How to Prepare and File Taxes
After singing up for an account, you will choose whether to signup for online or PC based software. You will quickly find out why it is considered one of the best online tax filing programs. TurboTax conducts a tax interview much like a live interview with a tax professional. It asks questions in plain English and also explains in detail the reasons behind figures on your return. The interface is easy to use, isn’t cluttered and the interview format makes the process quick and virtually painless.
Refunds and Deductions
TurboTax offers support for every type of deduction in the tax code. When you get to the deductions and credits section, the interview will ask you questions about your lifestyle and guide you through entering deductions. It may even suggest deductions you didn’t know about or have forgotten.
TurboTax estimates that more than 9 out of 10 returns will be issued in 21 days or less, so you won’t have to wait long for your refund. When requesting a refund, you can use one of four options.
The most common is direct deposit to your checking or savings account. Some still prefer the old school method of a check in the mail. You can also have your funds deposited onto a NetSpend Premier Visa Prepaid Card.
One other unique option that TurboTax offers for refunds is U.S. Savings Bonds. You can purchase up to $5,000 in Series I Savings Bonds. These bonds earn interest for up to 30 years. After you request your bonds, they will be mailed to your home.
If you upgrade to Deluxe or higher, you get access to ItsDeductible, a mobile app that can help determine the real world value of donated items.
For self-employed individuals, TurboTax Self-Employed has an expense-tracking feature that will scan all of your linked financial accounts to find possible business expenses.
Both of these features are only available with TurboTax.
TurboTax has both a PC and online version of their software. Due to the speed and cross-compatibility of web software, most prefer to file their taxes through their web browser. You can do your taxes from you computer, table or even your smartphone.
If you prefer not to be tethered to a website, you can choose to download the TurboTax software to your computer. Note that the pricing structure for PC software is a bit different but the functionality is the same.
TurboTax has a wide variety of options available for filing taxes. Outside of their free service, TurboTax is one of the most expensive online tax preparation services out there.
How much you pay will depend on your status and what method you use to file. Online filing is their most popular option and you can file for free if you’re using 1040EZ or 1040A.
TurboTax Deluxe covers most standard filers, including those looking to itemize deductions. It is $59.99. Self-employed individuals are going to really pay up for TurboTax Self-Employed. It is $114.99.
Note that this is only for federal. State filings are an additional $39.99.
If you need a PC download, you have four options. TurboTax Basic is $39.99. Deluxe is $69.99. The PC version splits support for investment and rental properties and puts in Deluxe for $99.99. TurboTax Home & Business for small business owners and self-employed individuals is $109.99.
The PC programs come with a state download but you will pay an additional $29.99 to E-file your state taxes.
If you’re active military, you can file free federal and state taxes using the free or Deluxe editions.
TurboTax offers fantastic support for all users. Free users are limited to self-help tools on the website, but TurboTax’s knowledge base is great and includes video tutorials and an online community with a wealth of knowledge.
For paid users, you get access to SmartLook. With SmartLook, a licensed tax expert of CPA can remotely view and access your tax return and give you assistance with your return.
If you need further assistance, TurboTax offers two paid programs to help. With Expert Review, a tax expert will review your return after you complete it. You can also opt for Expert Full Service where a TurboTax CPA or EA actually prepares your taxes for you.
Expert Review is $149.99 for federal and $39.99 for state while Expert Full Service is $279.99 but includes both federal and 1 state filing.
You get what you pay for. TurboTax is definitely pricier than other options but they also offer features you don’t get elsewhere. Spending a few extra dollars on your return may result in a larger refund, or at least a more enjoyable filing experience.