TurboTax Review: Simplifying Your Tax Filing

TurboTax Review Simplifying Your Tax Filing, June 2021

Try and find me someone who actually enjoys doing their taxes. I would bet money that the lineup of people would either be completely empty or have one or two people at most.

The reality of the situation is that filing taxes is annoying and tedious. There are plenty of things to worry about and if you file your taxes wrong, you might find yourself in some legal problems.

For that reason, many people opt to simply hire an accountant to do their taxes for them. What is the problem with that?

Accountants can be rather expensive to hire and at the end of the day, that tax refund you’d get is not nearly as large after you pay them for their services.

Wouldn’t you feel better knowing you are getting more money back because you decided to take tax filing into your own hands?

Today, we are going to be talking about TurboTax, how easy it is to use, and how you can make hiring accountants a thing of the past. TurboTax is a great piece of tax filing software that will give you a whole new understanding of how tax season works. Gone are the days of being scared of your tax returns.

What is TurboTax

As we mentioned above, TurboTax Intuit is a program that is specifically designed to help people file taxes.

We are going to let you guys in on a little secret as well. A lot of the accountants that you hire end up turning towards TurboTax to help complete your return.

Why not cut that middle man out entirely and get your own copy of TurboTax so you can handle your own taxes.

The first thing we want to talk about with TurboTax is the available versions. 

There are five major versions of TurboTax to decide from. Keep in mind, with TurboTax, that you will have to pay for a federal; and a state version with TurboTax.

This can drive the price of the software up, especially if you plan on completing both tax returns with TurboTax.

TurboTax Free

  • Federal - $0
  • State - $0

The free version of TurboTax is great if you plan on sticking to simple tax returns. With TurboTax Free, you can file a 1040 and a state return, but you won’t have certain features when it comes to itemizing the 1040.

When using TurboTax Free, we found that it works best for people who don’t claim any extra deductions or credits outside of the normal deductions, earned income tax, or child tax credit.

While we do wish it had a little more features built into it, we can’t argue with a free piece of software. We find that TurboTax Free is great for those who are just starting to get into taxes and don’t have a complicated return.

TurboTax Live Basic

  • Federal - $80
  • State - $45

TurboTax Live Basic doesn’t really come with anything different from TurboTax Free, but it comes with some on-demand videos that can help with your taxes. Think of it as TurboTax Free but with some extra videos and information for you to access whenever you want.

You also get access to advice and a final review on your tax filing as well. Just like TurboTax Free, this is a great piece of software for beginners and those who don’t have complicated tax returns. The videos can also help ensure that everything is done without an issue.

TurboTax Deluxe

  • Federal - $60 ($120 with TurboTax Live)
  • State - $50 ($55 with TurboTax Live)

If you are someone who has been wanting to itemize and claim other tax deductions and credits, TurboTax Deluxe is going to be the software to help you out.

Along with fully unlocking your deductions and credits, you can also take care of business income provided you don’t have any business expenses. It provides more versatility to the program, however, it does come at a heftier price.

TurboTax Premier

  • Federal - $90 ($170 with TurboTax Live)
  • State - $50 ($55 with TurboTax Live)

If you take a look at the price of TurboTax Premier, you’ll see that the state version is the exact same price as TurboTax Deluxe. At that point, it’s a no-brainer to upgrade to the higher-end piece of software.

TurboTax Premier is essentially the same thing as the deluxe version, however, it has added features to allow you to report investments and income from rentals.

If you are someone who invests or gets rental income, TurboTax Premier is going to be the program you are going to want to grab.

TurboTax Self Employed

  • Federal - $120 ($200 with TurboTax Live)
  • State - $50 ($55 with TurboTax)

If you are looking to file your own federal taxes with your business, you are going to be able to do that with TurboTax Self Employed.

You are going to have access to tools that will help to handle business income and expenses. Whether you are an actual company or a freelancer who is contracted for work, you are going to be able to fill out your tax returns with TurboTax Self Employed.

What Does TurboTax Have To Offer?

All those versions are great and all, but you still might not have a good idea of how TurboTax can make tax filing that much easier for you. We are now going to cover some of the best features that we have found in TurboTax Intuit to help give you a better idea of what to expect.

Using The Software

Upon launching and using the software, you’ll find TurboTax asking you a series of questions to help determine what your tax return should look like. You’re taken through a step-by-step process that is user-friendly and easy to navigate around.

If you still are confused, you’ll have many different links embedded that you can use to get advice, tips, or knowledge to help understand what is happening.

We really liked that with TurboTax as it helps you understand if you want to know what is going on.

Auto-Importing

One of the most annoying things with taxes is importing all of your tax documents to the software. With TurboTax, you don’t have to worry about that at all.

If your employer is partnered with TurboTax, you can have your W-2 uploaded automatically to the software. If not, all you need to do is take a photo and upload it.

All of the data will then be transferred over to your return. There are multiple different tax forms that you can upload via a photo on TurboTax and we recommend it as it is going to make your life that much easier.

Multiple Device Use

TurboTax has expanded to allow you to work on your taxes wherever you are. Whether you are at home on your computer, on a tablet, or on your phone, you can use the app or website to help complete your return.

While we prefer doing our tax returns on a computer, we have to say that it is convenient to be able to quickly access our taxes via the mobile app.

Donations

Donating money is extremely easy to track and list as an expense on your returns. Donating clothes and other household items on the other hand might be a little tricky to track.

TurboTax Deluxe and the subsequent versions above all come with ItsDeductible. This is a feature that can quickly help you find the deduction value of everything that you are donating.

Import Other Tax Returns

If you have gotten a tax return from another provider, you can easily have it imported electronically into TurboTax. They make it incredibly easy to switch everything over to their software. This ease of use is one of the major reasons why we love using TurboTax for our taxes.

Customer Care

Now that we’ve covered some of the important features that you can find within TurboTax, it’s now time to talk about how to better understand the software and get the help that you need.

We touched on it earlier, but we are going to say again, TurboTax comes with a ton of general guidelines to help get you the information that you need.

There is a knowledge base that you can search through, along with countless video tutorials and forums for you to post in. 

This general guidance is amazing for beginners and will help you get the hang of things rather quickly. In regards to tech support, if you are using TurboTax you will only have access to the TurboTax Assistant, a chatbot, or a contact form.

While these are decent options, we don’t like the fact that you can’t speak to a specialist live. If you want that kind of support, you are going to have to get one of the paid versions of TurboTax.

The final thing we want to mention is the final review and advice that we mentioned that comes with TurboTax Live. These are live videos where you are going to be speaking to a specialist.

These only come with the TurboTax Live version so if you want to have someone look over your taxes and provide advice, you are going to have to spend a little bit more money.

Final Thoughts

Filing your own taxes can be intimidating, but TurboTax works to make it easy for you, no matter who you are.

While we do wish the prices were a little lower for paid versions, we can’t complain about what we are getting. The questions that the software asks and the ability to upload your tax forms make it a great time saver as well.

We do understand that filing taxes is not for everyone, especially because it takes a bit of time. If you do have the time to spare, however, we recommend spending the money on TurboTax or using the free version.

You are going to be paying less than if you were to hire an accountant and you are also learning a useful skill. We greatly recommend TurboTax for all of your tax filing needs.

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