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TurboTax review: The top tax software but worth the price?

4.75

TurboTax is the gold-standard of quality tax software people have come to trust for their taxes. TurboTax’s experts can help you do your taxes, or do them for you as soon as today. Plus, you’ll get your max refund—guaranteed!

Up to additional 10% off
Limited time offer: TurboTax Promotion

Money Under 30 users can save up to an additional 10% on TurboTax.

Finish your taxes by April 15 and get your max refund—guaranteed!

Save up to 10% off TurboTax

The TurboTax software is incredibly easy to use with resources for those who haven’t filed their own taxes before or are self-employed. The different plans with varying degrees of assistance, including file yourself and a start to finish full service plan, are optimal for even the most unique of situations.

I’ve been personally using TurboTax to prepare my own tax returns for years, so I feel strongly that this is can be the go-to tax prep software for many of the readers of Money Under 30. That’s why we rank it as our top pick in our list of the best tax software options for the 2024 tax season.

In our review of TurboTax, we set out to share a fair independent evaluation with a look at factors that include plans, pricing, features, audit and refund guarantees, levels of assistance available, customer service and more.

» Offer: Save up to an additional 10% on TurboTax

How does TurboTax work?

TurboTax guides filers step-by-step using an easy-to-understand question and answer format. This seamless online process breaks down each section of your return sequentially starting with basic personal information and tax situation to help determine which of their plans should be used.

Gather all the relevant tax forms and enter the appropriate information as prompted. TurboTax does all the calculating and placing of information on forms, saving you the hassle. Only when you’re completely satisfied that the information is accurate will you actually file your return and get notification about IRS acceptance.

Our favorite tax software
TurboTax

Backed by a strong reputation, TurboTax is the most popular tax software offering the gold standard of tax filing with a wide range of plans and various levels of support.

Special offer: Money Under 30 readers can save an additional 10% off TurboTax.
Pros:
  • Clear user experience
  • Quick and easy importing
  • Offers different levels of expert help
  • Tax Return Lifetime Guarantee
Cons:
  • Pricing can be more transparent
  • Cost more than some alternatives
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Pros & cons

Pros

  • Options for every return — It offers a software plan even for rental property owners, freelancers and self-employed gig workers to accurately report income.
  • Professional help available — Get unlimited access to a tax expert to answer any tax questions or have an exert do your taxes from start to finish.
  • Lifetime guarantees — All TurboTax products include guarantees for accuracy and maximum refund for the life of your tax return.

Cons

  • Higher cost — The pricing can be higher than some competitors as you’re paying for an increased level of quality.

Turbotax products

TurboTax has multiple products with different levels of tax support to get your taxes done comfortably. You don’t pay until you are done with your taxes and ready to file meaning you can start with the cheapest plan and upgrade if needed as you go.

Do your own taxes

  • Do it yourself (DIY) – Access to the software to file your own taxes and tech support, but no access to a tax professional if you have questions about your taxes.
  Price
TurboTax Free Edition

~37% of taxpayers qualify. Form 1040 + limited credits only
$0 for federal, $0 for state
TurboTax Deluxe $69 for federal, plus $64 per state
TurboTax Premium $129 for federal, plus $64 per state

Experts help you do your taxes

  • Live Assisted – Includes unlimited access to a tax expert to answer any tax questions you may have
  Price
TurboTax Live Assisted Basic $89 for federal, plus $69 for state
TurboTax Live Assisted Deluxe $139 for federal, plus $69 per state
TurboTax Live Assisted Premium $219 for federal, plus $69 per state

Experts do your taxes for you

  • Live Full Service – A TurboTax expert does your taxes for you from start to finish. Final price may vary based on your actual tax situation and forms used or included with your return.
  Price
TurboTax Live Full Service Starting at $129, plus $69 per state
For TurboTax Live Full Service: Price includes W-2 and 1040. State additional. Final price may vary based on your actual tax situation and forms used or included with your return.

TurboTax product editions

The different editions for each provided tax prep plan can get a little confusing. Here’s the detailed explanations of each edition.

TurboTax Free Edition

TurboTax Free Edition is used by millions of customers to file taxes ever year free. This DIY option is $0 for federal and $0 for state. ~37% of filers qualify. Form 1040 and limited credits only.

To qualify for the free edition your taxes can include: W-2 income, Limited interest and dividend income, Standard deduction, Child tax credits, Earned income tax credit.

  • You can input your W2 information by snapping a picture with your mobile device or you can use the automatic download feature enabling you to import W2 information from many large employers. Snap. Tap. Done.
  • 50% done in a click. If you filed with TurboTax last year, your information will automatically be transferred to this year’s tax return. You can also import a PDF file of last year’s return from other major tax preparation services.
  • ~37% of filers qualify. Form 1040 and limited credits only.

