TurboTax is a tax preparation software package developed by Chipsoft which was acquired in 1993 by Inuit. It is available for online use. It can also be downloaded or bought in CD format and installed in Windows or Mac desktop or laptop computers. TurboTax now also has its own mobile apps for smartphones and tablets for both iOS and Android platforms. TurboTax prices vary depending on the complexity of the tax filer’s return.
Below are the latest Turbotax prices:
Federal Free Edition
|Simple tax returns (1040EZ/1040A)||$0.00|
|Maximize your tax deductions||$34.99|
|Investments and rental property||$54.99|
Home & Business
|Self-employed and small business owners||$79.99|
Products and Services
TurboTax CD or downloadable products and services for PCs computers come in four categories – Basic, Deluxe, Premier and Home & Business. Its online software facility come in five – Free, Student, Standard, Premier and Home & Business. For each category, there is a step-by-step instruction on how to use the software. There are also optional features that can be bought and bundled in with your package to fit your particular needs. Online tax returns are encrypted and stored on the TurboTax servers while desktop returns are stored locally on your computer.
TurboTax products are segmented based on the complexity of the tax filer’s return. For instance, TurboTax Deluxe includes everything in the TurboTax Free or Basic Editions like the free federal eFiling, but additionally it also helps homeowners, investors, charity donors and those with significant educational or medical expenses maximize their deductions, offers real-time help and searches for all possible deductions, and flags potential audit triggers to be avoided.
A TurboTax Premier includes everything in the Deluxe and Basic editions, but it additionally provides assistance to those who have investment income and expenses, including those accruing from the sale of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and real estate, those with rental property income and expenses. The top-of-the-line Home & Business product includes everything in the Premier and other editions, but it also offers features that are useful for those with self-employment income and expenses, including businesses on the side and home-based businesses.
As between the PC and the online products, the latter is more convenient for those who may want to prepare and file their returns online. They can start and resume from any computer with Internet access. On the other hand, a desktop application may be suitable for a household or a family since one CD or downloaded package can be used by up to five tax filers as per software license. The TurboTax cost for the software can thus be better maximized with a PC installed application. In contrast, the price for the use of the online version covers one individual only.
The company has in place several plans for multiple TurboTax fee and price points. If the Free or Basic version is no longer suitable for a customer’s needs, he or she can at any time easily upgrade to a paid plan. The information already entered in the software need not be re-entered. The TurboTax price schedule is shown below [to be supplied by client].
Pros and Cons
According to most tech review sites, the TurboTax software has the best user interface among all tax preparation applications. Extremely intuitive, and with simple, straightforward guide questions, it can be used by just about anyone in going through every step of the United States’ very complicated tax filing process. On the downside, even with its freemium policy, it has a pricing structure that is designed to get increasingly more expensive as you add more forms or ask for more support. Its Free edition, while allowing for free federal 1040 filing and free state filing, does not support itemized deductions. Neither does it let you import data from your tax returns and forms from previous years, which you have to re-type manually unless you agree to pay for an upgrade. For the Free edition, you will also not be able to avail of live chat or phone support unlike H&R Block and many of its other competitors.