With the advancement in technology, industries have also developed and changed. Whether it is office work to house chores, everything has been revolutionized.
Where automation has replaced manual working, automatic machines have made life easier for homemakers. Similarly, different service industries have also changed themselves with advancing technology.
E-filing or self-filing for tax returns is also an initiative taken by the IRS that made it easier for tax filers to file their returns.
Without the need to visit an accountant or tax consultant, individuals or students can file their returns with e-filing. However, many individuals or businesses have certain circumstances requiring consultant or expert advice.
What to do in that case?
That’s where QuickBooks found the gap and launched their TurboTax solution for tax filers. Whether you are an individual, doing a business, self-employed, or a registered company, you can do your taxes with TurboTax.
Even you get the help of experts and tax consultants to guide you on every step of tax return filing.
But is it actually worth it to file your tax return with TurboTax? In this article, we will talk about a user’s review of filing tax returns with TurboTax, its pros & cons, and other features of the tax filing tool.
So let’s get into it.
What Is TurboTax?
Turbotax is a product of Intuit to facilitate the taxpayers, CPAs, and businesses by giving a convenient method of filing returns backed by final expert review. Intuit is not only behind Turbotax but much other software like Mailchimp, Mint, Quickbooks, etc., are also on its credit.
Turbotax has been there for decades and is as old as the mid-1980s. In 2022, the software has earned the repute of top software for tax returns.
Clean interface, ease of use, interview method for tax deductions, and several products available within the suite are what make Turbotax unique.
You can answer different questions to make the right choices about tax deductions and get an expert review of the finalized return.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Turbotax has become a market leader as compared to other tax software like H & R Block, Cash App Taxes, etc.
The software has paid and free versions for the customers that they can choose from according to their requirements. Turbotax’s mobile app is also available, making it an even more convenient method for return filing.
Services Offered By TurboTax
All of the services offered by TurboTax are for tax filers having different circumstances. They offer separate services with catered solutions to facilitate all types of tax filers.
They have segregated the services into self-filing and filing with the help of experts.
Here is a brief description of all services.
File Your Own Taxes
You can file your taxes by following the simple steps on the TurboTax website. When filing by yourself, you have the option to rely on TurboTax online or go for the TurboTax PC version to download on your laptop and proceed with tax filing.
With Do-It-By-Yourself solutions, the following packages are offered to tax filers:
The free version is the one where you don’t have to pay a cent for filing your Federal or State tax returns.
The tax filing solution is generally feasible for students who file a return but do not have to pay a tax. All you need is a photo of your Form W-2, and you can get started with free tax filing using TurboTax.
Deluxe is for you if you don’t want to pay a subscription for a whole year when you are filing a tax return once a year.
With a detailed instructional guide and information about different tax credits and tax deductions you can claim, Deluxe lets you file your returns by claiming maximum credits.
And yet another thing about Deluxe is that you don’t have to pay any upfront fee; you only pay the fee when you are filing a state or federal tax return.
The cost of a Deluxe suite starts from $59.
If you are into the stock, real estate, or rentals industry, your tax filing needs are slightly different from others. You must have the right guide for filing your tax return to report income earned through investment sources.
TurboTax has a solution: the Premier plan.
The premier package of TurboTax is for those who want to file their Federal and State returns under mentioned circumstances.
Whether you want to file for stock investment or bond investment, you can do it with TurboTax Premier. All credits, deductions, and important things related to income from investments are available with your Premier subscription, which starts from $89 for every tax return.
Last but not least, self-employed individuals like small business owners, freelancers, professionals, independent contractors, etc., can also capitalize on self-filing with TurboTax.
A self-employed solution is a bit costly as the company provides you with industry-specific deductions to cater needs of all self-employed people irrespective of working field.
The charges for filing a Federal tax return with TurboTax as a self-employed person or business start from $119. An additional fee is charged for filing state returns.
File With Expert Help
TurboTax Live is a mode of tax filing for individuals or businesses who want the help of experts to prepare, sign, and file tax returns.
Of course, there is an additional fee for TurboTax Live, but the experience is indeed better. You don’t have to wander here and there to find the right information. Following are the packages/plans for those who choose TurboTax Live:
- Basic –Simple tax return filing starting from $79 for the Federal Tax Return and an additional fee for State returns.