TurboTax Deluxe

The deluxe edition is designed for filing Form 1040, including itemized deductions and business income if you don’t have expenses. This means it’s good for homeowners and those who want to itemize. However, it cannot be used if you’re self-employed or have rental properties.

TurboTax Deluxe comes with all the features of the Free Edition, plus some more:

  • Deduction Finder. TurboTax will help you find the deductions you qualify for.
  • Includes tax credits for dependents such as the Child and Dependent Care Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Child Tax Credit.

TurboTax Premium

TurboTax Premium is for investors, rental property owners, freelancers, gig workers, and the self-employed to seamlessly and accurately report income. If you’re looking for TurboTax Premier and TurboTax Self-Employed, TurboTax Premium brings them together.

  • Searches 500 deductions and credits
  • Covers rental property income and tax deductions
  • Great for stocks, crypto, bonds, ESPPs and more
Up to additional 10% off
Limited time offer: TurboTax Promotion

Money Under 30 users can save up to an additional 10% on TurboTax.

Finish your taxes by April 15 and get your max refund—guaranteed!

Save up to 10% off TurboTax

Other TurboTax features

The professional help options from TurboTax are some of the best available (albeit with a price to match). These are some other notable TurboTax features to be aware of that may make the price worth paying.

Versatile mobile app

File your return using your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or Android tablet with the TurboTax app. The tax software app is fast, easy and secure, allowing you to snap a picture of your W-2s and have all the information automatically entered for you. In terms of how users feel about the TurboTax, the app has over 10 million downloads for Android in the Google Play store with 4.5/5 stars on over 300K reviews. In the App Store the TurboTax app has around a million user reviews with a stellar 4.8/5 star rating.

Tax filers can switch back and forth as needed between the app and TurboTax Online with the information synced so nothing is lost.

QuickBooks interface

If you’re QuickBooks user you can import information directly from QuickBooks into TurboTax. It will simplify both documentation collection and tax preparation, particularly if you’re self-employed or have rental real estate.

TurboTax free taxes for military

TurboTax Online offers free federal and state filing options for enlisted, active duty military and reserve members. This includes any of TurboTax’s online products that you file yourself (excluding Live). Confirm you’re eligible, enter your W-2 and verify your military rank when prompted for the benefit.

Multiple refund options

You choose how you would like to receive your refund when using TurboTax with multiple refund options. These include:

  • Direct deposit into your checking, savings, brokerage, or an IRA account
  • Paper check
  • U.S. Savings Bonds
  • Credit for next year’s taxes

Audit Representation

If you need direct representation, you can purchase TurboTax’s Audit Defense feature. It will be like having a tax professional in your corner. Audit Defense is available at an additional cost. This service is provided by a third party service called “TaxAudit”. You can learn more about the service here.

TurboTax guarantees

TurboTax provides a combination of coverage through its guarantees for the full 7-year life of your tax return. This is one of the areas the quality of TurboTax’s software really shines.

Different guarantees may apply depending on the service you went with along with some other details, so review the relevant T&C’s as needed. TurboTax’s list of guarantees include:

  • 100% Accurate Calculations Guarantee: Covers TurboTax calculation errors where you need to pay an IRS or state penalty or interest within limitation.
  • Maximum Refund Guarantee / Maximum Tax Savings Guarantee: Money Back guarantee for larger refunds or smaller tax bills due reflected through other tax prep methods.
  • Audit Support Guarantee: One-on-one question-and-answer informational support with a tax professional upon request for audited returns filed with eligible products.
  • 100% Accurate, Expert-Approved Guarantee: Penalty and associated interest covered for IRS or state penalty on any errors by a TurboTax tax expert or CPA.

My experience using TurboTax

I’ve been using TurboTax to prepare my tax return for the past few years. Having used professional-grade tax software in the past, TurboTax stacks up as being comparable in capabilities, but a good bit more user friendly.

You don’t need to have any experience preparing taxes, because the program will guide you through the entire process. Even on the most complicated returns, you’ll have access to everything you need to get the job done.

TurboTax is just one step short of having a tax expert prepare your tax return. And in fact, if that’s something you like, there’s options for have a tax expert help you out or prepare your taxes from start to finish. The main difference is that it will cost hundreds less with TurboTax than it would if you paid an independent tax expert.

Who is TurboTax good for?

Those with somewhat complicated taxes

TurboTax will work best for taxpayers who have a tax situation that ranges between moderately complicated and very complicated. The pricing in that territory makes sense for what you’re getting.

The Premium version in particular is specifically designed to help those with significant investment activities or small businesses.

Those looking to work with professionals while still filing online

Each version of TurboTax also offers premium upgrades that can be critical to someone with a more complicated tax situation. The Audit Defense program gives you representation in the event of an IRS audit.

Then there’s TurboTax Live Assisted, which enables you to work directly with a tax expert. You can start doing your tax return on your own, but if you reach a point where you realize you can’t go any further, the services of a tax professional are available to help you complete your return. The remote access that the tax professional will have will be the equivalent of having that person working right across the table from you.

