The Professionals, Cons and What You Must Know

If you happen to’ve had “sit down and do my taxes” in your to-do listing for a short while, we’ve been there — tax season isn’t precisely one thing to look ahead to every year.

If something, it’s one thing most of us dread, questioning the right way to put all the pieces collectively, how the principles have modified since final 12 months, and maybe most significantly, which digital DIY tax submitting service we should always use.

And in case your response to that’s, “Wait, there are companies that might assist me on-line?,” then this text is most positively for you. DIY tax submitting companies like TurboTax, H&R Block, Money App Taxes and TaxSlayer assist you determine what kinds you want and information you thru the method—typically at no cost.

On this article, we’re going to assessment TurboTax’s on-line submitting companies and tax software program and see the way it compares to the competitors.

TurboTax: How Does It Work?

Maybe the best-known of the digital submitting choices, TurboTax is the tax-focused child of Intuit, the identical firm behind Mint and Quickbooks.

TurboTax is an ideal possibility for the taxpayer who needs all the pieces from a full-service professional doing their taxes to somebody who merely needs to make use of the guided software program to enter data on their very own. The service even presents a free possibility meaning you’ll pay nothing to file state and federal taxes — that’s, when you’re submitting a easy tax return, which means one utilizing solely the IRS Kind 1040.

And when you favor issues a little bit extra low-fi, then it’s possible you’ll need to make investments as an alternative within the TurboTax CD/obtain, which lets you set up the software program in your pc. The price of the Deluxe (and extra) CD consists of the tax preparation charge for one state and 5 federal e-filings, though you may put together and print limitless federal tax returns. (Though who needs to consider limitless tax fillings?)

As you may see, TurboTax presents a lot to select from and has 4 fundamental pricing tiers, as of December 2022. Right here’s a little bit extra about how a lot they value and what they provide.

Free Version

The thought of free tax submitting software program sounds too good to be true, and that’s as a result of it’s — type of. TurboTax’s free version is nice for many who solely have to cowl W-2 revenue, the Earned Revenue Tax Credit score (EIC) and youngster tax credit. It’s also possible to import your pastime, private property rental or private merchandise gross sales revenue out of your Kind 1099-Ok. But when your taxes embody different classes, it’s possible you’ll need to take into account one thing a little bit extra superior.

Price: $0


The Deluxe version is the precise alternative for the one that doesn’t need to shell out that rather more however needs assist discovering all of the doable tax credit for them. The Deluxe TurboTax helps you search greater than 350 tax deductions and credit to seek out those that match for you. That features home-owner tax breaks, charitable donations plus mortgage and property tax deductions. If in case you have extra schooling bills or tax credit for dependents, you would possibly need to go forward and put money into Deluxe. That is additionally useful in terms of 1099-MISC revenue — i.e. earnings of an impartial contractor like a contract author or Uber driver.

But when freelance work is your sole supply of revenue, you’ll be higher off utilizing the TurboTax Self-Employed version, which is described beneath.

Price: $39 for federal submitting, plus $39 per state


If you happen to’re somebody who has extra revenue from investments and rental property, then it’s possible you’ll need to improve to the Premier model of TurboTax. You’ll get all the pieces in Deluxe, in addition to the power to routinely import transactions from monetary establishments, together with inventory and crypto exercise, and search for greater than 450 related tax deductions and credit. The system can even make it easier to to notice your positive aspects and losses from crypto, if that’s a priority.

Price: $69 for federal submitting, plus $39 per state


If the majority of your revenue comes from a self-employed submit, like on-line gross sales or skilled companies, then it’s possible you’ll need to take into account TurboTax Self-Employed. It really works for industry-specific deductions and presents steerage for freelancers, impartial contractors and small enterprise homeowners.

You’ll additionally get the power to add your 1099-MISC kinds together with your cellphone and an audit evaluation. TurboTax ensures your most tax refund.

Price: $89 for federal submitting, plus $39 per state

Aileen Perilla/ The Penny Hoarder

TurboTax Stay

For every of the merchandise above, TurboTax allows you to improve to TurboTax Stay to get on-demand solutions and a line-by-line assessment of your taxes by a tax professional — CPA or EA.

Price: TurboTax Stay is available in tiers much like its DIY merchandise:

  • Fundamental prices $0, together with free state submitting.
  • Deluxe prices $89, plus $49 for state submitting.
  • Premier prices $139, plus $49 for state submitting.
  • Self-Employed prices $169, plus $49 for state submitting.


Irrespective of which tier works greatest for you — and there’s a simple, clickable questionnaire that helps you determine the precise product primarily based in your tax state of affairs — all TurboTax prospects get entry to a variety of instruments, ensures and options.

Audit Help Assure

Say you’ve accomplished your taxes by TurboTax and find yourself receiving an audit letter from the U.S. Inner Income Service. Right here’s the place the system’s Audit Help Assure is available in.

TurboTax will supply one-on-one assist with a tax skilled, by their Audit Help Middle. This, nevertheless, doesn’t imply that an professional from TurboTax will signify you in entrance of any tax authority. If the service can’t join you with a tax skilled, you’re going to get refunded the acquisition value—and even Free Version customers get a cost of $30.

