My TurboTax 2012 review hardly needs an introduction. These guys are the best-selling tax preparation software program year-after-year. Their software walks you step-by-step through the process of preparing your taxes. They take care of yearly tax updates and understanding the confusing tax code. All you need to do is decide which of their versions to use, then complete a series of questions, and file. Depending on the complexity of your tax situation, this can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours.
TurboTax 2012 Review
TurboTax provides their software in both offline (CD or download) and the increasingly popular online versions. Their software is perfect for the person who is fairly confident in preparing their tax forms, but who might need just that extra piece of assurance. Their software also allows you to complete your taxes at your own pace. Save your progress and return to complete it later. TurboTax is a product of Intuit, the same company that owns Mint.com, Quicken, QuickBooks.
Right up front I can tell you that I’ve used TurboTax in the past and I enjoy their product. But I know they are not for everyone. If you require the face-to-face time with a professional (as many people do), then you aren’t going to get it with TurboTax.
Other tax preparation software providers have physical branches where you can actually meet with a tax professional. TurboTax doesn’t offer that. Their focus is on the software alone. In addition, TurboTax generally isn’t going to provide the level of service that a CPA or Enrolled Agent can.
But if all you need is a piece of rock-solid, do-it-yourself tax preparation software, then you’ll be hard pressed to find a better product than what TurboTax can offer you. TurboTax offers four different versions of their product aimed at personal filers. Here’s a quick rundown of what each edition contains:
Different Versions of TurboTax
TurboTax Federal Free Edition (Free) If you plan on filing a 1040EZ, 1040A, or simple 1040, then you might qualify for their free edition, regardless of your income. This version is very straight-forward: asks you a series of questions, checks for any errors, and then helps you e-file for free. If you have to itemize your return because you have a mortgage, child care expenses, charitable donations, or medical expenses, then you shouldn’t use this edition. This version comes with the same support and guarantees as the other paid versions. While the federal preparation and e-file is free, to e-file your State you will have to pay $27.95.
TurboTax Deluxe ($29.95) This edition is aimed at the average tax filer without investments, rental property, or self-employment income. This version will help you complete your itemized decuctions and find available credits. It also comes with ItsDeductible®, Audit Risk Meter™, and Audit Support Center (in case of an audit). Finally, it comes with a new feature: you can import prior year tax data or documents, even from other software packages. You can also import data from Mint.com with this edition. State filing with this edition will cost $36.95.
TurboTax Premier ($49.95) The Premier edition comes with everything you get in the Deluxe edition plus support to help you complete your tax forms related to investments and/or rental properties. Helps you quickly find deductions associated with your rential units. Also, you are able to quickly import your investment data from various institutions. State filing with this edition will cost $36.95.
TurboTax Home & Business ($74.95) Finally, if you have self-employment income, then you would be wise to consider the Home and Business edition of TurboTax. This edition will ask you different questions depending on the type of business you have setup: sole proprietor, 1099 contractors, single-owner LLC. It will help you zero in on business-related decutions like travel and your home office. This edition has seen some improvements in the following areas: deductions by industry notifier, W-2 and 1099 preparation for employees and contractors, help with depreciation method choices, and expense input on one screen, verses a page at a time. State filing with this edition will cost $36.95.
TurboTax didn’t become the most popular tax software by accident. They put together a good product and they stand behind it. They want their customers to be satisfied. They make a committment to their customers to not only be easy and 100% accurate, but to also provide the maximum (biggest) refund. All of their versions come with a money-back guarantee. All of their online versions are free to use up until the point that you actually file. So there’s not harm in giving them a spin. If only to see what you’ll be ending up with this year.
Customer support will never match the services offered by a paid professional. But like I said above, TurboTax isn’t in the professional tax support business. That, however, doesn’t stop them from providing excellent customer service. They have four primary channels for you to use to contact them about their software or even tax and filing questions.
I tested out their online chat support. Even though it said it would take up to 30 minutes, I was instantly connected with a support person via chat who quickly answered my questions. Share your experience with TurboTax in the comments below…