TurboTax 2018 Review | Popular Online Tax Software

TurboTax is one of the most popular tax preparation software programs out there and for very good reason.

It offers a step-by-step process for preparing your taxes so you can rest assured that every I is dotted, every T is crossed, and every eligible deduction is taken.

They take care of yearly tax updates, making sure that their customers comply with the confusing and constantly changing tax code. All you need to do is decide which of their versions to use, then complete a series of question, and file.

Depending on the complexity of your tax situation, filing your taxes with TurboTax could take anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours—which is certainly far less time than you’d spend going it alone.

TurboTax 2018 Review

TurboTax is a product of Intuit, the same company that owns Mint.com and QuickBooks. They provide their software in both offline versions (CD or download) and in the increasingly popular online versions. I have used TurboTax in the past and I enjoy their product. Their excellent user interface can actually make the tax filing process even a little bit enjoyable.

Assurance of Accuracy

Their software is perfect for the person who feels fairly confident in preparing their tax forms, but who might need just that extra assurance of accuracy. While TurboTax has always offered taxpayers a double check of their information before filing, this year’s version of the program has a new feature known as CompleteCheck™, which delivers a comprehensive and streamlined review of your return, checking for any missing, incomplete, or conflicting information. The program then guides you through correcting those errors before filing.

In addition, TurboTax also offers a feature known as ExplainWhy™, which gives you a personalized and bite-sized explanation of your deductions, credits, and tax refund, so that you can understand your refund and feel confident that your return is done correctly.

Filing Quickly and Easily

Turbo Tax ReviewTurboTax software also 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. 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.

The TurboTax mobile app, which is available for iOS/Android, on both phones and tablets, allows you to access the full suite of TurboTax products anytime and anywhere. The mobile app offers a virtual assistant help system which allows you to easily view and search the FAQ section, as well as ask questions using a text-like program within the app. These questions are answered 24/7. Finally, Apple Pay customers can pay for their TurboTax prep with a touch of the fingertip on iOS.

Customer Support

If you require face-to-face time with a professional (as many taxpayers do), it’s not available with TurboTax. Other tax preparation software providers have physical branches where you can actually meet with a tax professional. While TurboTax does not offer that, there are TurboTax experts and credentialed CPAs or enrolled agents available on demand via one-way video to answer your questions while you file.

However, 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 that comes with real-time help and audit support, then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better product than what Turbo-Tax can offer you.

Find the TurboTax Product That’s Right For You

TurboTax Federal Free Edition (Free)

Taxpayers who file a 1040EZ, 1040A, or a simple 1040 may qualify for TurboTax’s free edition of their software, regardless of income. This version is very straight-forward: it 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 should not use this edition. This version comes with the same guarantees as the other paid versions. However, filers using the free edition do not have access to live support, although there is an expanded set of self-help tools available if you encounter an issue you are unsure of.

In addition, the state version of this edition is also completely free, meaning taxpayers with simpler financial situations can file all of their taxes for $0.

TurboTax Deluxe ($39.99)

This is the most popular TurboTax software that the company offers. It is aimed at the average taxpayer without investments, rental property, or self-employment income. This version will help you complete your itemized deductions and find available credits.

It also comes with ItsDeductible™, a feature that helps you determine the deduction value of donated clothes, household items, and other charitable donations; the Audit Risk Meter™, which gives you a visual indication of your possible audit risk; and the Audit Support Center, which entitles you to one-on-one guidance from a tax pro about what to expect and how to prepare in the event that you are audited.

You can add state filing to this edition for $36.99.

TurboTax Premier ($59.99)

The Premier edition offers you everything you get with the Deluxe software, plus support related to investments and/or rental properties.

With the premier edition, you are able to quickly import your investment data from various institutions. Taxpayers who are also landlords will find that this program helps you to quickly find deductions associated with your rental units.

You can add state filing to this edition for $36.99.

TurboTax Self-Employed ($89.99)

This edition—which was previously called the Home & Business edition—is newly retooled to be even more helpful for self-employed taxpayers. The program provides entrepreneurs, freelancers, and side hustlers with year-round service through QuickBooks Self-Employed. Here’s how it works: you can link your bank accounts and credit cards to QuickBooks, and the ExpenseFinder™ feature will scan and categorize your spending to find deductible business expenses that you might otherwise forget about.

You can add state filing to this edition for $36.99.

TurboTax Live ($149.99)

New this year, the TurboTax Live product combines the ease and convenience of doing your taxes at home with the reassurance of having an expert tax professional available to answer your questions and do a one-on-one review of your return. You get to speak directly with a tax pro via one-way video, so no worries if you're filing your taxes in your pajamas.

TurboTax Live has all the user-friendly interface and deduction-finding thoroughness you have come to expect from the company, and the always-available access to live professional help can help you feel confident in your filing. TurboTax Live even offers a 100% Accurate, Expert Approved Guarantee, which states that you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of an error that a TurboTax Certified Public Accountant or Enrolled Agent made on your return, TurboTax will pay you the penalty and interest, as well as amend the return at no additional cost.

With tax pros available in Spanish as well as English, TurboTax Live can help anyone feel comfortable doing their taxes at with live professional oversight.

You can add state filing to this edition for $36.99

Read our full review of TurboTax Live here.

TurboTax Guarantees

TurboTax didn’t become the leader in 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 commitment to their customers to not only be easy and 100% accurate, but to also provide the maximum 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 no harm in giving them a spin, if only to see what kind of refund you’ll be ending up with this year.

Get started with TurboTax today

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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.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. The Physician Philosopher says:

    I’ve always liked the turbotax software. It makes things pretty straightforward and convenient. While I think doing your taxes yourself teaches a lot, it can be a hassle and definitely takes longer for me than the time it is worth to simply pay Turbotax. Glad to know they’ve revamped some of their products, and look forward to using some of the more advanced products when I start making good money from my side hustles.

    Thanks for the review.

  2. Is there an “instant refund” option available ?

  3. Nice review, I actually just reviewed it too on my site and I love it.  I use Home and Business though as I own my own small business in addition to W2 income.  
    I’m actually giving away 5 free copies of premier/deluxe on my blog right now if that’s something your readers might be interested in.

  4. Stuff About Money says:

    I used to use it but switched to Tax Cut because it offers Schedule C reporting in an option with a lower price.

  5. Drew Martin says:

    Very easy to use. Money is better spent on a CPA though

  6. Deirdre Kiely says:

    Ditto. Helps break down the complicated tax nightmare.

  7. Wayne Steinhilber says:

    Used TT for the past fours years. No problems, no audits.