Looking for top of the line tax software to make DIY tax filing as simple as possible?If so, TurboTax delivers in 2020. On top of its signature easy-to-use interface and robust tax help, TurboTax has enhanced the software with some basic machine learning and the option to have your tax reviewed by a CPA. Unfortunately, the price of the software could be a turn off for many bargain hunters.Should you use TurboTax to file your tax return this year? Our TurboTax review explains when it makes sense to use the software, and when you should look elsewhere. Plus, you can see how TurboTax compares on our list of the best tax software [hint: very well]. If you’re shopping around for TurboTax, once again Amazon has special pricing for both PC and Mac discs and download that’s the best we’ve seen for TurboTax. Check out TurboTax on Amazon here.
You’ve seen the advertising – is TurboTax really free?If you’re a W-2 income earner who may qualify for the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit, you can really use TurboTax to file your taxes for free. That means $0 to file your Federal tax return and $0 to file your state return.However, more complex tax situations, including people who had an HSA or who want to deduct student loan interest . These people need to upgrade to the Deluxe edition (or even higher depending on your situation).See this: best free tax software this year.
TurboTax consistently has higher than average prices. The current prices are at the top of the market. While the quality of the software justifies the price to a certain extent, other companies are catching up. I recommend less expensive options and TurboTax alternatives (such as TaxSlayer, FreeTaxUSA or H&R Block) for most users. But if you qualify for the free filing, go ahead and use the software. Additionally, self-employed people may see the value in springing form TurboTax this year. If you use the Self-Employed service you receive a 1-year subscription to QuickBooks self-employed.Another note on TurboTax’s pricing structure. All pricing tiers include free technical support, but you have to pay to get a review and support on demand from a CPA.When writing this TurboTax review, we couldn’t help but notice that the main price increase this year was TurboTax Premier.Once again Amazon has special pricing for both PC and Mac discs and download that’s the best we’ve seen for TurboTax. Check out TurboTax on Amazon here.
TurboTax Basic: TurboTax also has what it calls “Plus” and “Basic” that falls between Free and Deluxe. Both of these are basically the free edition with up-sells – like Live CPA help, or audit protection. They have just changed the name/pricing structure from prior years.
Please note, TurboTax tends to adjust prices throughout the tax season. December and January are the best time to lock in low rates. And most discounts go away come March.
TurboTax’s navigation is second to none. When you first get started, TurboTax asks you a few simple questions about what sections may apply to you. Then, it gives you a list of forms to prepare. If you’re someone who struggles with organization, this list is a valuable resource to get started.Once you’re in TurboTax, you can opt for guided navigation, or you can turn it off, and walk yourself through. TurboTax does a great job simplifying jargon and walking users through complicated topics. If you’re looking for simple navigation that makes sense for humans, TurboTax has what you need.
I was also impressed that the search option gave detailed instructions on how to input certain information. In fact, in many cases, TurboTax offered direct links to the part of the software that I needed to use.
With easy navigation, built in explainers, easy imports for many documents, and a great user interface, TurboTax impressed us again with its ease of use.TurboTax makes it easy to find what you need and move on. The built-in calculators are impressive. Unlike many tax software programs, TurboTax typically “auto completes” different sections based on certain assumptions about you. However, users always have the option to override calculations.If you’re a previous TurboTax user, you’ll notice how amazing this is! They save all your previous information and make tax filing so quick for repeat users.
Self-employed people or landlords who use QuickBooks to run their business will appreciate the ease with which they can import income and expenses for their business.
TurboTax has a great library of knowledge articles, but the best part of TurboTax is that you may not need any of them. The software includes lots of pithy explainers throughout. On top of that, each section has “Learn More” links, so you can easily learn what you need. The quality of TurboTax’s knowledge articles is excellent.If you’re needing additional help with your return, you can get the “Live Help” and get answers from a CPA. This adds $40 to $170 to your return price depending on your tax return level.
In addition to offering the base software package, TurboTax offers “Live” which includes help from a CPA or an enrolled agent. I don’t recommend upgrading to “Live” unless you actually have questions at the end of the process. The additional $60 price tag seems steep when you may not use the service.TurboTax also offers a “Max” Defend and Restore option for $60. This covers audit assistance and help in the event that your identity is stolen through the tax process. An identity theft resolution specialist will walk you through any potential problems until your identity is restored.The $60 price tag is steep but it could be a valuable insurance policy. The only Audit protection includes representation by an expert if the IRS audits you.
TurboTax makes it easy for crypto traders to file taxes when you buy or sell crypto currencies. The software allows you to import crypto trading transactions directly into the software, and it does the financial calculations for you.You will need to pay for the Premier level or higher to access the crypto section of the tax filing software.
With the rise of hacking and other issues, security is huge! We see many people who are scared to use TurboTax online and prefer using a disk and installing their tax software on their computer. However, studies show you are actually more at risk doing that then using TurboTax online.The simple risk of viruses, hard drive failure, or phishing on your own computer is much higher than TurboTax online.Plus, TurboTax allows for multi-factor authentication, but it is possible to bypass the second factor authentication when you’re using a computer from a recognized place. Be sure not to bypass the second factor (usually a text message) unless you’re working from a trusted location (usually your home).
Free users and self-employed people who will use QuikBooks, should definitely use TurboTax to file taxes in 2020. The ease of use, navigability and value are still the top of the pack. Personally, I have a harder time seeing TurboTax’s value for users who will opt for the Deluxe or Premier options. You may qualify for H&R Block’s free tier, or you can find a better value elsewhere (consider TaxSlayer, FreeTaxUSA or H&R Block instead).