- Deluxe –Get help from experts to file returns and claim maximum credits and deductions starting from $119 for the Federal Tax Return and an additional fee for State returns.
- Premier – Get help from experts to file returns for investments and rental properties starting from $169 for the Federal Tax Return and an additional fee for State returns
- Self-Employed –File your tax returns as a self-employed individual or business starting from $199 for the Federal Tax Return and an additional fee for State returns.
User Review Of Filing Taxes With TurboTax
We are going to share with you a user’s review of filing taxes with TurboTax in 3 simple steps. The example relates to the free version of TurboTax return filing. So let’s get into it.
Step 1: Since it’s a simple tax return, you will need your Form W-2 to complete the online tax return. Besides, also get your 1099 Forms or other supporting records you might need to claim any credit or deductions.
Step 2: The next step is to use the TurboTax mobile app or online portal to get started. The screen will show different questions related to the varying circumstances of taxpayers. You have to check all that are true for your circumstances and proceed.
The questions can be related to your job, house ownership, marital status, children, student loans, charity & donations, employment status, etc.
Step 3: Upload the supporting documents like Form W-2, 1099, etc., and file your return. Wait for your refund to be deposited into your account. That’s it.
Here are some of the advantages that make it worth using TurboTax for filing your tax returns:
- A great and overwhelming experience overall with plenty of options. You can opt to file your tax returns on your own or get expert help.
- Data encryption protocols used by the solution provider are up to the mark to keep all of your information secure and private.
- Many users report that it is easy to file a return with TurboTax. Specifically, TurboTax Live is often seen as a resourceful way to do your taxes.
- You can get prompt service and additional support regarding your complicated tax issue, Audit Defense, etc.
- Freedom to use software, online version, or mobile app
There are some downsides of using TurboTax as well that we have listed below:
- It is not the best tool you will get when it comes to cost-effectiveness. The cost of filing your return is very high unless you are eligible to file your taxes for free.
- The solution can be overwhelming when you are filing on your own due to the ambiguity of the information provided.
- You won’t get the human touch in your returns with a file-by-yourself plan of TurboTax, and the cost to get experts on your side is quite high.
Expert Opinion: Should You Use TurboTax?
If you don’t have complex tax circumstances, you are not going to have any problem filing your tax return on your own.
You can also check if you are eligible for free tax return filing. However, we generally recommend getting experts’ assessments for other tax circumstances.
And if you can afford to get the help of experts on TurboTax Live, it will be a great deal to have.
7 Best Alternatives to TurboTax
As much as you like TurboTax for its easy-to-use software, it can sometimes be a costly option for individual filers. Customer support for free and basic plans is also limited.
Let us explore our seven best alternatives to TurboTax.
If you are looking for a comprehensive tax service provider at a cheaper cost than TurboTax, H&R block is your best bet.
It covers a wide range of taxpayers’ options at cheaper rates than its customers. You can file taxes by using the software or through a tax advisor.
Many of its tax services, like filing for an extension, reviewing the previous year’s taxes, IRS tax audit notice, review, and ex-pat tax filing, come at cheaper or no costs.
H&R tax plans start at $29.95. Other Plans cost $54.95, $74.95, and $84.95, respectively, for Deluxe, Premium, and Businesses tax plans, including state taxes.
Use H&R Block if you want:
- Multiple tax filing options
- Several pricing plans for flexibility
- Easy tax filing experience
- Cheaper pricing than TurboTax
Cons of using H&R:
- Ad-Ons for different plans
- High costs for state return only
- Additional cost for premium support
Jackson Hewitt offers tax preparation services throughout the US with its brick-and-mortar offices. It is also a household name with online tax preparation.
This online tax preparation service comes with three different plans. Its basic plan also offers unlimited state tax return filings at only $25.
State filing costs $25 only for all plans at Jackson Hewitt. Its federal price plans cost $25, $69, $179, and $249 for basic online, Pro from Home, Deluxe Tax Pro from home, and Premium tax pro from home plans.
