the simpler returns maybe one of the IRS FREE FILE options would be better :
If you qualify AND if you wait until mid January THEN you can use one of the 10 IRS FREE FILE options to file a fed & state return for free ... but you must be patient. https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free
IRS Free File: Closed until January 2021
IRS Free File is closed for the 2020 tax season. Check back in January for Filing Season 2021 opening details.
For Filing Season 2021, you must make $72,000 or below to use IRS Free File partner offers.
if you are in TX and therefore don't need a state return, you can purchase the software for $40 on Amazon. While you can do an unlimited number of returns on a desktop, the IRS (and not TT) limits the number of efiled returns to 5.
Correct ... ALL the downloaded version have ALL the same forms so you ONLY need to buy the Deluxe version which is sold with and without the state return ( Basic if you don't need a state return and you buy from TT directly which is also $40 right now https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/cd-download/).
...and of course, the yet another BUT.
The CD version you can get, is in such of a "preliminary/beta" software condition, and as been already noted in some of the posts above, that you do need internet service to download the software updates (right now ~ 180 mB ), since you can't finish or file a tax return from exactly what is on the CD itself.
As an alternative, IF you do have occasional access to a computer somewhere else with good internet access, and don't need a state tax return to file, you could download the manual update ~once a month, and transfer that to a USB thumb-drive and take it home to install it when needed. That avoids problems with spotty internet service where you may be located.
New updates are usually provided on Wed or Thurs evenings, from January & every week up until ~April. (They lock it for the week or two before 15 April, then may have a few more updates in the months after that). Right now, that manual-update download is working with the EDGE browser, but is screwed up using the Chrome browser: