The tax season is upon us. And while nobody really enjoys doing taxes, there are products in the market that can make the process more bearable–one of which is Intuit’s TurboTax Deluxe.
TurboTax is a popular DIY tax preparation and filing application in the US. But that is not to say that the software program is perfect. Below, we lay out the features we love about TurboTax and give you the blow-by-blow of the software’s upsides and downsides.
TurboTax offers several plans–Federal Free Edition, Plus, Premiere, Home & Business, and Deluxe. Each has special features not included in another. But, regardless of which you choose, TurboTax guarantees accuracy of tax calculations and promises to pay the price for any misfile and errors it has caused.
Moreover, all plans follow an interview-style process to evaluate your tax situation and identify which schedules and forms are the most fitting for you to complete your return.
TurboTax Deluxe comes with functions and features found in lower-priced plans, such as the following:
Photo from Google Play
TurboTax provides a slick and feature-rich mobile app that gives you the ability to prepare and e-file taxes using Android or iOS devices. Similar to the online version, it guides you through a series of questions and coaches you through the entire preparation and filing process, whether you’re handling simple or complex taxation scenarios. You can even get started quickly by simply taking a photo of your W-2 and directly importing your data into the app.
Audit Risk Identification and Support
Photo from Intuit
Another great feature of the software is its audit risk meter and audit support. With the meter, you’ll be able to identify sections of your taxes that can potentially trigger an audit. And if it does find errors, TurboTax allows for free phone consultation with their in-house tax professional to correct the issues and help you avoid an audit.
TurboTax offer a military edition that comes with several different discounts catered to the needs of active-duty military reservists and members. Using a Federal Free or Deluxe plan, E1 (private trainee) to E5 (petty officer/sergeant) service members can file state and federal taxes for free while E6 (petty officer first class/staff sergeant) service members can take $5 off the filing cost of federal taxes.
Beyond pricing discounts, all military-specific needs, including combat pay and uniform deductions are addressed in this version of the program.
Automatic Data Transfer
If you have completed your federal return and need to file for a state return, the software program can automatically transfer relevant data from the federal form to your state form, slashing down the tedious and otherwise redundant filling up process.
Real-Time Calculation of Refund
Located in the interface’s upper left corner, the refund display calculates your estimated state and federal refund in real time. The number in the display changes as soon as you input new information to reflect the estimated total refund.
Special Deluxe Features
TurboTax Deluxe has lots of excellent features as mentioned above, but the added features makes it even more appealing.
Itemized Deductions: Most often, itemizing your deductions makes perfect financial sense. If this is the case, the Deluxe plan would be able to help you file Schedule A and give you all the necessary support to do so.
Miscellaneous Income Support: TurboTax Deluxe is the only plan that supports Miscellaneous Income, which is indicated on Form 1099-MISC. With a Deluxe package, you can log in 1099s in your return for unlimited number of times.
Schedule C Partial Support: Schedule C or C-EZ is required if you are liable for self-employment tax. This means, if you’re a consultant, self-proprietor, or independent contractor, TurboTax Deluxe is your choice of plan as it offer partial Schedule C support. Note, though, that while you can file your phone expenses, vehicle mileage and other miscellaneous fees, other credits, like home office deductions, are not available in Deluxe. Also, it only allows filing deductions for up to $100.
Access to Tax Return History: If you’ve been using TurboTax for quite some time, you’ll be able to access all the previous tax returns you’ve filed using the program along with all the user information tied to the accounts.
- Strong overall design with a consistent interface and navigation
- Free filing of federal 1040EZ/A if you qualify for Absolute Zero
- Audit risk identification
- Professional phone assistance
- Superior deduction discovery
- Solid mobile versions
- Comprehensive and context-sensitive help
- Comparatively pricey
- Not all schedules and forms are supported
- No refund bonus
Like any other software programs, TurboTax Deluxe has its limitations. However, for all its downsides, TurboTax remains a top tax preparation and filing application for many, thanks to its superior user experience, comprehensive and voluminous learning resources, exceptional help systems, and thorough taxation topics coverage.
Although relatively expensive, TurboTax Deluxe has certainly proven it’s worth. It does not support as many forms and schedules as some programs, but it topples the rest in every other area, giving unparalleled user experience.
In addition, if you have a complex tax situation (miscellaneous income, itemized deductions, etc.), TurboTax Deluxe is your best option.