TurboTax Review – Tax Preparation Software
Turbo Tax has its fair share of problems, but I have not yet found a tax preparation program that has no faults, it simply seems that some have more problems than others. Turbo Tax is a fine piece of software that will allow you to complete your tax returns if you are a private citizen or a self employed person. If I had to give an opinion, I would say that it is a good tax preparation program that is overpriced and promises a little more than it can deliver. Nevertheless, it is still a good program that you should consider if you are not too happy with the tax preparation program you used last year.
What Does TurboTax Do?
TurboTax is a piece of tax preparation software with a reasonably good user interface and a comprehensive help system. TurboTax is not cheap, but it is not extortionately expensive either, so like dating a hot lady with eczema, you have to take the rough with the smooth.
The program takes you through the process in simple stages that uses a format that Intuit TurboTax started, and that many other tax-preparation programs now follow. One of the ways it makes life easier is to ask you questions about your life and then apply what you reply to how your tax return is set up. For example, if you answer that you have no kids, then it doesn’t prioritize the sections of your return that concern dependent children.
TurboTax – Pros
- TurboTax has a less formal approach. When using the software, you feel that it has a friendly tone and style. It doesn’t feel formal or businesslike.
- The less-than-formal tone and style does not slow you down. TurboTax is still an efficient program that you may use to complete your tax return as quickly as you for comfortable.
- TurboTax has a help section that covers a massive number of tax topics. You have to remember that the US tax code is over one million words long, so it pays to get as much help as you can.
- The user experience is rather good, especially when you consider how it has been narrowed and made more sparse over the years to make it cleaner and more user-friendly.
- TurboTax has a streamlined feel, and it makes tax preparation a little more understandable, though it still requires a fair amount of tax knowledge because the program is not going to do it all for you.
- There are little links and tabs that open up larger windows that are full of details and information. They may help you complete your tax return a little faster.
- TurboTax asks for greater details when you are completing your tax return, which is an inconvenience, but it is helpful if you are ever audited.
- This program is good for citizens and for self-employed people. The program will also move pertinent data into your state return too.
- Turbo Tax searches over 350 tax deductions with the aim of maybe lowering your tax bill. One of the benefits of having people buy their new version every year is that newer tax deductions are added in.
TurboTax – Cons
- TurboTax is more expensive than most tax preparation programs. If you liked the program you used last year, and if the one you used last year was cheaper, then forget trying TurboTax.
- You should always prepare your tax returns long in advance of the due date, but some tax preparation programs force your hand because sometimes they slow you down to the point where you may be late if you try to rush. TurboTax has been known to freeze for a day or two, so complete your tax returns a while in advance.
- TurboTax does not warn you if sections are incomplete because there are times when you can submit a return even if vital tax elements are missing.
- Every now and again, the company gives the impression that you may file for free, and yet they charge you money from your checking account for filing.
- Turbo Tax is slow to accept and then fix errors on their own part. For example, many people have complained about filing errors when filing jointly. Turbo Tax always says it is a user error, but if so many people are making the same mistake, then it is up to Turbo Tax to make it clearer and easier to understand within their program so that it is harder for people to keep making the same mistakes.
- The company needs to find a better and more proactive way of protecting people from crashes. Even a web browser freeze may result in a user losing a portion of what he or she has already inputted. This is annoying at best, and is negligent at worst because people may submit incomplete tax returns while honestly believing that they entered all their information correctly. There have also been problems with syncing, which is annoying.
- Turbo Tax should be hauled up against a judge for their claim of “Maximum Tax Refund Guaranteed.” At the very least this claim is false advertising. There is no way that they can guarantee you will get your maximum tax refund. The US tax code is the most confusing and incomprehensible of any country on the planet. It is over 1 million words long, and it has so many vague points that Money Magazine proved that 25 different tax accountants can come up with 25 different estimates and all 25 of them are correct. The sheer unneeded complexity of the US tax code is the reason why Turbo Tax (nor any tax preparer) can guarantee you get your maximum tax refund.
- At the time of writing, they say they have 294440 reviews, but the reviews are hosted on their own website, which means they can happily edit and curate them. What is the point of companies putting testimonials and reviews on their own website when any thinking person knows not to trust them? I would love to see all the negative reviews they received that they did not publish.
Fees And/Or Charges
The image below shows the fees and charges that TurboTax has in the year 2017. As you can see, their prices are on the expensive side. Do not be too taken in by their Free Edition because it isn’t. I tried it and had to pay a number of fees. The lowest price we paid on the “Free” version was a $14.99 fee, which is the total amount that one of our researchers paid. Are you truly able to use the software and file for free? If so, then leave a comment, but we couldn’t find a way to do it. In the conclusion, I mention that TurboTax makes grand and unprovable claims when they are marketing, and their “Free” claim is one of them.
The Functions Or Benefits Of TurboTax
- They stay up to date with the most recent tax laws, which is one of the few advantages of having customers buy a new subscription every year.
- TurboTax is like most online tax preparation systems where it allows you to file returns online and then have any tax refund sent to your checking account.
- They do some of the work for you by asking you certain questions about your life and then setting up the system so that you enter the information most relevant to your situation.
- Help getting credits for your dependents is available with some subscriptions available with TurboTax. The program helps you find tax-saving credits.
- The process is mostly done online, and you may enter your information via a web browser, which means you may complete your tax return from anywhere.
- You can go at your own pace and the software will save your work as you go. Plus, once you finish your tax return, you may have the software transfer information over to your state return to help save time.
- TurboTax has access to a large database that contains over one million companies, and this database allows the TurboTax software to automatically import your W-2 or snap a photo of your W-2.
Conclusion – Is TurboTax Right For Me?
If you push me into a corner, paint my butt in turkey gravy and threaten me with a hungry pitbull, then I would say that TurboTax is a good company that you should try, but that doesn’t mean I am head-over-heels in love with the company. I think it has three faults that need to be addressed before I become a flag-waving supporter of TurboTax.
Firstly, they are a little overpriced, and I know you pay for what you get, but I think they could offer their streamlined interface and smooth GUI for less than what they are charging.
Secondly, they should take better care of the people who have problems and who are suffering audits because of things that TurboTax could have helped people avoid. The same problems appear again and again on user review websites, and the response from TurboTax is less than groovy.
Finally, I think TurboTax makes a few claims that are a little too big, too unprovable, or even a little misleading. I think they should dial back their advertising a little and stop their grand and unprovable proclamations, such as their claim that they can get you your maximum tax refund. Otherwise, TurboTax is a fine company, and is probably something that Chris Tucker should have considered using before he started avoiding taxes.
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