TurboTax is arguably the name in personal tax preparation software, and its developer—Intuit—charges accordingly. You’ll pay top dollar for this one unless you qualify for the free version, but users and experts alike seem to think it’s worth it. It scores kudos in almost every category, from user experience to being able to import a good many employer tax IDs.
You can take pictures of your W-2s and 1099 forms rather than type in all the information they include, risking typos and mistakes. It can lift potentially tax-deductible expenditures directly from your bank account and categorize them, add them up, and input them accordingly. The software will search more than 350 tax deductions and credits to see if you qualify.
TurboTax offers experts to chat with if you use the online version and get confused or otherwise hit a brick wall. It also has a “SmartLook” feature that will put you face-to-face with a tax expert, and it offers audit support. And if TurboTax makes a mathematical goof? They’ll pay all associated IRS penalties on your behalf. They also offer free audit support.
So how much will all this cost you? $50 for TurboTax Basic as of January 2020 if your tax situation is pretty simple, although this doesn’t include a state return. And a free product is available for certain eligible taxpayers.2
The cost to e-file is free as well for both state and federal returns…at least for the time being. You can expect this to increase when tax season gets underway.