TurboTax Review: Is It Worth The High Price?

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TurboTax logo & ReviewLet’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 2018 one of the industry leading software solutions and our number two pick for Best Online Tax Software. (To clarify, this software is updated for 2019 but is for the 2018 tax season.)

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.

Visit TurboTax’s Website

Article Overview

TurboTax

4.4 / 5
TurboTax
Cost 3.0
Ease of Use 4.5
Professional Tax Prep Assistance 5.0
Features 4.5
Customer Support 5.0

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No physical locations, where you can file in-house or meet with a tax specialist
  • Additional fee for audit defense

Key Features

  • Absolute Zero: file your federal 1040EZ/A and state taxes for free
  • 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

2018 Editions

Like earlier versions, the 2018 version 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 2018 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

Free Edition

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

Basic Edition

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

Deluxe Edition

*Important note for TurboTax Deluxe CD/downloadable version users: TurboTax has gone back and forth the past couple years about this. The company previously included e-filing for Schedule D (capital gains and losses), Schedule C (sole proprietorship), and Schedule F (farm income). However, this year they have decided not to include these and instead they are in other packages.

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 $39.99 fee for state e-filing.

  • Online: $39.99
  • Download or CD: $69.99

Premier Edition

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 $39.99 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: $59.99
  • Download or CD: $99.99

Home and Business Edition

The Home and Business 2017 TurboTax 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

Self-Employed

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 $39.99 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: $89.99
  • Not available download or CD

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.

  • Not available online
  • Download or CD: $109.99

Business Edition

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 $59.99 fee.

  • No online version available
  • Download or CD: $159.99

Coupon Code

TurboTax has a few promotions for the 2019 tax season (2018 taxes). The Deluxe addition is normally $59.99, but is now $39.99. The Premier addition is normally $79.99, but is now $59.99. The Self Employed is normally $119.99, but is now $89.99. Click here to take advantage of these offers.

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 Reviews

I needed to file my taxes so I went to H&R Block and they said I was only getting 140$ back and their fee for filing was about 260$ so I decided to try doing it online. I tried irs.gov but I couldn’t figure out how to do it at all. It was so confusing and I couldn’t figure out how to do anything. So then I went to Credit Karma because I saw that on TV all the time. It sucked. Before I tried filing my taxes, I let Credit Karma look at my credit because that was what all the hype was about. So I checked it and they were SO SO wrong. Said I had absolutely horrible credit which wasn’t the case. So I decided not to trust that site. My boyfriend then suggested TurboTax!! Love TurboTax! So easy to file taxes. They were so helpful and easy a 10 year old could do it. And free! I was very happy with it. Anyone who can’t figure it out, I feel so bad for you because it is the easiest, most helpful app I have found. – Laura, Consumer Affairs 4/3/2017

I really like this software, it makes filling my taxes quick and easy. The software covers every situation and provide support. – MikeyG, Best Buy 1/28/2018

Negative Reviews

The customer service at TurboTax is horrible. It took an act of Congress to be able to get someone on the phone, and when I did I talked to two people that didn’t even know how their software worked. I was just trying to get a complete detailed copy of my return like I had done in previous years and the customer service people I talked to didn’t even understand what I was talking about. I’m only able to get a four page copy of my return instead of the 100+ page detailed return I got in previous years. I will be looking for another tax software next year. Does anyone have suggestions for other tax software that is good? – Alan, Consumer Affairs 1/27/2018

Once they have you, they have you. You are kind of stuck. The software is pretty easy to use – as advertised, but the price seems to have escalated in recent years. – Dropp, Best Buy 1/15/2018

Canadian TurboTax 2019 (For 2018 Tax Year)

Visit TurboTax Canada

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.

*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.

Canada Versions

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

Free (Canada)

Best if filing income only and donations.

  • Guides you through life changes that can affect your taxes
  • Return-meter
  • Bookmark sections you need to return to
  • Online-only version: Free

Basic (Canada)

Best if filing income only and donations.

  • EasyStep Interview for claiming T4 slips and deductions
  • Online FAQs
  • Software/CD only version: CAD$14.99

Standard (Canada)

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
  • Software/CD download: CAD$34.99

Premier (Canada)

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$39.99
  • Software/CD download: CAD$74.99

Assist & Review (Canada)

Receive on-demand advice from a TurboTax expert and a full review of your tax return.

  • Online: CAD$79.99 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$59.99 (called Self-Employed)
  • Software/CD download: CAD$119.99

Assist & Review Self-Employed (Canada)

Get answers to your self-employed tax questions and find hidden expenses.

  • Online: CAD$99.99 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$139.99.

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$249.99

Canada Audit Defense

All TurboTax Canada versions give you the option of Audit Defense for an additional $39.99, 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 vs Other Online Tax Software

Visit TurboTax’s Website

TurboTax 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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Kimberly has always enjoyed testing out the latest tech gadgets and loves seeing how things evolve. She’s a fast learner when it comes to the latest fads and likes sharing her findings with others. Although she loves technology, she also enjoys escaping the online world and likes to spend time outside away from the gadgets.

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Jack Roberts
So done with Turbo Tax! Forced to upgrade after an hour of data entry. Thieves!! I have used TurboTax for many years now. Their online tax filing is supposed to be free but throughout the entire process they repeatedly try to upgrade you at some cost forcing you to decline over and over again the same services. I have put up with that for the free filing. This year they forced the issue. After struggling to get our info entered, There was over a $200 charge. I requested them to call me, suppose to take 10 mins to call back. After 24 hours I requested a call back again and got one. The rep was polite but could not explain the products and why the fees where so high or why they would not take fees out of my refund. I asked for a supervisor and was told they are so busy they will call back in 24 hours. So we looked around and used FreeTaxUSA. It was easy to enter the info, we got the same refund and it only cost $40. A full 98% of TurboTax customers are unhappy with the services they provide. How bad are you as a company that only 2% actually like what you do?

Their negatives even within the BBB site is 97%. The only site that gives them a favorable rating above 3% is their own site. Hmmm can you say manipulated and fake?

Bob
It appears Turbo Tax Deluxe no longer includes schedule D. I guess I have to buy HR Block Deluxe. It will give me schedule D for my investments. You also get the same one state product. One would have thought Turbo would have learned from last year.
Biff Bumpaw
Last year I could use the $29.99 Basic version, but this year Intuit figured out they could gouge small business owners by restricting Sched C filers to the $99.99 Home & Business version. I will never buy another Intuit product from these bandits.

RadMangi
Non-stop, relentless spam! I have asked three times to end the spam. They just laugh with a “what are you going to do about it” attitude. Worse yet, we made the mistake of ordering it online two years ago. Since then, they have placed three charges on our card. They claim that we opted in for all future products and updates they deem necessary. I asked to see where that happened, on what page, what check box, where was my authorization. I am very aware of little scams like that and would have never opted into a “charge me what ever you want, when ever” attitude. They were never able to show me where I opted into this. (They call it a “service”, most people call is credit card fraud). We finally had to change our credit card number to stop the fraudulent charges. We filed complaints with the Attorney General and FTC last year but our tax payer supported consumer protections serviced don’t seem to work.

tom amenta
TurboTax mistakenly averages the nominee amounts specified in the 1099_Div.

The amounts from the various 1009_div nominees should be added not averaged.

Be careful!!!!