Who isn’t TurboTax good for?

Tax filers seeking the cheapest option

TurboTax isn’t the least expensive tax preparation software as you pay up somewhat for the various paid plans and better user experience. It does, however, offer occasional discounts that are fluid according to tax season and a free filing option: TurboTax Free Edition.~37% of filers qualify. Form 1040 and limited credits only.

The competition: Other tax software

Comparing the top tax software companies, you’ll see some popular competitors: TaxAct, TaxSlayer, Liberty Tax and H&R Block. Some of these offer lower pricing and somewhat similar plans. Each also has their own distinguishing features as a tax software, but, in our view, TurboTax seems to consistently be a bit more advanced across the board.

TurboTax vs H&R Block

H&R Block Logo

Like TurboTax, H&R Block can help you file taxes on your own, file taxes with expert help, or have a tax professional file for you (where the in office or drop off comes into play). You’ll see similar options and guarantees with variations on pricing depending on the plan.

The options with H&R Block are pretty convenient across the board with their extensive network of 70,000 experienced tax pros working in over 12,000 offices worldwide.

TurboTax vs TaxSlayer

TaxSlayer offers somewhat more reasonable pricing compared to TurboTax with the option to get assistance from a professional. There’s, however, no full service option.

TaxSlayer

TaxSlayer is a great option for anyone who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles that other tax software programs offer.

There’s a free version for simple returns and for military members. Plus, there’s plenty of support for paid versions, including one that works well for freelancers and gig workers.

Pros:
  • Affordable pricing
  • Plan for freelancers and gig workers
  • Supports major IRS forms and schedules
Cons:
  • Limited tax education resources
  • Mixed support options
File Now

The Self-Employed version with TaxSlayer is among the most competitive paid pricing for freelancers and those with a small business or those who need it for side-hustles. TurboTax Premium comes at a higher price for a higher quality service.

TurboTax vs TaxAct

If you don’t need to claim many tax credits or deductions (or have varies money earned), TaxAct is a simple user-friendly alternative to TurboTax. The pricing will, on average, come in lower.

TaxAct

TaxAct makes it easy and affordable to file your federal and state tax returns online.

The simplest federal returns are free to file (state returns cost $39.99 each) with premium options available if you have itemized deductions, capital gains, or self-employment income.

Special offer: Get 20% off your federal filing with TaxAct!
Pros:
  • Easier to use than competitors
  • $100k accuracy guarantee
  • Optional live tax advice ($59.99)
Cons:
  • State returns are pricey
  • Most users can't file via mobile app
Compare Plans

Those with complicated tax returns or those who would like their taxes done beginning to end should look more into TurboTax but TaxAct provides a quick and cheaper alternative otherwise.

Summary

TurboTax is the most popular tax software for a number of reasons. One is the number of tax plans offered for a wide range of tax situations, even complex situations like those who are self-employed or those with real estate income.

The tax software is also incredibly easy to use, and there are abundant resources for any questions you have. The levels of support are pretty much unmatched.

If TurboTax has a weakness, it’s in its cost. It’s one of the pricier services, which may not be the best option for those with very simple returns and/or very limited funds.

Ultimately, TurboTax sets the industry standard of what you should be looking for and is worth filing your taxes with if you’re seeking a quality service.

Up to additional 10% off
Limited time offer: TurboTax Promotion

Money Under 30 users can save up to an additional 10% on TurboTax.

Finish your taxes by April 15 and get your max refund—guaranteed!

Save up to 10% off TurboTax

FAQs about TurboTax

Is TurboTax worth it?

TurboTax is not the cheapest tax prep service but provides a quality service with multiple levels of assistance. If you’re in a financial situation where you’re willing to pay up for a seamless option to avoid hassles and limit potential headaches, then TurboTax may be worth the price.

Can I file my taxes free with TurboTax?

You may be able to file your taxes for free with TurboTax if you qualify. File your taxes for free using TurboTax Free Edition. ~37% of taxpayers qualify. Form 1040 + limited credits only.

Is TurboTax hard to use?

TurboTax is not a hard software to use for filing your taxes. TurboTax makes the tax filing process easy by asking simple questions to help you complete your tax forms. Tax filers can also get professional help via TurboTax’s Live Assisted and Live Full Service offerings.

Is TurboTax accurate?

TurboTax offers a 100% accuracy calculations guarantee that covers penalty and interest because of a TurboTax calculations error. There’s also an expert-approved guarantee to cover errors that a TurboTax tax expert or CPA made while providing advice, reviewing a section or acting as a signed preparer. Terms and conditions apply.

Does TurboTax save your progress?

Yes, TurboTax Online automatically saves all your work so it’s not lost. If you need to sign out and exit, all the information you inputted up to that point won’t need to be filled in again.

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