TurboTax

TurboTax is Recommended for its Helpful Features

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TurboTax handles simple tax returns quickly and easily. Although the software has a free filing option, you will have to pay if you want to take advantage of deductions or tax credits. The software is easy to navigate and is well-suited for individuals who just want to file a basic 1040 (which has replaced the 1040EZ or 1040A for 2019 filings).

There are three version of the software: the Free edition, the Deluxe version at $39.99 (for individuals wanting to maximize credits and deductions, the Premier version at $59.99 (for those who have investments and rental property, and the Self-employed version at $89.99 (for those with personal and business income and expenses). State filing is an additional cost of $39.99 for the Deluxe, Premier, and self-employed versions.

Completing Your Return With TurboTax Deluxe

We analyzed the Deluxe version because it offers basic features and the ability to claim deductions and credits. The software first asks the user to import their return from the previous year. This auto-populates the user's information.

TurboTax has a guided navigation system. New users are asked a series of easy-to-understand questions, and selecting the right options will make the process much quicker. The system will save all of your employment, personal, and tax credit information for the next year.

The user can also import their W-2 if it comes from a TurboTax partner. As the user begins to enter their information, the program will inform the user if they qualify for any deduction or credits. For example, if the user has children there will be associated deductions. The software offers additional information on any tax benefits that are triggered.

It is easy to jump from one section to another using the menu at the top of the screen, or you can re-enter the guided mode. If the user reaches a section and realizes they don't have the required information, they can bookmark the page.

TurboTax Articles

The system provides in-depth articles that answer your common tax questions. There is also a a Tax Reform Center that explains the changes that went unto effect in 2018.

TurboTax Live

There is no longer live advice for all customers. There is an option called TurboTax Live, however, where real CPAs and EAs review your return and the user can connect with a CPA on demand for help. There are four options for Turbo Tax Live: Basic live at $49.99, Deluxe live at $89.99, Premier live at $139.99, and Self-employed live at $169.99.

Additional Features

TurboTax also offers audit protection through an add-on called Max Assist and Defend. It must be purchased when the taxes are filed and costs $44.99. It might be worth buying the add-on for complicated returns.

Intuit includes the ItsDeductible software for calculating the fair market value of items donated to charity in Deluxe and higher versions of TurboTax. Premier and Self-employed versions offer additional help in calculating your cost basis for stocks and mutual funds, which is a common area where people need help. Premier and Self-employed versions also include a 401(k) Maximizer that calculates how much you can contribute to a 401(k) retirement plan without decreasing your net paycheck.

The online versions of TurboTax are available directly on the TurboTax Web site.

Note that prices are subject to change throughout the season. Amazon offers special pricing for both PC and Mac discs and download. Check out TurboTax on Amazon here.