This question puts me in mind of some lyrics favorite song of mine from 30 plus years ago. “Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?”
A reader writes: “I am still using Windows XP. I have been using Turbo Tax for many years and including last year. But they won’t accept XP anymore. Is there a way I can use Turbo Tax without a lot of expense? I am thinking about buying a least expensive computer 10 just for Tax purpose because I love XP and have no desire to change. I am not even sure if I will be able to put last year’s tax info into the new one. I know they have a free one on the internet but I am at the place I don’t trust free stuff.”
There’s a good reason that Turbo Tax doesn’t want to deal with XP: XP systems are not secure. And the last place you want to put your tax information is on a PC that can’t be secured. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in 2014. That means there are no fixes for new security threats. It doesn’t matter if you have a third-party security program like Norton or Avast. They aren’t receiving the necessary information from Microsoft to keep XP secure. If you want to keep your XP PC and use it offline, that’s fine. But it simply is not safe to go online with XP.
Now, you might argue that you’ve been using it online and haven’t seen a problem yet. Just because you haven’t seen signs of a problem, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Good hackers are stealth. I’ll admit that the greater threat to your security is businesses, hospitals, and government agencies that are still using XP and exposing your data. But think of it as leaving your door unlocked: just because no one has turned the handle yet, doesn’t mean they won’t soon.
Turbo Tax does offer a free online tax prep program for simple returns that you can also use on tablets or smartphones. I’m not sure if this will work for you, but you could certainly give it a try. (but not on your XP machine.) Tax Act, H&R Block, and others do offer free versions for simple forms. I can’t guarantee any of these programs will work with XP.
If your XP machine is up to the task, you might consider running a dual boot with Windows 10 and use the Windows 10 side for web work. Or get an inexpensive Windows tablet to use for email, web browsing, and other online activity.
You should be able to transfer any of your previous Turbo Tax data to a new device just by saving the data. Click here for instructions from Turbo Tax maker Intuit.
Since we are coming up on tax time, here’s one more tip. If you use an accounting or tax prep firm, make a point of asking them what operating system they use and what security measures they have in place to safeguard your information.