Turbo Tax 2012 Review and Premier/Deluxe Giveaway

Turbo_Tax_2012_Review_Giveaway_Premier_DeluxeI’ve been using Turbo Tax to file my taxes for several years now so I thought it would be appropriate to review their product.  Last year, I debated over whether or not to hire a CPA but ultimately decided on using Turbo Tax again.  Although my taxes have gotten more complicated over the years, I’ve always been a big do-it-yourselfer(see: cheap) so naturally I hate the idea of paying someone to do my taxes.

My W2 income is pretty standard(even with itemized deductions) but the main reason why I considered hiring a CPA was due to the fact that I’m an independent contractor for my second job.  But since that income was less than $10,000, I didn’t think it would be worth it to hire a CPA.  I ended up consulting a friend in the tax business who helped me out with my business deductions.

Giveaway

Through another good friend at Intuit, I was able to acquire 3 free copies of Turbo Tax Premier($87 value) and 2 free copies of Turbo Tax Deluxe($67 value) for my readers.  There are several ways to enter to win a copy so please use the Rafflecopter entry form below.  On to the review:

Which Version Should You Get?

Turbo Tax offers their product in two forms: CD/Downloadable or Online Version.  Both products are similar but the online version is completely free until you file.  It’s also kind of neat being able to save all your documents online and work on your return from wherever you want.  Seeing as how everything is going on the cloud these days, I would recommend the online version.

From there, it gets a little trickier as Turbo Tax offers several different options based on your filing status and tax situation.  I think picking the correct option is probably the toughest part but here’s a rundown straight from Turbo Tax’s website:

Turbo_Tax_Options_deluxe_premier_home_business_basic

I chose the Home & Business version since I technically own my own business for my second job.  But most people should be just fine with the deluxe edition.  The premier version gives you everything the deluxe has plus a little extra help with the investments and rental properties side.

Worth The Cost(or Lack of Cost)?

The prices listed above do not reflect the cost for state e-file which is $36.99.  I think the price of Turbo Tax is relatively fair and although I know there are some cheaper options available, you often get what you pay for.  Turbo Tax basically guides you through the whole process and makes it pretty tough to make a mistake.  Even if you itemize, there are cool features like the charitable deductions wizard that allows you to enter the items you donated and it gives you the value you can deduct.

If you’re looking for more face to face interaction, then tax software is probably not for you.  Although Turbo Tax does a great job guiding you through the process, you still have to do most of the work.  I like their customer support options though, since you can get help from live online chat, by phone or on their online forums.

Best Features

  • Turbo Tax allows you to import prior year’s tax returns(even if it’s from another company) and it will show you comparisons to last year as you’re doing your taxes.
  • You can import all your tax forms from financial institutions like ADP, TD-Ameritrade, Vanguard, etc.
  • All of their online versions are free up until the point where you actually file.

If you’re on the fence about trying it out, you’re in luck since there’s no risk with the online software.  You can complete your entire tax form and you won’t have to pay a single cent until you actually file.  It might also be a good way to check up on the work of your CPA or other service that you may be using.  If you end up getting a nice return, go do whatever you want with it: spend it, save it in your bank account or use it.

I don’t have too much negative to say about Turbo Tax since I’ve been using it for so many years.  But there are certain situations in which you need to be careful about your return.  I almost made a mistake when it came to my employer stock purchase plan since my discount amount was reported as income on my W2 and my 1099 from Fidelity reported the same amount as a capital gain.  I had to go in and manually correct the amount paid on my 1099 from Fidelity otherwise I would have paid income tax plus capital gains tax.  It’s situations like these that you need to be careful of when going with tax software.

If you’d like to sign up with Turbo Tax, do so below(affiliate link) or just enter to win my giveaway!

Readers, have you ever used a tax software like Turbo Tax?  Or do you prefer face to face contact with a CPA or tax professional?  Or is there another option I’ve never even heard of?

