TurboTax Reviews 2017 (Online, Personal, and Business Tax Filing)
TurboTax is one of the premier products for individuals, businesses, and other organizations who want a simple, effective way to do their taxes while improving their ability to uncover the best deductions for their needs and also reducing their risk of an audit.
The TurboTax questions are what easily and seamlessly guide you through the experience of preparing your return. You answer very simple, straightforward questions, and then TurboTax online tools will do the math for you.
One of the distinctive features of this tax filing online solution that people really enjoy is that calculations are 100% accurate, which is guaranteed. It’s also a program that’s always up-to-date with the latest tax laws as well as health care regulations.
For example, TurboTax 2016 includes pertinent questions and information to help you tackle issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act to avoid confusion, particularly regarding potential new regulations that may be unclear or evolving.
TurboTax products have been in existence for more than 25 years, and it’s continuously ranked as one of the best-selling tax software products in the country.
Some of the general features of TurboTax include:
- Auto-importing of tax information made fast and easy. You can import your W-2 tax form directly into your TurboTax online return from more than a million employers and financial institutions. This ensures information is accurate and filled out completely. Information is also securely saved as you go, so you can stop and revisit your return at any time.
Continue reading this review to understand more about the features and product offerings as well as more information about issues such as how to buy TurboTax and the TurboTax price.
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When using TurboTax to prepare your federal or state taxes, one of the biggest advantages is that you never have to worry about human uncertainty due to you or a tax specialist not being aware of new laws or changes that could impact you.
In 2016, some of the changes made to TurboTax have included the creation of the TurboTax app, which features expert advice and customer support; the utmost in security; and the ability to take a photo of your W-2 with your phone and import all of your information.
The Affordable Care Act is extensively covered within TurboTax, so, regardless of your health insurance situation, your information will be entered in the correct way. If you don’t have insurance, TurboTax will see if you qualify to have the penalty waived and will handle the application process, which can save users hundreds of dollars.
With TurboTax Benefit Assist, you can keep more of your money, as the program will automatically check if you qualify for official government benefits. Your information is then imported directly from your tax return to online applications.
The online product offerings available from TurboTax include a TurboTax online free version called the “Federal Free Edition.” This basic tax preparation product allows you to prepare and file simple tax returns, which include the 1040EZ and the 1040A.
Features include easy preparation, printing, and e-filing with 100% accurate calculations. You can also automatically import your W-2 tax forms using this option.
The most popular online product is Deluxe. TurboTax Deluxe differs from the free TurboTax version in quite a few ways and is ideal if you want to maximize your deductions. Along with doing everything the free online version does, Deluxe includes features like searching through more than 350 deductions and credits, maximizing mortgage and property tax deductions, coverage of freelance and independent contractor income, and analytics and advice to help you maximize your refund for the next year.
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TurboTax Premier is ideal for those filers with investments and rental properties, and, in addition to the offerings available with Deluxe, this option also features the ability to cover stocks, bonds, ESPPs, and other investment income. TurboTax Premier automatically imports investment income, including cost basis, and integrates income from rental properties and tax deductions.
TurboTax Home and Business is one of the most comprehensive TurboTax products, with additional aspects of filing, including self-employment and small business income and expense reporting. TurboTax Home and Business is also designed to maximize business tax deductions and asset depreciation.
One of the most well-known versions of this tax preparation solution is the TurboTax Federal Free Edition, also called AbsoluteZero. It’s designed to assist with the simple filing of 1040EZ/A tax returns.
TurboTax reviews rank this product highly, citing the ease of use as the number one benefit.
In-depth features of this TurboTax free solution include:
- Questions, which are tailored to you, are used to effectively guide you through the process so that you can find all applicable tax breaks
- The ability to snap a picture of your W-2 to automatically populate information fields, or you can directly import it
- TurboTax free options, including live on-screen help from experts with just a click
- Thousands of error checks, creating the highest possible level of accuracy
- Always staying up to date
If you’re searching for a solution aimed at TurboTax for Business, the option you’ll likely select is TurboTax Home and Business.
This product is tailored to the needs of small business owners, as well as sole proprietors, and the TurboTax price includes free federal e-filing.
- Small business deductions pertaining to supplies, home offices, and more
- Vehicle tax deduction options
- Employee W-2 and 1099 forms
- Simplified expense categories and tax-deduction suggestions
- Easy asset depreciation methodology
TurboTax reviews of this particular product say some of the perks and benefits include its ease of use, the helpful tips, and the comprehensive guides that give you a better understanding of your taxes. Errors are corrected before submission, which can be valuable if you’re prone to typos as well as making other types of mistakes.
TurboTax Business for Corporations
In addition to TurboTax small business solutions, the company also offers options for larger enterprises, including S Corp, C Corp, and partnerships as well as estates, trusts, and multi-member LLCs.