Pros of using Jackson Hewitt include:
- Live support with an option to talk to a tax professional.
- Multiple state filings at a flat $25 rate.
- In-Person customer support as well as online support.
- Option to file electronically or through tax preparers at offices.
Cons of Jackson Hewitt include:
- The basic plan comes with limited customer support.
- Finance advances are available at offices only.
- You’ll need to upgrade to pricier plans to use more tax preparation features and get premium support.
TaxSlayer is a relatively smaller and younger tax software than the market leaders mentioned above. However, it offers a comprehensive list of tax services at cheaper costs.
If you are a single tax filer or a self-employed person, TaxSlayer may be the best option for you. It offers tax calculation accuracy with a guarantee and offers a wide range of tax tools to help you.
TaxSlayer pricing plans include a free basic plan, free federal filing for military personnel, and classic, premium, and self-employed plans costing $0, $24.95, $44.95, and $54.95, respectively.
Use TaxSlayer tax software if:
- You’re a self-employed or single filer.
- You want cheaper plans.
- Comprehensive tax knowledge base as a support.
- You are looking for tax preparation accuracy.
Cons of using TaxSlayer:
- Its limited audit support.
- Limited options for certain entity types.
- Limited customers support for certain tax conditions.
TaxAct is liked by individuals and small business owners for its flexibility and easy tax calculation options. It comes with reasonable costs as compared to its competitors as well.
One of the key features of TaxAct is the online tax estimator. If you are not a beginner, you can use this online calculator to find estimated taxes and have an idea about your tax liability.
If you have different types of income streams or you are self-employed, using TaxAct will be your best option. It is also suitable for small businesses due to its lower costs.
TaxAct plans include free, Deluxe, Premium, and Self-Employed starting at $0, $47.95, $71.95, and $94.95.
Pros of TaxAct:
- Lower costs for business plans.
- Offers online business tax forms.
- Unlimited access to the previous year’s tax records.
- Famous for offering help with maximum refunds and tax savings.
Cons of TaxAct:
- Dissatisfactory audit support.
- State filing plans are expensive.
- Customer support is limited for basic plans.
If you are looking for a cheap but comprehensive tax service, e-file is your best choice. It offers one of the most budget-friendly tax plans for individuals and businesses.
It claims to offer maximum tax deductions (meaning minimum tax liability) or maximum refunds. It also offers a quick tax refund service to its users.
e-file.com offers 100% tax accuracy which in turn reduces the time to file and receive refunds.
It has three plans; Free, Deluxe, and Premium cost $0, $29, and $39, respectively.
Pros of using e-file.com include:
- Suitable for individuals and small business owners.
- Cheaper plans as compared to others.
- Free audit assistance.
- Automatic downgrade to lower-tier plan.
Cons of using e-file.com:
- Limited customer support for the basic plan.
- Expensive state filings.
- Limited services if you have complex tax filings.
Cash App Taxes
It is a free online tool to file taxes with a downloadable app. It does not have any pricing plans and filing state and federal returns are free.
You can get help through instructional material and different tools to calculate your tax liability and fill out the forms accurately.
It offers a fast and reliable method of tax filing for individuals and business owners who are well-versed with IRS rules.
Pros of using cash app taxes:
- Free federal and state tax return filings.
- No additional costs for audit support.
- No deductions from your returns for tax preparations.
- Excellent mobile app for users.
Cons of using cash app taxes:
- No multiple-state filing option.
- Users must download the app to use it.
- Limited customer support through email and no support through phone.
Free Tax USA
“Free Tax USA” Offers 100% free tax filing for federal returns. It is free for all types of taxpayers like individuals, joint filers, self-employed, investments, and retirement program distributions.
You can file your state tax returns at an additional cost of only $14.99. It means this is one of the cheapest tax preparation and filing services around.
You can also import your tax data from other tax software like H&R block and TurboTax for several years.
Pros of using Free Tax USA include:
- Free federal tax filing.
- Low costs for state filing.
- Tax data storage option for up to seven years.
Cons of using Free Tax USA are:
- You need to upgrade to use certain features.
- Premium customer support is available for the Deluxe plan.
- No phone or in-person support for basic plans.