TurboTax Review 2020 (2019 Tax Year) – Is TurboTax the Best DIY Tax Software?

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TurboTax is the most popular tax
preparation software
on the market. I use this software myself
and recommend it highly. The service is easy to use, even if
you’ve never used tax preparation software in the past.

They ask questions – in plain English – and all you need to
do is gather
your tax documents
and input the required information.
Sometimes you don’t even need to do that. TurboTax can often
import information from online sources, making tax preparation even
easier.

What’s New for the 2019 Tax Year

TurboTax added their fifth version, TurboTax® Live, for the
2017 tax year. This is the third year this service will be
available to taxpayers. The “live” part of the title refers to
live assistance by a CPA or an enrolled agent (EA). With this
version, you prepare your tax return the same way you would with
the other TurboTax versions. But you’ll have a tax specialist
available and live to help you with any complications.

Once your tax return is done, it will be reviewed by a CPA or
EA, who will make any necessary changes prior to filing. That will
ensure that your tax return is done right, and includes every
deduction you’re entitled to.

Why Use TurboTax to Prepare Your Taxes?

No tax knowledge is required. TurboTax is an
extremely user-friendly program. It will ask you all of the
necessary questions, and all you need to do is input the
information. You don’t have to know anything about preparing
taxes whatsoever. TurboTax has a large volume of tax preparation
resources, including live-support on the premium versions.

100% Accuracy Guarantee. TurboTax runs
thousands of error checks and then double-checks your tax return
before you file. If you receive an IRS or state penalty or interest
charge because of a TurboTax calculation error, TurboTax will pay
the cost.

Audit Support Guarantee. This guarantee applies
to every TurboTax return. It entitles you to free one-on-one audit
guidance from a trained tax professional. They’ll help you learn
what to expect, and how to prepare for the
audit
. If need be, you’ll even have access to their Audit
Defense program, which will provide you with full-service audit
representation.

QuickBooks interface. TurboTax and QuickBooks
are both products of Intuit, so you can import information directly
from QuickBooks into TurboTax. This will enable you to prepare for
income tax filing all year long if you are a QuickBooks user. It
will simplify documentation collection, and make tax preparation
much easier for the self-employed.

Search for over 400 tax deductions. The federal
income tax code is incredibly complicated. There are hundreds of
tax deductions
, and even seasoned tax professionals struggle
with knowing them all. But TurboTax will help you to find any
you’re entitled to.

Electronic Filing will help you get your refund
faster
. Filing your tax return electronically is faster,
safer, and more accurate than filing your tax return on a paper
form. And since the IRS computers can process electronic returns
more quickly, you
should receive your tax refund faster
(if you are owed money by
the IRS).

There’s also the TurboTax Military Discount:

TurboTax Military Discount

TurboTax Free Edition

$0 for federal, $0 for state, $0 to file. It’s the TurboTax free
version
, and it’s available only if you file 1040EZ or 1040A,
which are the very simplest tax returns.

You will qualify for the TurboTax Free Edition if you have W-2
income, Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC) and child tax credits. If
your situation is more complicated, you may need to purchase one of
the other TurboTax versions.

The TurboTax Free Edition works like other TurboTax versions
with basic tax preparation. It uses the same question and
information input format. But you also have access to the following
features:

  • Snap. Tap. Done. This feature enables you to
    take a photo of your W-2s with your mobile device for automatic
    input. You may also be able to directly import your W-2 information
    if your employer is one of the more than 1 million companies that
    make their W-2s available online.
  • If you used TurboTax last year, all of your information will
    automatically be transferred into the current year, simplifying tax
    preparation.
  • Answers 24/7. TurboTax has a large database of
    tax-related information that you can access. You can also get
    online answers from TurboTax specialists or other customers.

CompleteCheck. TurboTax will run a
comprehensive review of your return before you file to make sure
that nothing gets missed.

In order to be eligible for TurboTax Free Edition, you must earn
less than $100,000 from W-2 sources. It’s not for people who have
business income or 1099 income. You’re also ineligible if you
have any capital
gains income
, or need to file Schedule A for itemized
deductions.

The free version does support common IRS schedules and forms,
including Schedule B (interest and dividend income) and Schedule
EIC (earned income credit).

TurboTax 2019 Review

 

TurboTax Deluxe – Price: $40 + $40 per State

The Deluxe package is the most popular TurboTax version. It’s
for more complicated returns, including those with itemized
deductions and incomes exceeding $100,000. However, it does not
accommodate investments in rental property or self-employment.