Using this particular TurboTax business solution, you’ll maximize your industry-specific tax reductions, have access to guidance and support, and have the comprehensive tools you need to cover reporting income and expenses.
Many of the available TurboTax review highlights include how easy it is to use as well as how helpful the up-to-date rules and forms are. Additionally, many reviews cite the advantages of the on-screen prompts and the thorough proofing process as reasons they enjoy using this product for their business taxes.
In addition to federal filing products, the company also offers TurboTax state tax filing options. Once you finish your federal tax return, your information is automatically transferred, and you’re given the option to complete your state taxes using TurboTax.
You may be required to answer a few additional questions depending on your state of residence, but that’s it, and then you’ll be able to seamlessly complete both your federal and state filings.
TurboTax Online State includes:
- Free e-filing
- Automatic transfers of your federal information
- The guaranteed largest possible state refund
- Guaranteed accurate calculations
- Tax guidance on-demand
- A refund monitor
Perhaps one of the reasons TurboTax remains such a widely-used product is because of its signature guarantees, which include:
- The Maximum Refund Guarantee: If you get a larger refund or a lesser tax amount using another preparation method, TurboTax will refund the applicable TurboTax cost that you paid for the product. If you’re an online Federal Free Edition customer, you’ll receive a payment of $14.00 and a refund of your state purchase price made.
TurboTax offers mobile apps which let you seamlessly move between your phone, tablet or computer.
TaxCaster lets you enter basic information and quickly estimate your tax return while the MyTaxRefund app is designed to track your e-file status and let you know exactly when you can expect your refund to arrive. You can follow any e-filed return using this app, even if it wasn’t filed using TurboTax.
It’s Deductible is an app that lets you track and manage your charitable deductions from anywhere.
The TurboTax Cost and Where to Buy TurboTax Software
If you want to purchase TurboTax 2016, you have quite a few options. You can utilize the online products, which offer complete updates and robust functionalities, or you can file your taxes directly on your browser. It requires no other purchases beyond the cost of the product itself, and all you have to do is login to the site to do your taxes.
The TurboTax cost for online products varies depending on the product you choose. The cost ranges from $0 for the Federal Free Edition up to $79.99 for the Home and Business version.
In addition to online products, all of the same options are offered in a CD/download option, with prices ranging from $29.99 for the basic product up to $99.99 for the Home and Business CD/Download version.
Both online and CD/download products can be purchased directly from the TurboTax website, and many large-scale retailers also offer the downloadable and CD versions of the product.
It was our goal to provide you with enough information about the products and solutions available from TurboTax to determine whether or not the product is right for you.
According to TurboTax reviews from real customers, this is a product that’s flexible and scalable to almost any tax preparation and filing need, from individuals and contractors to larger business enterprises.
The extensive number of options, the range of pricing, and the customized solutions offered by TurboTax make it a valuable product for almost any set of needs.
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TurboTax 2015 Review: Simplifying A Complex Tax Filing Process
T he tax filing deadline is almost upon us, and as I am wont to do I've once again waited until the last minute to file my taxes.
As I've done for the past few years I filed my taxes using my favorite tax software, TurboTax.
TurboTax has gone through quite the metamorphosis over the years, and while their interface has changed, one thing that hasn't is how easy it is to file using their product.
Today I thought I'd do a brief walk-through of the TurboTax 2015 software, and talk about why I think it's one of the best and easiest products available for doing your taxes.
TurboTax has several levels of service offerings, and depending on your tax situation you may be able to file your federal taxes for free, all the way up to using TurboTax Home & Business if you have a more complex situation with Schedule C income, small business profits or losses, etc.
Here's a quick breakdown of the product offerings and how much they will cost.
- TurboTax Free Edition: If you have a simple tax situation without a lot of investment income, tax deductions and other miscellaneous tax situations, you may be able to file your federal taxes for free. State filing is extra, and at the time of writing was $29.99 per state.
- TurboTax Deluxe: The most popular version, if you own a home, have charitable deductions or itemized medial expenses, this version may be for you. Federal filing costs $54.99, while adding state filing will cost $39.99 per state.
- TurboTax Premier: If you sold stocks, bonds or mutual funds, have cost basis calculations to make or have rental property income and expenses this version might be the one to use. It costs $79.99 for federal filing, while each state filing is $39.99 additional.
- TurboTax Home & Business: If you have a more complicated situation that includes Schedule C income, profit or loss from a small business, or if you have small business asset depreciation to calculate, Home & Business might be right for you. The cost is $104.99 for federal filing plus $39.99 additional for each state filing.
Most people that work at one job, and that have a simple tax situation with few hiccups will likely be fine filing with either the Free Edition or the Deluxe version of the software. If you have income from a small business like I do, however, you may need to use the upgraded version. Since I have small business income I end up having to use TurboTax Home & Business.
Filing your taxes with TurboTax is extremely easy, and one of the reasons I keep going back to their software despite it not being the cheapest is the ease with which I'm able to take my somewhat complicated situation and make it a bit more simple.
