I've always used Turbo Tax to file my taxes except in 2017... BIG MISTAKE.
Long story short, we ended up having to pay $7,000 because we decided to take our taxes to a local CPA firm and they made some very costly mistakes for us. I found out later that if we filed through Turbo Tax, we would've only paid $1,000.
I'm sure like most of you during this time of the year, I am thinking of how I will be filing my taxes and without a doubt, I will be using Turbo Tax again. This post explains 5 Reasons Why.
1) Easy To Re-Do Forms
I used to do my taxes by hand. That was a wonderful way to learn the tax code and become familiar with the 1040 and the various schedules and forms. But every time I remembered something new I could deduct, I had to go back and re-do at least one form. That was getting to be a serious pain.
With Turbotax, I just log-in, change one number, and the program changes a half-dozen other forms instantaneously. Very cool! In fact, this simple feature allowed my state tax return to be done in something like 2 minutes. Too bad they couldn’t do that with my very complicated federal tax return.
2) Imports Last Year's Tax Return
This year was the first time I used Turbotax two years in a row. I was surprised how much stuff you get to skip the second time.
Addresses, sources of income, deductions, bank account numbers…anything that remains the same year to year is imported directly in.
3) All The Right Questions Are Asked
Although I've been working in the finance industry for almost a decade and am fairly aware of the tax codes than most people, I still forget which questions I need to ask myself when it comes due to filing my tax return.
I absolutely love how Turbo asks all the right questions in a understandable way. There is so much jargon in this industry and I dont know about you, but I do not have the time and energy to have to Google every vocabulary term to ensure I am filing everything correctly. By asking all the right questions, Turbo Tax makes certain that you get every possible tax deduction aka get as much money back as possible!
4) Computers Add Better Than I Do
It’s not that I’m bad at math. I always received good grades in math, at least until college calculus. But when you have dozens of calculations, all dependent on one another, one little error screws up everything else.
It shouldn’t surprise you that Turbotax makes fewer math errors than I do (none that I’ve noticed so far.) Aside from having an inaccurate return, possibly losing me money or even triggering an audit, miscalculations also mean I have to do re-do more forms, which can be immensely time-consuming.
5) Automatic E-Filing
It’s no secret that the IRS and your state tax commission wants you to e-file. It’s easier for them, easier for you, more accurate, and you get your refund faster. That process is literally a click of the mouse with Turbotax. You don’t have to deal with your state website, or fill out any new online forms.
No printing, stamping, addressing, walking out to the mailbox etc.
If for some reason you WANT to paper file, you still can. Perhaps if you owe money you might be able to delay their withdrawing it from your bank account by a few days by doing so. Turbotax even has an option where you can do your tax return now, and have Turbotax file it automatically in April without you ever thinking about it again (which I recommend if you owe money.)
6) You Most Likely Only Need the FREE Version
Turbotax makes a lot of money off up-selling. They have a Deluxe edition they recommend for those who itemize their deductions (Schedule A.) They have a Premier edition for those with rental property or investments. They even have a Home & Business edition for small business owners.
There’s even a cheaper option- FREE. It won’t import last year’s data (and it still charges you about the same for a state return), and if you need to file Schedules C (small business), D (Capital gains and losses), or E (Rental Property) you can’t use it. But it’s a great option for most filers. Unlike with the federal “e-file” program, there is no income limit to using it either.
So what does Turbotax cost? Here are their online prices:
The software version you either buy at the store or download is a few bucks more expensive than the online version, which I prefer for ease of use.
Flagship clients ($1 Million or more invested at Vanguard), get both Basic and Deluxe for free and Premier is only $10. The rest of us get the Basic Version for $15 Federal $28 State, saving you about $17. They charge a little more for the desktop version, of course. You can also buy it at a local store, or at Amazon. They only sell the download version though, and the price isn’t as good as you get through Vanguard. In fact, it’s barely better than what you can get directly at the Turbotax site. Either way, you’ll save hundreds compared to hiring a CPA to do it.
TurboTax have been around the longest and frankly are the number one seller for a reason. The bottom line here is that TurboTax has managed to come up with a great, user-friendly tax-filing software again and again. With the various levels of service available, it can work for nearly anyone.
As always, be sure you follow each step in the process and have TurboTax double check for holes you forgot to fill out. And if you have questions, ask. Get help from the support available through TurboTax, or take your taxes to a professional who will file them in person if things get really complicated. It’s better to pay a bit more to file your taxes on the front end than it is to risk a gross overpayment or an audit!
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