-Harry @ PF Pro

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Hi, I'm Harry, the owner and head writer for Your PF Pro. I started this site back in 2011 in order to create a place where young professionals could come and get all of their financial questions answered. On the site, you'll find articles on everything from asset allocation for retirement to saving money at Chipotle! So enjoy..

Comments

  1. Bichon Frise says

    A CPA is worthless for 99.5% of us. We used to hire one b/c of our business. But, then we got audited from a blatant mistake made by the CPA and she wanted $250/hr to “represent” us in the audit. Of course, there was nothing to argue and I just ended up paying the difference plus penalty. Not to mention, the hardest part about doing taxes is gathering all the crap together, which you have to do if you have CPA or you don’t.

    I’ve met a lot of smart people in my life, and I’ve met a lot of dumb ones as well. A lot of the smart ones are Doctors, Dentists, lawyers, plumbers, CPA’s. A lot of the dumb ones are Doctors, dentists, lawyers, plumbers, CPA’s.

    • says

      Wow that sucks that the CPA made a mistake and then wanted more money to defend you. I bet a lot of people assume that a CPA will defend you for free should you get audited but I doubt that is the case. I’ve heard that a lot of CPA/tax professionals use software anyways that’s pretty much exactly the same as Turbo Tax so you are paying more for their knowledge of the tax law/code than anything else.

      And I agree with your last statement haha.

    • says

      Thanks John, haven’t tried H&R Block but I’m sure it’s pretty similar. The thing is I don’t need a CPA to do my taxes on the straight and narrow(I can do that), I need one who knows where to push the limit on deductions and things like that. I feel like that would be valuable but I’ve had trouble finding one haha.

  2. says

    I’ve used TurboTax for over 13-years (something like that). We have two businesses and one is a Day Care and TT has handled all of the particulars quite well.

    And like Bichon said, you have to collect all of the records regardless.

    For an extra bit of safety I have signed up for TT’s audit defense option. I believe that is about $45 and they will represent you if your return is audited.

    cd :O)
    ChrisCD recently posted…January CD Rate UpdateMy Profile

    • says

      That’s a good point, if you forget to hand over a couple 1099′s that’s your problem anyways, not the CPA’s. I don’t wanna jinx it or anything but I feel like it would be kind of fun to get audited haha. I want to see what happens and what they look for, I’ve heard they will generally be able to solve it over the phone or by e-mail and you end up paying whatever you missed plus a small penalty. I’d like to know for sure exactly what happens.

  3. says

    My taxes are pretty basic so I’ve stuck with Turbo Tax for years – I like its convenience and that you can go back to working on it if you have to, versus making sure you have all your stuff together when seeing a CPA. Would the giveaway be good for next year, too? :)
    anna recently posted…Lake Tahoe, CaliforniaMy Profile

    • says

      Yea that’s a good point. Unfortunately I believe these codes are only good for this year but ill try and have another giveaway again earlier in the year next time around.

  4. Kelly says

    I always use the free H&R Block website and really like it. It is fairly basic but very intuitive and easy to use. One thing I’d love to find is if anyone knows of an online program that can accept Schedule K-1s.

      • Kelly says

        I know! But the K-1 we’re dealing with just says $0 – after reading the tax rules, I have to list it but it doesn’t change anything so I don’t want to pay extra for a form to just type in 0. Driving me nuts! Last year free fillable forms worked out. This year not happening. Time to suck it up and buy a version I guess.

  5. says

    I’m actually planning on filing by paper if I can’t get FreeFileFillableForms to stop barfing on my XML lol since I’m too cheap to pay for TurboTax.

    I’ve used a CPA in the past, but it’s not worth the money ($200-600) for what I get when I can do it myself for far cheaper and way less effort when most of it is just collecting all of the papers and doing data entry and fun math!
    Leigh recently posted…February 2013 net worth update (+2.2%)My Profile

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