TurboTax Review 2024: One Of The Best Overall Tax Software Options

turbotax review 2023

TurboTax is the market leader in online tax preparation services and we just finished our early look testing and review of their 2023-2024 tax software options. Going into 2024, TurboTax remains the most popular tax preparation software for several reasons.

While it’s not the cheapest option for do-it-yourself tax preparation, it offers an industry-leading user interface that’s easy to navigate and supports nearly any tax situation. 

While it’s more expensive than other online and desktop tax prep programs, it remains our top pick due to its intuitive user interface, extensive integrations with financial institutions, and options to upgrade for varying levels of support from a tax professional.

Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of TurboTax to help you understand if it makes sense for your needs. Also, check out how TurboTax compares in our annual list of the best tax software.


TurboTax Review

Quick Summary

  • Easy to use, robust tax filing experience 
  • Works well for investments and small business returns
  • One of the more costly online tax preparation apps 

TurboTax Details

Product Name

TurboTax

Federal Price

Starts at $0
(For simple tax returns only with Free Edition)

State Price

Starts at $0

(For simple tax returns only with Free Edition)

Preparation Type

Self-Prepared and Expert Help

Promotions

None

TurboTax – Is It Really Free?

TurboTax Online offers free filing for limited users with simple taxes. Households with W-2 or Social Security Income only qualify for the free tier. Bank interest is also allowed, along with dividends not requiring Schedule B. Itemized deductions require upgrading. The Free filing option also allows filers to claim the Child Tax Credit, Student Loan Interest Deduction, and the Earned Income Credit.

TurboTax’s Free tier is limited to simple tax returns only – many taxpayers will not qualify. Tax returns with HSAs, child care expenses, charitable contributions, unemployment income, other income, deductions, or credits won’t be able to use the Free edition.

The next tier, TurboTax Deluxe, costs over $100 for Federal and state filing combined. 

Try TurboTax Free (simple tax returns only) here >>

Related: Best free tax software this year

What’s New In 2024?

TurboTax 2024 officially launches in December, and tax filing season usually opens in January. You can start working on your taxes early, but the IRS doesn’t usually accept returns until late January. Because of last-minute changes from the IRS, it may be best to hold off until the IRS begins accepting returns to start doing your taxes.

After a few years of significant tax changes related to the 2017 Trump Tax Changes and COVID-19 related programs, tax changes for 2024 filing (for tax year 2023) mostly focus on higher limits for deductions and credits due to inflation. 

Here are the biggest changes to look out for: 

  • The standard deduction increased by $900 for married filing jointly households and $1,400 for heads of households.
  • The Advanced Child Tax Credit has reverted to a standard credit, similar to before the COVID pandemic. The credit is $3,600 for 2023 taxes.
  • Child and Dependent Care Credits returned to pre-COVID limits.
  • Form 1099-K will go to a wider number of small business owners, including side hustle online sellers using eBay, Etsy, Airbnb, and similar platforms.
  • The Solar Energy Credit is increased to 30% if you buy eligible products, such as solar panels and solar water heaters.

Two years ago, we also saw the addition of TurboTax Full Service, where you can hand off your tax return to a tax pro for full-service preparation. It remains one of the easiest ways to get your taxes done online if you’re willing to pay a premium price.

For 2024, TurboTax is a top contender for best tax software.  Last year, TurboTax was also selected as Best Tax Software to Maximize Deductions, Best For Cryptocurrency Traders, Best for Virtual Tax Preparation, and Best for Tax Advance Refund Loans. TurboTax was also named runner-up in several categories. 

Does TurboTax Make Tax Filing Easy In 2024?

TurboTax is the leader in easy-to-use tax software. It offers hundreds of integrations designed for every kind of filer. In many cases, you can connect directly with your bank, brokerage account, and even some cryptocurrency accounts to automatically download and calculate taxes for those accounts.

Rideshare drivers can connect their app to TurboTax to download income data for their taxes. Depending on your employer, you can look up and download your W-2 information without typing in any financial data. When you have a PDF version of a tax form, you can typically upload it into TurboTax, and the app will automatically add information from the form where needed.

The things TurboTax doesn’t automate are kept simple with clear guides for nearly every tax form and supported tax scenario. The software uses easy-to-understand questions to guide users through complex filing rules. With robust examples, plenty of information pop-ups, and a quick-search system, users are likely to get through filing without much confusion, even if they don’t have an accounting background.

turbotax review 2024: DIY vs expert help vs taxes done for you

TurboTax Top Features

TurboTax is perhaps the easiest, most robust tax filing software today. Its user experience is second to none. Here are some of its top features.

