TurboTax Review

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In 2016, over 31% of United States citizens (more than 100 million people) filed their taxes electronically. This number increased by more than 15% in the last few years, and it’s likely to continue rising. Here’s a another number for you: $129. That’s the average Americans spend annually to have their taxes readied for Uncle Sam. And that’s for simple taxes. If you have a mortgage or children, that number can rise above $200.

How do I file taxes for less (or free)?

First, choose the right software for you. You have a few options, including e-File.com and TaxAct, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Picking the right one isn’t a simple task, but we’ve done the hard part and test-drove them all. Today, we’re going over the pros and cons of TurboTax.

Advantages:

Ease of use

Expert advice

Low prices

Disadvantages:

Complexity*

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* The deduction part might seem complicated for some users. It’s hard to keep everything together when searching through more than 350 deductions. If the standard deduction is greater than your itemized value, however, the application will use that amount by default.

** The biggest problem when using TurboTax is its aggressive commercial approach. The free version is convinced that you’re doing yourself a great disservice by not upgrading or paying for something. For example, there’s an option of paying $39.95 (or $49.95 for a business return) to get extra advice to help prevent getting audited. In addition, the software directed us to Mint.com to increase our IRA deduction to the maximum. Granted, Mint.com is a valuable and free financial tool that we already use, but it was an obvious marketing avalanche.

Still, TurboTax is one of the largest contenders when it comes to tax software sales. The product has a great reputation, with good reason.

Appearance: TurboTax’s appearance is streamlined and easy to handle. It gets personal too; for example, it reminds you that family is important and details deductions for each dependent. Once you’ve filled in your information, it defines the status for your tax return along the way.

Memory: The application also runs smoothly when showing refund amounts while moving through the filing process. One of the best features is its “memory.” If you’re a past client, it remembers your data from the previous year, saving time and energy.

Community: If you’re using the software for the first time, TurboTax sports a beginners’ tour and an active community where you can ask questions and get useful replies.

Accuracy: No one wants an audit. This application guarantees its results and checks your filling three times to avoid mistakes. If you’re audited anyway, TurboTax professionals are there to help.

Prices

TurboTax’s prices range from free to affordable. There’s a package to suit everyone, and each comes with at least one federal efile. In addition, they all come with free live support.

TurboTax Free: If you need to file a federal return, TurboTax costs nothing when using the free version. This version is best for people with simple taxes, but it’s capable of filing most peoples’ taxes. You can efile or print, and online support is readily available. If you own a business, however, you’ll need a paid version of TurboTax.

State file: $29.99 each

TurboTax Deluxe: At 54.99, the deluxe version is still a small percentage of what most personal tax preparers charge. It’s useful for those who have many itemized deductions.

State efile: $39.99 each

TurboTax Premier: Next up at $79.99 is the premier version meant for people who have investments or rental property. If you’re a landlord or someone who likes to dabble with the stock market, this is for you.

State efile: $39.99 each

TurboTax Home and Business: This version costs $104.99, and it’s for both home and business. It’s great for self-employed people who work as a contractor or sole proprietor. Hair stylists, freelance writers, and construction workers who work for themselves are perfect candidates.

State efile: $39.99 each

Summary

TurboTax has many good points. It has an intuitive interface, efficient guides, and low prices. On the other hand, it’s in-your-face about upgrading when using the free service. If you’re not an experienced user, be aware and avoid paying for expensive stuff that you don’t need.

What’s the difference between this software and other options, like H&R Block and TaxACT? Check out our other reviews to see how they compare!