Turbotax: A Software Package to do Online Tax Filing

TurboTax was produced by Michael A. Chipman of Chipsoft in 1984 and was sold to Intuit in 1993. Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, has lobbied extensively against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), creating its online tax filing system like those that exist in most other wealthy countries.

Intuit addresses Canadian tax returns with an entirely different product, also named TurboTax but previously called QuickTax. The French version had retained its original name ImpôtRapide until 2017 when it was renamed TurboImpôt. It battles with H&R Block Tax Software and TaxAct.

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TurboTax Cost: TurboTax’s costs for federal returns have persisted the same for the 2020 tax year, though the cost of state returns has gone up to $5, to $50 each. The company is again offering its Free Edition (free federal and state for 1040 filers; it includes support for the W-2 form, the Earned Income Credit (EIC), and child tax credits). TurboTax Deluxe costs $60 for federal taxes. TurboTax Live Deluxe requires $120 ($55 per state filing).

Familiar Format: It works beautifully, saving time, easing frustration, and dramatically reducing errors. Instead of shifting your attention between Form 1040, related forms and schedules, IRS instructions, and third-party reference books, you go through the tax preparation screens one at a time in a logical order.

TurboTax’s last tax season questions: TurboTax injects some personality into its lengthy online interview. TurboTax and its competitors build them for you in the background. However, you do recognize expert help in worded explanations of tax concepts throughout the process.

A Unique Personality: TurboTax’s personality is on display from the start, even before you start filling in dollar amounts. It takes a conversational and friendly tone.

TurboTax entering data: You answer TurboTax’s questions by entering blank fields or selecting from drop-down lists of options. You can also browse and scan the bar code on your driver’s license to get that primary data entered. The service also investigates whether you need to subscribe to MAX Defend and Restore, which incorporates full audit representation, aid with identity theft monitoring and identity restoration, and priority care for $50 for the tax year.

A Clean, Lean Look: TurboTax has a vertical toolbar on the left side of the screen that divides the site into My Info, Review, Federal, State, and File. There are links to additional tax tools here, incorporating an outline of the site’s content and a searchable alphabetical listing of tax forms and schedules.

Providing the Details: The trail TurboTax Deluxe takes is comparable to the one you would get if you were working your way in the IRS Form 1040. It first questions about income, then deductions and credits, then other tax situations. Subsequently, it displays a list of all the income topics that might apply to you. Finally, you can ask to see the whole list, including Wages and Salaries, Unemployment, and Interest and Dividends.

Checking Your Work: When you’ve concluded your data-entry tasks, TurboTax Deluxe’s final review, CompleteCheck, reviews your return for accuracy. If it detects any errors, it serves you correct them. TurboTax Deluxe also gives pertinent data into your state return and reports to you about any additional entries you need to make there. Finally, you can pay and file.

Security: TurboTax security professionals work with the IRS and state revenue departments to check fraud. This dedicated staff is continually monitoring the site and conducting internal checks and external tests. Collected data is always encrypted, as is your return when it’s forwarded to the IRS and state agencies. In addition, the site supports multifactor authentication and Touch ID on its smartphone app.

Taxes on the Go: The TurboTax Return App is available for both iOS and Android. They offer the same tax topics available on the browser-based version, so you can prepare and file even a complex return using them.

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