Question And Answer Guidance

TurboTax uses a simple question-and-answer model to guide users through the software. The questions are phrased so users don’t get overwhelmed when answering. If you get stuck or don’t know what something means, you can click a pop-up to get more information or search for the term or form from the top navigation bar.

turbotax review expert assistance

Expert Tax Assistance

TurboTax has a pricey upgrade option that allows filers to work with a certified tax expert. TurboTax Live users can have their questions answered by tax experts, ensuring accurate returns. This can be a nice feature for people who think they have taxes under control initially but later find out they’re in over their heads.

If you’re midway through your taxes and decide you want or need help, you can upgrade anytime by accessing tax support for your questions or having a tax pro take care of your entire tax return.

Tax Form Integrations

TurboTax has hundreds of official integration partners. When you get a W-2, 1099, or 1098 from these partners, TurboTax can connect and download information from the employer or financial institution. These integrations can speed up the time it takes to complete your tax return and prevent manual error if you make a typo.

In addition to these integrations, TurboTax connects to QuickBooks, Uber, Lyft, Square, and other sources to simplify self-employed filing. When direct connections are not supported, you’re still often able to upload a PDF version of your tax form for TurboTax to process.

Cryptocurrency Support

TurboTax is the first leading tax software to partner with cryptocurrency exchanges and crypto accounting software programs. Coinbase users can directly import transactions from their accounts. People who use hardware wallets, CoinLedger (formerly CryptoTrader.Tax), CoinToken, and other official partners can also import data easily.

If you trade, invest, or transact with cryptocurrencies, you could easily have hundreds or thousands of transactions yearly. Manually entering that would be tedious and extremely time-consuming. Depending on the cryptocurrency account software you use, you may connect to TurboTax directly or have to download and import a spreadsheet, such as a CSV, XLS, or XLSX file.

Related: How Taxes On Cryptocurrencies Like Bitcoin Work

Low Jargon

TurboTax makes tax filing simpler by cutting out unnecessary tax jargon. Info bubbles and explainers make it easy for anyone to use more “complex” features, such as depreciation or expense calculators. Real estate investorssmall business owners, and side hustlers can likely navigate their tax returns without a professional.

Tax Calculators

TurboTax offers excellent calculators for retirement contributions that flag issues when filers accidentally over contribute to retirement accounts. You can also use TurboTax to calculate depreciation expenses, where applicable.

TurboTax Drawbacks

TurboTax offers excellent tax software designed to make filing easy for nearly everyone. With TurboTax, even filers with complex situations should be able to file independently. However, this software comes with drawbacks, notably related to cost.

Paid Tiers Are Expensive

TurboTax is the most expensive mainstream consumer tax software. Users who appreciate TurboTax’s features and integrations may decide the software is worth the added price. Plus, it can be difficult to know which tier you need if you’re an inexperienced filer. There are a lot of stories of people who thought they qualified for free, only to end up paying a lot to file their taxes.

Some people may find suitable tax software from a competitor at a lower price.

Limited Free Filing

TurboTax’s Free filing is limited to people with W-2 and Social Security income. Those with HSAs and deductible child care expenses won’t qualify for the free filing option. If you start through the IRS Free File portal, you can’t upgrade to a paid version, so be careful where you sign up and start working on your taxes.

Added Fees For Audit Support

Audit support is included with TurboTax Free. However, users who have to use the Deluxe level or higher will need to pay for MAX support to get this benefit, which costs $60. This costs more than the price of the FreeTaxUSA software, which includes audit support, and about three times as much as H&R Block’s tax software audit support. 

TurboTax Price And Plans

TurboTax has four pricing tiers, with additional tax situations supported in higher-cost tiers. Prices between the tiers increase sharply, but some groups will still find the software worth every penny.

Note: TurboTax recently combined its Premier and Self-Employed tiers into a single plan, called Premium. Premium covers self-employment and investments, including stocks, bonds, ESPPs, crypto, and rental property income. Pricing for the new Premier plan is listed in the chart below. 

