TurboTax TurboTax
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TurboTax Review

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Rating:
Bottom Line:
Fastest and easiest service around with the best online deduction finder tools and excellent customer support

Full Review:
TurboTax offers the most robust online tool for those who just want to file their taxes without the hassle of dealing with in-person guidance. Its killer app is an intake system which asks you basic questions that it then uses to build your return. This makes filing taxes fast, transparent and easy.


Pricing

TurboTax Federal Free Edition offers free preparation and e-filing for some federal returns, but only for consumers who will be filing simple 1040 or 1040EZ returns. Homeowners and those who want to take advantage of every credit they can get will likely require an upgrade to TurboTax's Deluxe ($54.99). The more advanced Premier ($79.99) and Home and Business ($114.99) packages are mainly for property owners, investors and entrepreneurs. Filing your state taxes costs $29.99 for those using the federal free edition, and $39.99 for all other packages.


Interface

TurboTax is powered by Intuit, the software company that produces other popular personal financial management tools such as Quicken and Mint. As the name Intuit implies, TurboTax is fast and intuitive. Its online tax preparation and filing system is extremely easy to use and has the most robust automated deduction tools of any of the providers we reviewed.


Basic questions asked at the beginning of your session create the categories which you will see in your menu screen when it's time to fill out your return. It walks you through every step of the process, asking easy questions written clearly. TurboTax puts an emphasis on how fast it is to file your return with estimated time limits on each section. What's awesome is that you can move between sections freely as well. There's no bookmark feature, however. But given that TurboTax's intake system revolves around simple questions, even if you work out of order, it's fairly easy to know what you've already completed and what part of the return you're currently on.

TurboTax also has a fluid mobile interface. While filing on mobile might normally seem clunky and unnecessary, TurboTax has created a "snap and auto-fill" feature allowing you to take a picture of you W-2(s) and have the information immediately imported into your return.

Support

TurboTax also offers excellent support tools on its website and the ability to contact customer support representatives by phone, web-based chat or the AnswerXchange community forum. Phone and web-based chat support is provided for by credentialed tax experts, while the forum is populated by a mixture of experts and other TurboTax users.


TurboTax has several tools designed to focus on your audit risk and during an audit. First, the Audit Risk Meter is present throughout your e-filing process to help you know your likelihood of being audited. If you get audited, TurboTax provides support in the form of free one-on-one consultation year-round, Audit Support Center program designed to explain the process to you. In addition, for a fee, Audit Defense is available, which personally grants you a licensed tax professional who can defend and assist you during the auditing process. Finally, TurboTax offers the Max package for $39.99. This package, which must be purchased before filing your taxes, offers a handful of audit and identity theft protections. It includes the Audit Defense service mentioned above along with a Tax Identity Restoration feature that promises to assist you in the event that you fall victim to tax identity theft, as well as Priority Care which offers reduced wait times for tax assistance.


Conclusion

Fast and intuitive are the only words we can use to describe TurboTax. This makes it friendly for tax newbies as TurboTax always shows its work so to speak. You'll never be lost as to what deductions you can claim and what you'll need to declare on your return. Its speed also means that more experienced filers won't feel like they're losing time due to a clunky interface or excessive hand holding. While it's not the most budget-friendly service, it's not exactly wallet breaking either, and for many filers the service will actually be free for both their federal and state returns.



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Service Details

Online Federal Tax Products:Free Federal: Free
Deluxe: $54.99
Premier: $79.99
Self-Employed: $114.99
Federal Only Fees:Free if filing simple returns, otherwise $54.99-$114.99
State Only Fees:$29.99 if filing Free Federal, $39.99 for all other returns
Support Options:Phone and online chat plus access to live community Q&A
Audit Protection:Audit Audit Support Guarantee (included in all plans) provides free audit guidance from a tax professional

Audit Defense: $14.95
TurboTax Max: $39.99

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