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Let’s face it. Nearly everyone dreads tax season. Does the popular TurboTax service make the process less painful?
It’s loaded with features and an easy-to-use interface. Find out why TurboTax is one of the industry leading software solutions and how it ranks vs the competition in our best online tax software comparison. This software is updated for 2020.
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.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Features
- 2019-2020 Tax Solutions
- Coupon Code
- User Reviews
- Canadian Version
- TurboTax vs Competition
- Guaranteed maximum refund
- Benefit of the best-selling tax filing software
- Online, CD or downloadable software available
- Five e-files available to cover your whole family (with CD or download software)
- Free federal and state e-filing for 1040EZ
- State filing available with every edition
- Free Affordable Health Care Act assistance for calculating tax credits and penalties
- Fully functional mobile version for iOS and Android
- Excellent customer service via telephone, email, and live chat, and added support with user forums, tutorials, and FAQ sections
- Expensive relative to competitors
- No physical locations, where you can file in-house or meet with a tax specialist
- Additional fee for audit defense
- Absolute Zero: file your federal 1040EZ/A and state taxes for free
- TurboTax App: iOS and Android versions available. Features 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
Like earlier versions, the 2019-2020 versions of TurboTax can be purchased as a CD, or it can be downloaded directly to your computer. TurboTax increased its prices for tax products by about $5 to $10 this year.
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 six personal tax filing software options from 2019-2020 TurboTax. 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
The Federal Free Edition is for individuals with simple tax returns and is available online only. 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: $39.99
- Basic Live (CPAs and EAs review your return): $50.00
The Deluxe edition, TurboTax’s most popular product, is for individuals who want to maximize tax deductions and credit. In addition to the features included in the Basic TurboTax software, this version searches for more than 350 tax deductions and provides accurate itemized deductions and donation values.
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 $40.00 fee for state e-filing.
- Online: $40.00
- Download or CD: $69.99
- Deluxe Live (CPAs and EAs review your return): $90.00
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 $40.00 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: $70.00
- Download or CD: $99.99
- Premier Live (CPAs and EAs review your return): $140.00
Home and Business Edition
The Home and Business Edition is the best choice for personal and self-employed individuals. 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 CD can e-file up to five federal returns and one state return with no additional charge. Another great feature of the Home and Business Edition software or CD product is priority phone support from TurboTax’s credentialed CPAs and EAs.
- Not available online
- Download or CD: $109.99
The Self-Employed Edition is the best option for personal and business income and expenses. This software includes everything from the Premier program in addition to Schedule C (maximizing business deductions), helping you find other business expenses you may not know about and expense and mileage tracking.
Those who purchase Self-Employed online edition can e-file one federal return and must pay an additional $40.00 for state e-filing. Another great feature of the Self-Employed Edition software is priority phone support from TurboTax’s credentialed CPAs and EAs.
- Online: $90.00
- Not available download or CD
- Self-Employed Live (CPAs and EAs review your return): $170.00
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: $159.99
We’ve pored through online user reviews for real consumer feedback on TurboTax. Here’s a sampling of what we found.
Well developed software app by reputable Quicken leads me to trust the tax legality & app reliability. I’ve been using it for a decade so my past tax return info is carried forward to the new tax year saving me time. Recently, I couldn’t find my printed copies of previous years and found it very easy to download them. Last year I needed CPA advice and found it incredibly easy & helpful to be able to get a CPA on the phone who could look at my return real time & provide advice on an unusual circumstance. I was able to file with confidence that my return was correct. Price is very reasonable compared to hiring a a tax firm. Carole, ConsumerAffairs 3/16/2019
It’s tax time again and for me a great way to get started is to get Turbo Tax software on sale in the beginning of January at BestBuy. I have been using Turbo Tax for about eight years now and each new version gets easier and easier to use. This allows me to complete my returns quickly and accurately so, I can file earlier. Turbo Tax is really good software and easy to use, I would recommend it even for beginners. – Thomas, Best Buy 1/11/2020
Sure we all need this software. Unfortunately. It works so far. But when you buy it, there is no invoice anywhere. Not in the email, not in your account. All you get is the purchase on your CC statement. This is not sufficient to claim the sales tax on it! The tax-software company is not able to provide invoices. This is not a funny joke, this is bitter truth. And like too many other companies, they don’t have email support. I am not talking about an email address which would be flooded by spam, no, I am talking about a support ticket system, contact form etc. Nothing on their website. Only a phone number. Like 1984. HELLO, Intuit, we have 2020!! People have email, Facebook, WhatsApp etc! You got stuck in the stone age. I would appreciate our government would make it a law that businesses who operate online have to provide online communication as well. – Volker, ConsumerAffairs 1/14/2020
I have always used TurboTax Premier and was satisfied with it. However, I needed to complete my returns sooner this year and found that the Schedule E portion will not be complete or ready until Jan. 29. This is a big inconvenience for me this year and I might have purchased another software had I known I would not be able to complete my returns with TurboTax as soon as I wanted to. I think a credit for the inconvenience should be given. – Anne, Best Buy 1/11/2020
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 downloadable versions, you should know that the downloadable versions are only PC compatible. All online versions are both PC and Mac compatible.
*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
- Downloadable version: CAD$19.99
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$19.99
- Downloadable version: CAD$34.99
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
- Downloadable version: CAD$74.99
Assist & Review (Canada)
Receive on-demand advice from a TurboTax expert and a full review of your tax return.
- Online: CAD$69.99 per return
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$44.99 (called Self-Employed)
- Downloadable version: CAD$119.99
Assist & Review Self-Employed (Canada)
Get answers to your self-employed tax questions and find hidden expenses.
- Online: CAD$84.99 per return
20 Returns (Canada)
With TurboTax 20, you essentially get all the features of the Home & Business version, but it allows you to e-file up to 20 unique returns for any individual tax situation. The software/CD purchase cost is CAD$144.99.
Business Incorporated (Canada)
- Includes one corporate T2 tax return
- Analyzes industry-specific hidden deductions for your business
- Provides exclusive Business Expert Interview
- Downloadable version: CAD$249.99
Canada Audit Defense
All TurboTax Canada versions give you the option of Audit Defense for an additional $49.99, 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.
TurboTax was one of the first, and remains one of the most popular online tax software programs. It’s easy to use and has good reputation, but is it worth the extra expense compared to its competitors? Find out how it ranks and what’s available from the competition in our comprehensive online tax solutions review.
What would you tell fellow filers about TurboTax?
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