Plan

Free

Deluxe

Premium

Best For

W-2 income, Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC) and child tax credits (Limited interest or dividend income)

Itemizers, HSA contributions, People with child care expenses 

Landlords, investors, self-employed

Federal Cost

$0

$69

$129

State Cost

$0

$59 per state

$59 per state

TurboTax Live (Federal)

$99

$139

$219

TurboTax Live (State)

$54

$64 per state

$64 per state

TurboTax Full Service (Federal)

$219

$269

$409

TurboTax Full Service (State)

$54

$64

$64

TurboTax tends to adjust prices throughout the tax season, with discounts available at certain points of the year. December and January are generally the best time to lock in low rates. The steepest discounts tend to go away by March. Filers who wait until April typically pay the most.

How Does TurboTax Compare?

TurboTax is a leader in usability and functionality, but the superior experience comes with a premium price tag. TurboTax includes very little with its free tier, and the next tier clocks in at over $100 when including a state tax return.

In many cases, filers don’t need everything that TurboTax offers. Less expensive solutions such as TaxSlayer or FreeTaxUSA often make more sense than TurboTax. 

However, TurboTax is the number one choice for crypto traders, stock traders, rental property owners, and small business owners who can benefit from its usability.

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Turbotax Comparison
Turbotax Comparison: H&R Block Online
Turbotax Comparison: TaxAct
Turbotax Comparison: TaxSlayer

Rating

Stimulus Credit

Free+

Free+

Free+

Free+

Unemployment Income (1099-G)

Deluxe+

Free+

Deluxe+

Classic+

Student Loan Interest

Free+

Free+

Deluxe+

Free+

Import Last Year’s Taxes

Free+

Free+

Free+

Free+

Snap A Pic of W-2

Free+ (other imports also available)

Free+

Free+

Not Available

Multiple States

Up to 5

Not Free+

Not advertised

Classic+

Multiple W-2s

Free+

Free+

Free+

Free+

Earned Income Tax Credit

Free+

Free+

Free+

Free+

Child Tax Credit

Free+

Free+

Free+

Classic+

Dependent Care Deductions

Deluxe+

Deluxe+

Deluxe+

Classic+

HSAs

Deluxe+

Deluxe+

Deluxe+

Classic+

Retirement Contributions

Free+

Free+

Free+

Free+

Retirement Income (SS, Pension, etc.)

Free+

Free+

Free+

Free+

Interest Income

Free+ (Limited Income)

Free+

Deluxe+

Classic+

Itemize Deductions

Deluxe+

Deluxe+

Deluxe+

Classic+

Dividend Income

Free (Limited Income)

Deluxe+

Deluxe+

Classic+

Capital Gains

Premium

Premium+

Premier+

Classic+

Rental Income

Premium

Premium+

Premier+

Classic+

Self-Employment Income

Premium

Premium+

Self-Employed

Classic+

Audit Support

Included with Free, all others must upgrade

Worry-free audit support add-on only

Not Offered

Premium+

Small Business Owner (over $5k in expenses)

Premium

Self-Employed

Self-Employed

Classic+

Free Tier Price

$0 Fed &
$0 Per State

$0 Fed &
$0 Per State

$0 Fed &
$39.95 Per State

$0 Fed &
$0 First State

Deluxe Tier Price

$69 Fed &
$59 Per State

$55 Fed & $49 Per State

$46.95 Fed & 
$41.21 Per State

$34.95 Fed & $39.95 Per State

Premium

$129 Fed & 
$59 Per State

$75 Fed & $49 Per State

$69.95 Fed & $41.21 Per State

$54.95 Fed & $39.95 Per State

Self-Employed Tier Price

N/A; See Premium Plan

$115 Fed & $49 Per State

$94.95 Fed & $54.95 Per State

$64.95 Fed & $39.95 Per State

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How Do I Contact TurboTax Support?

TurboTax users can access multiple levels of support. For basic software-related questions, you can select the ‘Help’ icon from the software menu to open the “TurboTax Assistant.” From there, you can ask questions and find relevant help articles. 

“Live Assistance” from enrolled agents or CPAs is available for a higher fee. TurboTax Live gives you access to tax professionals for questions beyond the software. If you have questions about your tax situation, this is the plan you would need if you can’t solve them yourself.

If you want an expert to handle everything from beginning to end, you can now choose TurboTax Live Full Service and hand off your tax documents to one of TurboTax’s professional tax preparers.

Is It Safe And Secure?

TurboTax is a leading software company focusing heavily on data privacy and security. It encrypts all customer information at rest and requires multi-factor authentication.

