File Taxes for Free with TurboTax Online Software

nofollowHow do you plan to file your taxes this year?  Do you plan to file your taxes yourself, or pay for the services of a professional?  A few years ago I would have never have chosen to file my taxes myself and I had an extremely straight-forward tax situation.  Why did I feel this way?  Well, let’s say I wanted to reduce the risk of making a mistake and paying for it later.  That’s reasonable, right?

However, I decided to give tax filing a try and I chose to use TurboTax Online software.  I chose TurboTax because it’s the most well-known tax software and I knew I could trust it because of all the positive reviews it’s received.  Overall, I’ve been pleased with it and have found tax filing easy and enjoyable.  Enjoyable?  Actually, filing income taxes myself has been enjoyable because it has provided me an opportunity to learn more about deductions, credits and the entire tax filing process.  I guess that’s pretty cool for personal finance junkies.  :)

I thought I would share a few of the advantages I’ve personally found in using TurboTax.  There are many more that I won’t be able to share in this post, so I’d recommend giving it a close look yourself.  You can try out TurboTax completely free and only pay when you’re ready to file.  So, if you aren’t confident in your results, or feel like TurboTax doesn’t meet your needs, you can walk away without ever paying a penny.  That’s a nice risk – free offer that Turbo Tax provides.

Advantages of Using TurboTax Online Software

Software for Every Situation

Turbo Tax offers a wide variety of versions of their software to meet your needs.  You can file your taxes absolutely free with their basic edition.  The Deluxe version is for people who have kids, make donations, own a home and need to deduct medical expenses.  Premier is for those who have investment or rental property.  Home & Business (what I use) is for those who have a small business they need to consider along with their regular income.  Business is for Corporations, Partnerships and multi-member LLC.

As a side note, I used a CPA to file my taxes for my online business last year because I felt I need an expert to help me with my business deductions.  I paid a lot of money for this service.  Much more than expected.  Long story short, I came back to Turbo Tax this year and found that it was easy enough to file my own business taxes given the intuitive nature and instruction that’s included within the software.

Helps You Find Deductions

TurboTax asks me about all the common deductions as I move through the tax filing process.  I remember my dad sitting around the kitchen table filing out tax forms.  He must have invested a lot of time in thinking about all the possible deductions for his taxes.  But, TurboTax asks you about the deductions, so you don’t have to remember all of them, or conduct a lot of research on your own.  The software knows which deductions to ask you about based on the information you enter.  So, it becomes smarter as you go through the process.  You can also research possible deductions within the software.

Provides Step by Step Guidance

The days of sitting down at the kitchen table and completing out all the tax forms are long over.  TurboTax provides step by step guidance for their online system starting with entering your personal information – then income, then deductions, etc.   You don’t have to be confused about the process.  Just follow the guide that walks you through everything.  You can also see a running total of how much you owe, or will receive in the form of a refund.  The nice thing about this process is that you’re answering questions that are easy to understand.  Turbo Tax fills out all of the complicated tax forms behind the scenes.

Error Checking

Once your taxes are completed, TurboTax performs error checking on all your information to make sure you haven’t omitted anything that is required by the IRS.  It also tells you how likely you are to be audited for your particular situation.  This feature was a big relief for me.  I don’t have to worry about accidentally forgetting to include certain information, or be concerned as much about an audit based on my situation.

Help Center

You definitely want to make sure you can get questions answered during the tax filing process.  TurboTax has plenty of options here which includes a phone number to call, forums and online chat.  If you’re on the fence, I encourage you to start using the online software for free and test their Help Center.  This was another feature that helped me decided to do my own tax work.  While you’re entering the data in Turbo Tax, you’re hardly alone with these support tools.

Free e-File

You don’t have to worry about printing all the forms and mailing them to the IRS.  And if you are going to get a tax refund, you’d probably want it deposited into your checking account as soon as possible.  TurboTax makes it easy to efile or submit your taxes electronically.  The best part is you can file completely free with TurboTax if you have a simple return!  This e-file feature alone has helped us get any refund deposited into our checking account earlier in the year.  This year I received my tax refund in less than 2 weeks.  Amazing!

Accuracy Guarantee

You can have some peace of mind when using TurboTax because they guarantee their results.  In fact, if there is a mistake caused by the software, they will pay the penalties.  This is straight from the TurboTax website:

If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculation error, we’ll pay you the penalty and interest.

Disadvantages to Using TurboTax Online

I wish I could share a few disadvantages to using TurboTax as I feel like this would be a more well – rounded review.  However, it’s really difficult to think of any.  Perhaps the only disadvantage is you’re still not sitting next to someone who can openly talk about taxes with you and help you with a personal tax strategy.  But personally, I think such meetings with a tax professional are more important for the small business owners out there or those who have really complex situations.  If you need tax strategy, pay to meet with a CPA for a couple of hours and then consider filing your own taxes yourself.

Have you used TurboTax Online?  If so, please let us know about your experience in the comments.

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About Jason Price

Jason Price is a family man saved by grace, passionate about faithful financial stewardship (1 Cor 4:2 NIV), soccer and the Pacific sun.

  • Steve

    I think if your tax situation does not change greatly between tax seasons, you are alright completing your taxes yourself following the prior year’s return as a guide. But if there is something significant that you are unsure about, going to see a CPA is a good ideal.

    • Jason Price

      Steve, thanks for the comment. I couldn’t agree with you more!