It includes all of the features of the free version, plus the
following:

  • Start for free, and pay when you file.
  • Deduction Finder. Search for more than 400 tax
    deductions and credits to maximize your refund.
  • If you used TurboTax last year, all of your information will
    automatically be transferred into the current year, simplifying tax
    preparation.
  • One-on-one help. A TurboTax specialist will
    provide customized answers to your questions and guide you by
    drawing on your screen.
  • Your TurboTax fee can be paid out of your federal tax refund. A
    Refund Processing fee of $39.99 applies to this feature.
  • Learn
    more at the TurboTax website
    .

TurboTax Premier – Price $70 + $40 per State

TurboTax Premier includes all of the features of the Free and
Deluxe versions. It is specifically for those who have investments
in rental property.

Features specific to the Premier version include:

  • Covers stocks, bonds, employee stock plans, and other
    investment income.
  • Automatically imports investment income – including cost
    basis – from thousands of participating financial institutions.
    If you’re an active trader, you’ll appreciate TurboTax Premier
    for this reason alone!
  • Enables you to complete Schedule E to
    report income from rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S
    corporations, estates, trusts, REMICs, etc.
  • Deducts expenses related to a mortgage refinance, including
    mortgage points and appraisal fees.
  • Learn
    more at the TurboTax website
    .

TurboTax Self-Employed – Price $90 + $40 per State

TurboTax Expense Estimator

TurboTax Self-Employed has all of the features and benefits of
the Free, Deluxe and Premier plans. It’s specifically for
taxpayers who earn income from self-employment. That includes
independent
contractors, freelancers, and business owners
.

Features specific to the Self-Employed version include:

  • Providing guidance on industry-specific deductions for your
    particular business.
  • Easy recording of expenses and mileage tracking through
    QuickBooks
    Self-Employed
    . The app also allows you to track business
    mileage from your mobile phone.*
  • Help to determine
    your home office deduction
    and standard mileage versus actual
    expenses for your automobile usage.
  • Identification of tax-deductible business startup
    expenses.
  • Set-up depreciation on business asset purchases.
  • Prepare and print unlimited W-2 and 1099 tax forms for your
    business employees and contractors.
  • Learn
    more at the TurboTax website
    .

*QuickBooks Self-Employed also enables you to snap pictures of
your business receipts using your mobile phone. You can store those
receipts, and keep a permanent record of your business expenses as
they occur.

TurboTax® Live – Price $50 – $170 (+ $40 per State)

Here’s your chance to fire your CPA!

TurboTax Live is like hiring a CPA to prepare your income taxes,
but at just a fraction of the price. It offers all of the features
of the other four TurboTax versions. But it also provides you with
advice from a CPA or an enrolled agent (EA), both on-demand and for
a final review. This makes it easy to ask questions about more
complicated topics, such as the Alternative
Minimum Tax
.

You can quickly and easily connect to a tax expert, simply by
clicking “Expert Help” in the program. You can get help with
personal and work income, as well as complex tax situations.

On the final review of your return, TurboTax tax experts will
make any necessary changes, and back your return with their 100%
Accuracy Guarantee.

If your tax return is complicated, or if you feel that you lack
sufficient understanding, TurboTax Live is the version for you.
You’re performing the actual information input, but it’s like
having a CPA working at your side as you do.

This version is also ideal for those who have complicated
business tax situations, multiple rental real estate properties, or
K-1 income from several partnerships or S corporations. A CPA will
charge $1,000 or more to prepare some of these returns. But with
TurboTax Live, you can get a similar level of service for under
$200.

Should You Use TurboTax to Prepare Your Income Taxes this Year?

You can prepare your income taxes on TurboTax in less time than
it takes to get your tax information together for a CPA. TurboTax
will cost hundreds of dollars less than a CPA, and generate a
similar result. This is a perfect platform for a tax novice.
There’s absolutely nothing scary about this program, even if
you’ve never prepared a return online before.

If you want a tax return that’s 100% accurate, and provides
you with all of the deductions you’re entitled to, TurboTax is an
excellent choice. If you’d like more information, or you’d like
to sign up for the service, visit the TurboTax
website
.

The post TurboTax Review 2020
(2019 Tax Year) – Is TurboTax the Best DIY Tax Software?

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