Although TurboTax employs industry-standard security measures, it’s still highly targeted by hackers seeking personal and financial information. The company updated its security measures in response to a vulnerability exposed in a January 2021 cyber attack.

Where To Buy TurboTax

We recommend you use the online version of TurboTax tax software rather than using a disk and installing it on your computer. Your data is usually safer online in a secure cloud managed by TurboTax owner Intuit. Online tax information is always saved as you go. If your computer crashes mid-way through preparing your return, you will retain all your hard work.

TurboTax Online: The easiest way to buy TurboTax is through their website. You can select the plan that works for you, or you can start at any level, and you’ll be given the option to upgrade if your tax return requires those features. You only pay when you file, so try it risk-free to decide if you like it before you buy.

Amazon: Amazon offers an Amazon Exclusive where you can get a Federal and State return with one Federal e-File included. Check out the Amazon deal here.

Retail Stores: Many stores will also carry TurboTax for at least a few months of the year, typically from December through April. You can find TurboTax downloads and CDs at Target, Costco, Walmart, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, and other retailers.

Is It Worth It?

TurboTax consistently sets the standard for tax software usability. It’s easy to use and motivates you to push through to the end. More importantly, TurboTax’s partnerships and integrations automate large portions of the tax filing process for many users.

TurboTax would be the top choice for nearly all filers if it weren’t for the cost. Lower-priced options like TaxSlayer Classic and FreeTaxUSA may be better for those on a budget. 

We recommend H&R Block Premium as a solid alternative for side hustlers and the lowest tier version, which is more robust than what you get for free from TurboTax. 

We recommend TurboTax as the top choice for landlords, cryptocurrency investors and traders, and most stock investors. People with complex tax needs often agree that saving time is worth the extra cost.

Get started with TurboTax here >>

TurboTax FAQs

Here are some common questions we get about TurboTax every year:

Is TurboTax Free?

TurboTax offers a free tier that is relatively limited. Some users may find that they need to upgrade to higher tiers.

Can TurboTax Online help me file my crypto investments?

Yes, TurboTax has a built-in integration with Coinbase that allows a direct import of all transactions from Coinbase. It is also an official partner of CoinLedger (formerly CrypoTrader.tax) and allows imports from sources like CoinTracker.

DoesTurboTax offer refund advance loans?

TurboTax is offering refund advance loans up to $4,000 this year. Refund advance loans are paid into Credit Karma Money checking accounts. Funds are accessible through the Credit Karma Visa® Debit Card or online banking. The loans are 0% interest loans and are repaid automatically as soon as the IRS refunds your money. Virtual cards are available instantly. Physical cards arrive in a week or two.

Does TurboTax offer any deals on refunds?

TurboTax Online software isn’t currently advertising any specific refund deals. However, certain downloadable software packages from Amazon advertise a 3% refund boost when users accept their refund on Amazon Gift Cards.

Is TurboTax Better Than H&R Block?

It depends. We found H&R Block to be better for cost and does a better job than most competitors in terms of usability. TurboTax includes an easier user interface, though, and it can make tax filing easier and faster. Your tax return results should be nearly identical with either.

TurboTax Features

Federal Cost

  • Free Edition: $0
  • Deluxe: $59
  • Premium: $129

State Cost

  • Free Edition: $0
  • Deluxe: $59
  • Premium: $59

Audit Support

Included with Free, everyone else is $49.99 for Audit Defense

TurboTax Live

  • Free Edition: $79 federal; $44 per state
  • Deluxe: $119 federal; $64 per state
  • Premium: $219; $64 per state

TurboTax Live Full Service

  • Free Edition: $199 federal; $44 per state
  • Deluxe: $249 federal; $64 per state
  • Premium: $409; $64 per state

Tax Extension

Yes (Free)

Import Tax Returns

Yes, PDFs or tax data files

Unlimited Amendments

Yes

Self-Employment Income

Yes, with the Premium Tier 

Itemize Deductions

Yes (Deluxe+)

Deduct Charitable Donations

Yes (Deluxe+)

Customer Service Options

Help Center, Live Assistance From Tax Pros, Full Service

Web/Desktop Software

Yes

Mobile Apps

No

Promotions

None

Editor: Claire Tak Reviewed by: Robert Farrington

The post TurboTax Review 2024: One Of The Best Overall Tax Software Options appeared first on The College Investor.