They not only take your hand and walk you through the process, but they also have a helpful “ask a question” box at the top of every page where you can ask questions and quickly receive answers that are relevant to the page you're on. Not sure if you're eligible for a deduction? Ask and you'll find an answer!
Entering Personal Information
When you login to the software for the first time it will take you by the hand and start walking you through the process of entering all of the information they need in order to file your taxes.
If you've filed your taxes online before with TurboTax, you likely will be able to transfer your information from your previous year's tax filing and skip right over entering all your personal details like names, social security numbers, dependents, etc. For me, I've been using TurboTax since 2008, so I was just able to transfer all of that information over, check it for accuracy and move on to the next step. Quick and easy!
Entering Business Income & Expenses
Since I was using the Home & Business version the steps I took may be a bit different from the other versions because I also had to enter information about my side business including business income and expenses. TurboTax made the process easy, however, walking me through each section, explaining which forms I would need at what point, and allowing me to flag any items that I would need to come back to at a later time.
I actually started my taxes way back in January, but at the time I still hadn't received all of my tax forms yet from companies I work with, so I flagged the items I was missing and put it on hold until I had all the required paperwork. Then I was able to go back to those flagged items later on and complete them before filing.
When entering income, expenses, deductions and so on TurboTax will often give you a snapshot view to compare the current year to last year. That way you can compare and make sure that things are in line with last year's totals, and help you make sure you haven't forgotten to enter anything. On one of these screens this year I realized that I had forgotten to enter some deductions that I was eligible for, and was then able to enter it.
Entering Personal Income, Deductions & Credits
After entering all of your business income (if you have it in your version), you'll be asked to provide all of your personal tax information. It will ask for your income first, where you'll enter any W-2 forms you have (and they can import them for you in some cases so you don't have to enter them), along with various other income reporting forms that you've received.
After entering your income it will walk you through figuring out which tax credits and deductions that you're eligible for. This will include things like mortgage interest deductions, property tax deductions, child tax credits, earned income tax credits and more. The software will ask you a wide range of questions to figure out which deductions and credits you're eligible for.
TurboTax Error Check And Review
Once you've entered all of your pertinent information the software will do a review of what you entered, and check for errors. If it finds things that need to be updated or fixed (like if you left a field blank where there should have been data entered) it will let you know.
For example, on one investment income section I accidentally left one of the fields empty. I was then able to go back and update it before completing my taxes.
Once everything checks out your final numbers and a review of your taxes will come up before you file.
The software will give you a year-over-year comparison of your tax situation, how many credits and deductions you've qualified for, what your taxable income was and a breakdown of your tax situation.
Once you're satisfied that everything looks correct you're able to file your federal tax return.
Once your filing for federal taxes is complete, you'll need to complete a second process for filing your state taxes. For me that meant filing for one state, Minnesota.
Most of your state filing information will be transferred over from your federal forms, but you'll also need to answer some state specific questions in order to file. For me this part of the process only took an additional 10-15 minutes.
If you want to e-file your state returns as well, as mentioned above there is the state filing fee. For most products it costs $39.99.
Once you are satisfied that your returns are complete and accurate, you can file them. At this point you'll need to pay the fees associated with using the software (up until this point it is all free to enter your information and play around with the software if you want).
After entering your credit card information (or asking the software to deduct the fees from your refund) it will charge you for using the software and then allow you to e-file.
Once you've e-filed your returns it will give you an email confirmation that they've been filed, and a message that once the federal and state returns are accepted that you'll get an email notification.
When I got a .pdf copy of my tax return, on the last pages it showed me a review of my tax situation for the past few years. In checking my records it does appear that I've been using TurboTax for over 6 years now! Here are some of the reasons why I've been using it for so long.
- Easy to use and file: The product couldn't be easier to use and makes a complex tax filing process and simplifies it for the average user.
- Easy document importing: You can easily import your W-2 or investment company statements from over 150 financial institutions. I was able to import from most of my brokerage and retirement accounts to make it a lot less manual data entry.
- Great support: The help and FAQ sections are top notch, and if you need extra help you can get on the chat or make a phone call. I did both this year and they were very helpful.
- Audit support: If you want extra assurance you can purchase audit support, and TurboTax will represent you if you're audited.
- Simplified health care reporting: With new Obamacare requirements, all required ACA health care reporting forms are included for free. TurboTax also has a new health care portal so you can figure out if you meet ACA requirements.
While I do like using the software, there are some downsides that need to be acknowledged.
- Cost: TurboTax is not the cheapest option available to file your taxes. There are other options out there that are more cost-conscious.
If you haven't yet started filing your taxes, now would be a good time to start!
If you want to give TurboTax a try, it's free to use the software right up until the point where you file. So if you want to try it out before paying and compare it to another software, you can do that.
To get started just click on the link below and it will take you to the screen where you start the process.