Let’s face it. Nearly everyone dreads tax season. Fortunately, TurboTax makes the experience as smooth as possible. Excellent features and the easy-to-use interface make TurboTax 2015 the industry leading software solution and our number one pick for Best Online Tax Software. TurboTax offers several different online and downloadable/CD versions to fit everyone’s needs, from simple filers to big business, and the software is designed to make filing as easy as possible with a step-by-step approach to tax returns. We’ll give you a detailed description including key features and pricing for each edition to help you choose, but first we present our overall TurboTax review and tell you what’s new this year.
- Absolute Zero: file your federal 1040EZ/A and state taxes for free
- New TurboTax App: fully functional filing using your smartphone or tablet; take a photo of your W-2 and all the information will upload into the correct forms; chat live on-screen with an expert
- Benefit Assist: checks to see if you qualify for official government benefits, like Food Stamps, Medicaid, and discounted gas and electric; imports your tax return information directly into the online benefit applications
- Free guidance with the Affordable Health Care Act
Why Not File On the Go?
Check out this video that shows how easy it is to use TurboTax’s new mobile app — you can file from anywhere! Click here to download the iOS app.
TurboTax 2015 Editions
Like earlier versions, the 2015 version of TurboTax can be purchased as a CD software, or it can be downloaded directly to your computer. Users can also establish an online log-in that can be used to file individual tax returns by directly accessing online software databases. Using an online log-in for TurboTax will allow users to retrieve previous years’ tax returns filed in the same manner.
Personal Tax Products
There are currently five personal tax filing software options from 2015 TurboTax. The Federal Free Edition is only available online, and the other four are available online, as a software download or as an installation CD. All personal TurboTax editions offer:
- Maximum refund guaranteed
- 100% accurate calculations or TurboTax will pay your IRS penalties
- Free error checks and double-check of final returns
- Importing of W-2 income
- Phone support with their tax experts
Federal Free Edition
The Federal Free Edition is for individuals with simple tax returns. This software helps users file 1040EZ and 1040A federal forms. The benefit of this software? It uses layman terms, searches for every tax credit you may be eligible for, and provides free federal and state e-filing for one tax return. The Free Edition is a great option for first-time filers or the simplest of tax returns, but there are limitations. This is the only online edition that does not provide phone or live chat support with their credentialed tax experts (CPAs and EAs).
- Online only: Free
The Basic edition is for individuals who need a few more bells and whistles than the Free Edition offers, although you must purchase the software or CD. This edition transfers last year’s tax information to save time and easily imports W-2 forms and 1099 forms from more than 100,000 employers and financial institutions. Unlike the Free Edition, users can e-file up to five returns for free, report interest, dividends, IRA distributions or capital gains, and receive guidance with new healthcare laws. State filings are an additional $39.99 fee with this edition.
- Not available online
- Download or CD: $29.99
*Important note for TurboTax Deluxe CD/downloadable version users: As promised, TurboTax reversed the omissions it made last year and has re-introduced e-filing for Schedule D (capital gains and losses), Schedule C (sole proprietorship), and Schedule F (farm income).
The Deluxe edition, TurboTax’s most popular product, is for individuals who want to maximize tax deductions, are filing as independent contractors and those who are claiming freelance and 1099-MISC income. In addition to the features included in the Basic TurboTax software, this version searches for more than 350 tax deductions, providing accurate itemized deductions and donation values and alerting users to audit risks. Also included is extra help to maximize mortgage/property tax deductions. Users who purchase the Deluxe Edition software or CD can e-file up to five federal returns and one state return with no additional charge. Online users of TurboTax Deluxe, however, can only e-file one federal return and must pay an additional $36.99 fee for state e-filing.
- Online: $34.99
- Download or CD: $59.99
The Premier edition of TurboTax is for individuals who have investment income or who own rental property. This option includes everything the Deluxe version offers, but also calculates investment gains and deducts losses. This package also finds rental property deductions and guides users through reporting sales through employee stock purchase plans. Users who purchase the Premier Edition software or CD can e-file up to five federal returns and one state return with no additional charge. Online users of TurboTax Premier, however, can only file one federal return and must pay an additional $36.99 fee for state e-filing. Another great feature of the Premier Edition software or CD product is priority phone support from TurboTax’s credentialed CPAs and EAs.
- Online: $54.99
- Download or CD: $89.99
Home and Business Edition
The Home and Business 2015 TurboTax Edition is the best choice for small business owners or sole proprietors. This software option includes everything in the Premier program in addition to finding refund boosting business write-offs and industry specific deductions while also helping find depreciation methods that will yield the biggest refund. Users who purchase the Home and Business Edition software or CD can e-file up to five federal returns and one state return with no additional charge. Online users of TurboTax Home and Business, however, can only file one federal return and must pay an additional $36.99 fee for state e-filing. Another great feature of the Home and Business Edition software or CD product is priority phone support from TurboTax’s credentialed CPAs and EAs.
- Online: $79.99
- Download or CD: $99.99
Business Tax Products
Home and Business Edition
As outlined above, this option is best for users that are self-employed or who receive income from a side job. This is also a good solution for sole proprietors, consultants, 1099 contractors or single owners of an LLC business.
