Tax season is generally dreaded by everyone; fortunately TurboTax is doing everything possible to make the experience as smooth as possible. New features and the easy-to-use interface make TurboTax 2015 the industry leading software solution. Our Turbo Tax review will cover all of the new and existing features, the pricing structure and what you need to know to get started with the most daunting task of the season.
Tax Season is Here
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has begun processing tax returns which means the time has come to get moving on taxes. Most employers have mailed out W-2s so there’s no excuse (except maybe the Super Bowl!) to keep you from filing, especially if you are due a refund!
An Overview of the TurboTax Software
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TurboTax software is available to assist users in filing federal and state income taxes for themselves or their business. There are a number of versions of the software available depending upon the individual circumstances, such as whether they own rental property, own a business or trade stocks regularly. Regardless of which version an individual or company purchases, the software is designed to make filing as easy as possible with a step-by-step approach to tax returns. Each version of Turbo Tax is released later in the year prior to the version year, so for example TurboTax 2015 is released late in 2014. The late year release allows for users to file federal tax returns promptly. State return software is not available until early in 2015.
The Proprietary License on TurboTax
The TurboTax tax preparation software is what is referred to as a proprietary license. This means that the software for the TurboTax program is licensed under the exclusive right of the person, persons or company that holds the copyright for the software. The person who purchases this software receives a license to utilize it, however, they are not allowed to modify, reverse engineer or further distribute the software. This differs from an “open source software” and is often referred to as a “closed source software.”
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 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
- Live chat with their tax experts
Federal Free Edition
The Federal Free Edition is for those 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 e-filing for one tax return. State returns can only be filed at a $27.99 cost. Also, customers using this edition can qualify for a 5% bonus on top of their refund. 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 edition that does not provide phone support for filers.
- 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: $19.99
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: $26.99
- Download or CD: $59.99
The Premier edition of TurboTax 2015 is for individuals who have investment income or who own rental property. This option includes everything the Deluxe version offers, but also calculates gains and deducts investment 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: $44.99
- 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: $67.49
- 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: $67.49
- 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
Refund Bonus Program
Again this year, TurboTax offers federal tax e-filers the option of using $100 increments of their federal refund to purchase an Amazon gift card, and filers will receive up to 10% more on the gift card. Users of the Free Federal Edition are not eligible for this bonus program.
- Using Basic software or CD, Deluxe online, Premier online, or Home and Business online, you can get an extra 5% on the gift card.
- Using Deluxe, Premier, or Home and Business software or CD, you can get an additional 10% on the gift card.
Why Choose TurboTax 2015?
With so many tax filing software options available, you may find yourself asking why you should consider purchasing TurboTax 2015. There are a number of reasons why TurboTax makes a good choice for tax filers and is our #1 pick for your needs in filing your 2014 returns:
- TurboTax is our 2015 winner of the Best Tax Preparation Software
- TurboTax 2015 offers a variety of products catered to individual tax filing needs
- Easy to understand terminology
- Step-by-step guidance
- A trusted and reputable software company
- Live help with real people is only a phone call or chat window away
- TurboTax 2015 offers an Audit Risk Meter and Audit support when needed
- TurboTax is the top-selling tax software
The Canadian TurboTax 2015*
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: $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.
What Do You Think of TurboTax Reviews?
Now that you’ve read our TurboTax Reviews, let us know your experience when you start using TurboTax 2015. Leave comments below to help others make the right choice when selecting the best tax software for their needs.
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