Cash-Again Most Refund Assure

TurboTax guarantees you the utmost tax refund — assured. That signifies that when you discover a larger refund or smaller general tax cost from one other methodology, they’ll refund you the value you paid for entry to their applications. (Once more, free customers can stand up to $30.)

Cellular Apps for Apple and Android

If you happen to’re somebody who likes to do issues on the go, you may even file your taxes by an app. TurboTax has choices for each Apple and Android customers. (Consider—it’s possible you’ll need to file them on-line so you may sit down and actually undergo your taxes.)

Refund Advance

Certainly one of TurboTax’s most uncommon options will be the refund advance possibility of as much as $4,000 with no mortgage charges, no credit score impression and 0% APR. A number of eligibility obstacles apply: you’ll should have a refund of a minimum of $500 and can’t dwell in North Carolina, Connecticut or Illinois, for instance.

However when you can apply, you might get the funds in as quick as a minute after the IRS accepts your tax return. You’ll should get them by opening a checking account with Credit score Karma Cash and may, as soon as accepted, virtually instantly use your Credit score Karma Cash digital debit card loaded up with the funds out of your return. If you happen to favor to get your funds in direct deposit or a paper verify, that may take 21 days or 28 to 42 days, respectively. It’s essential to notice that you just’ll get about half of the particular refund you’re entitled to — for instance, in case your refund falls between $500 and $999, you’ll get $250.

As soon as the IRS distributes the remainder of your return, you’ll obtain the remainder of the cash into the Credit score Karma Cash checking account you’ve already opened.

Pay-With-My-Refund Choices

If you happen to anticipate having a excessive refund and need to pay for TurboTax together with your refund as an alternative of your checking account, that may be accomplished. This service typically comes with a cost—typically, customers say they’ve paid $39.99. To do that, you’ll should e-file your return and direct deposit your refund right into a single account. It might probably solely be used as soon as.

Woman sits a table doing taxes.
Aileen Perilla/ The Penny Hoarder


To organize and file your tax returns by TurboTax, you’ll pay a charge for the submitting program or software program, plus extra charges to file your state return. Right here’s how that appears:

  • DIY on-line submitting: Free to $89, relying on tier.
  • State submitting charges: Extra $0 at no cost submitting, $39 per state for paid DIY tiers, $49 per state for paid Stay tiers.
  • TurboTax Stay: Free to $169, relying on tier.

If you happen to owe taxes after you file, you may pay with bank card or debit card by cost processors really helpful by TurboTax. This typically comes with a charge between $2 and $4 per transaction for a debit card.

It’s also possible to use an digital funds withdrawal to pay straight out of your checking account—that’s, when you’re e-filing your taxes. That is an possibility not all rivals supply; with different tax companies, you’d should go on to the IRS to pay this fashion.

TurboTax: Professionals and Cons

Now that we’ve laid out the fundamentals of TurboTax’s options, what’s the decision on its efficiency? Like all monetary services, there are each professionals and cons to utilizing TurboTax.


  • Reasonably priced: TurboTax’s tiers clock in at a cheaper price than comparable tiers from rivals — although its free DIY service doesn’t cowl as many filers as different choices.
  • Ease of use: Submitting with TurboTax is fairly complete and user-friendly, in line with person opinions. Its expertise simplifies the method.
  • Complete: The corporate has a product obtainable for almost each filer, irrespective of your revenue or tax state of affairs, or how hands-on or hands-off you need to be.
  • Customer support: TurboTax presents a lot of assist, together with hyperlinks to intensive assist matters, in addition to a neighborhood discussion board that permits you to work together with different filers and tax specialists.


  • Overwhelming person expertise: TurboTax is tremendous customizable, however sifting by its many product choices can really feel type of overwhelming.
  • Lack of transparency: Your complete TurboTax charges aren’t completely clear till you undergo the tax prep course of. That might imply wasted time if you find yourself desirous to search for a less expensive possibility.
  • No bodily areas: TurboTax doesn’t supply in-person, brick-and-mortar places of work like H&R Block. If face-to-face, customized service is essential to you, this isn’t your best choice.

Who Is TurboTax Greatest For?

When it comes proper all the way down to it, most on-line tax preparation companies are extra alike than they’re totally different.

TurboTax could also be greatest for somebody who needs customized tax assist with out going into an workplace and coping with a dwell individual. It’s additionally a very good possibility when you’re on the lookout for a very fee-free line of advance tax credit score so you may entry your cash ASAP.

Keep in mind, you may at all times file at no cost, when you’re eligible, by the IRS portal. This service is offered to filers who earned $73,000 or much less in 2022, and the web page additionally hyperlinks to free fillable kinds for earners in any respect ranges.

Nonetheless comparability purchasing? Try our opinions of H&R Block and TaxAct earlier than you decide.

Author Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, typically writing about promoting items on-line by social platforms. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Smithsonian Journal and the Tampa Bay Occasions.

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