- Online: $79.99
- Download or CD: $99.99
This is a better option than the Home and Business Edition for those who own an S-corporation, a partnership, a C corporation or a multiple-owner LLC and those with estates and trusts. This software makes filing business taxes easy by asking questions in layman terms and then helping to maximize industry-specific business deductions. This version of TurboTax offers more business forms than ever before. Business Edition users can e-file State returns for an additional $49.99 fee.
- No online version available
- Download or CD: $149.99
Coupon CodeTurboTax has a few promotions for the 2016 tax season. The Deluxe addition is normally $54.99, but is now $34.99. The Premier addition is normally $79.99, but is now $54.99. The Home & Business is normally $104.99, but is now $79.99. Click here to take advantage of these offers.
Feedback From Fellow Filers: Is TurboTax Worth it?
We’ve pored through online user reviews for real consumer feedback on TurboTax. Here’s a sampling of what we found.
Positive TurboTax Reviews
I have used this product every year for several years. Makes things super easy and anyone could do their taxes with no problem It is i think cheaper than paid tax preparing services. Sherry, Amazon 12/12/15
I have been very impressed for the 2 years that I have used TurboTax. I love how easy it is to do my own taxes as well as ability to read tips from TurboTax. The estimator calculator is a great tool to get an idea on how much I will get back. Kristen, Best Companys, 9/11/2014
Negative TurboTax Reviews
I’ve used Turbo Tax for years. Every year it gets more difficult to navigate. I still recommend it but it’s very difficult to adapt to the changes every year that make it less user-friendly. Melanie, Consumer Affairs, 9/5/2015
I’m not sure I would characterize TurboTax as being “welcoming” or “understandable.” “Reassuring” becomes questionable, when the internal “search” mechanism doesn’t return what one would expect. TsarNikky, PC Magazine, 2/2015
The Canadian TurboTax 2015* [NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL MID-JANUARY]
Canada is the only other country that offers TurboTax tax filing software, and TurboTax is Canada’s #1 Best Selling Tax Software. TurboTax Canada is also available in the French language and is sold as “ImpôtRapide” to residents of Quebec or other French-speaking areas. As with the United States versions of this software, the Canadian versions of TurboTax can also be accessed online. But when choosing between the online vs. software/CD versions, you should know that the software/CD versions are only PC compatible. All online versions are both PC and MAC compatible.
One of the best features of TurboTax Canada is its Student version option. Although only available online, this version is best for students who paid tuition in 2014 with a household income less than CAD$20,000 but provides all the features of its Standard version (see below) for no cost. Tuition-paying students whose household income was more than CAD$20,000 in 2014, must purchase the online CAD$17.99 Standard version.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: TO FILE IN CANADA, YOU MUST USE THE CANADIAN VERSION OF TURBOTAX – YOU CANNOT USE THE U.S. SERVICE TO FILE A CANADIAN TAX RETURN.
All TurboTax Canada versions (online and software/CD) include:
- Customer support available 7 days a week
- Government approved forms
- Maximum refund guarantee
- 100% accurate calculations guarantee
- 100% customer satisfaction guarantee
Best if filing income only and donations.
- Guides you through life changes that can affect your taxes
- Bookmark sections you need to return to
- Online-only version: Free
Best if filing income only and donations.
- EasyStep Interview for claiming T4 slips and deductions
- Online FAQs
- Software/CD only version: CAD$8.99
Best for those claiming family deductions.
- All of the features of the Basic version
- RRSP and CPP optimizers
- Pension income splitting tool
- Multiple child tax credits guidance
- Helps prepare simultaneous spousal returns to maximize benefits for both
- Deduction Toolbox searches +400 deductions/credits
- Online: CAD$17.99
- Software/CD download: CAD$35.99
Best for those claiming investment and rental income.
- All of the features of the Standard Version
- Live Tax Advice
- Rental income advice
- Investment Income Tools
- Calculates capital gains and losses
- Imports data from Quicken
- Online: CAD$34.99
- Software/CD download: CAD$62.99
Home & Business (Canada)
Best for consultants, contractors, freelancers and small business owners.
- All of the features in Premier
- Ability to file business and personal taxes together
- Maximize self-employment deductions
- Business tax advantage locator
- Imports data from Quicken and QuickBooks
- Online: CAD$49.99
- Software/CD download: CAD$98.99
With TurboTax 20, you essentially get all the features of the Home & Business version, but it allows you to efile up to 20 unique returns for any individual tax situation. The software/CD purchase cost is CAD$116.99.
Business Incorporated (Canada)
- Includes one corporate T2 tax return
- Analyzes industry-specific hidden deductions for your business
- Provides exclusive Business Expert Interview
- Software/CD purchase: CAD$229.99
Canada Audit Defence
All TurboTax Canada versions give you the option of Audit Defence for an additional $39.99 fee per return, which gives you the assistance of an audit representative who will review your return for problem areas, defend your return to the CRA, handle your CRA correspondence, and schedule and attend all audit-related meetings with the CRA.
Filing Taxes Can be Simplified
Despite TurboTax’s major hiccup last year, which they’ve resolved for 2016, it still remains one of the best online tax software programs out there. Easy for anyone to use and a good reputation for years, TurboTax is worth the extra expense compared to its competitors. If you’re interested in learning more about other online tax software programs, see our Best Online Tax Software comparison article.
What would you tell fellow filers about TurboTax?
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