File Your Taxes at Home with Expert Help [TurboTax Live Review]

TurboTax Live LogoThis post is brought to you by TurboTax. While this is a sponsored post, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

If you’re like me, you probably have a long history with TurboTax. They were the program I used back when I was filing taxes as a single graduate student in 2006, and they helped me throughout the life changes that followed as I got married, bought a house, had kids, and moved to two different states.

This year, I was delighted to use their new TurboTax Live product to file my taxes. TurboTax Live offers the step-by-step easy-peasy process you have come to expect from the company, but this year the program also offers you the ability to connect to a live Certified Public Account (CPA), Enrolled Agent (EA), or Practicing Attorney for personalized tax advice and answers, as well as a one-on-one review of your return. They can even sign and file for you.

Another great feature is that this is one-way video. That means no more going to a tax store. You can stay in your home and do your taxes on your time—and you don’t even have to worry if your house is messy since the video is one-way.

With TurboTax Live, the yearly chore of filing your taxes becomes an easy process—with the added assurance that a tax professional can answer your questions and double check all of your work.

User-Friendly Interface at

One of my favorite aspects of using TurboTax is the interface. The software allows you to complete your taxes at your own pace. Save your progress and return to complete it later. You can also jump-start your taxes by snapping a picture of your W-2 and answering a few questions. TurboTax will put the information on the correct forms, meaning you don’t have to waste time with data entry.

TurboTax Live Website

TurboTax Live Website

The program also imports tax information directly from over 1 million employers and financial institutions through their Autofill™ feature. This saves you even more time and offers increased accuracy for filers. I was pleased to find that several of my financial institutions, including Vanguard and Capital One, were included in the Autofill™ feature, which made things easier. (I’m not the only one who stares at 1099 forms for minutes on-end trying to figure out which box is the relevant one to my tax filing, am I?)

In addition, the program offers you an “estimated refund/amount due” number at the top of your screen, and it goes up or down as you fill in your information. There is something oddly thrilling about seeing your refund amount go up (or your amount due go down) as you claim your deductions.

Helping You Get all Your Deductions

TurboTax Live Double CheckAs I worked through the software, TurboTax consistently asked me questions to make sure I was taking advantage of every deduction available to me and comparing deductions to be sure I got the best bang for my buck. While the program starts by taking you through the most common deductions, credits, and breaks, it always gives you an opportunity to see if the more uncommon situations might apply to you.

For instance, as a freelance writer, I pay estimated quarterly taxes, which many taxpayers don’t have to worry about. That meant entering my estimated quarterly taxes wasn’t in the first half of the questions I answered, but the program certainly didn’t forget to make sure I got the credit I deserved for those payments. It was a nice feeling seeing my “estimated federal balance due” at the top of the screen go down to nearly nothing once I’d filled that in.

Live Help

The big innovation with TurboTax Live is the access to a live tax professional to help answer your questions and review your work. I hit a snag in my filing process when trying to figure out the medical savings account information through my husband’s work. We have not yet exhausted our annual savings in that account (which is a “use-it-or-lose-it” medical savings account) and I couldn’t figure out if we have some time into 2018 to spend what is left in there, or if we’re already out of luck.

TurboTax Live CallI clicked the “Expert Help” button for live help, and within a couple of minutes, a friendly tax professional named Colleen called me and set up a one-way video. She helped me figure out that we needed to get the proper 1099-SA form from my husband’s employer to be able to complete our taxes, and let me know that we have until tax day to deplete our annual medical savings account.

Colleen did not have this information at her fingertips and had to do a little research to find it. Honestly, that made me feel a little better for being confused, and it was abundantly clear that the tax pros at TurboTax Live will go the extra mile to get the right answer even if you have an uncommon question.

The live help option is also available in Spanish.

File with Confidence

If you file with TurboTax Live, you get a 100% Accurate, Expert Approved Guarantee. This guarantee states that if you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of an error that a TurboTax CPA or EA made on your return, TurboTax will pay you the penalty and interest as well as amend the return at no additional cost.

To file with TurboTax Live, it costs $149.99* for federal taxes, and an additional $36.99 for your state taxes. Considering the level of professional oversight this offers, TurboTax Live is well worth the price.

Click here to get started filing with TurboTax Live.

*Note that this pricing is for a limited time—TurboTax products are discounted to reward early filers and will go up later on in tax season.

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About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former English teacher and respected personal finance blogger. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her engineer husband and two high-energy little boys. She has written four books: The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now. Emily's thoughts on parenting and life in general are found at The SAHMnambulist.