File Taxes Online with TurboTax

February 27, 2012

TurboTax is one of the most popular tax preparation programs these days. One of the best features of the tax software is it’s easy-to-use interface and the way it walks you through filling out your tax forms.

If you haven’t used TurboTax before, it starts by asking questions about your situation and helping you begin filling in your forms and pinpointing hundreds of deductions and credits. TurboTax used to be software you had to install on your computer but now with TurboTax online you can do it all over the web, and file your taxes using e-File. If you have used TurboTax in the past, your information from last year can be transferred easily to the forms for the current year.

New Features for TurboTax 2011

You can read our TurboTax review for more information on how the process works and some pros/cons. The software has added some new features for 2011, providing more help to those preparing their tax returns, that we’ll talk about here.

Tax Prep Help
You’ve probably seen it on a recent TV commercial but TurboTax is offering free one-on-one help to those preparing their taxes. As you prepare your taxes online, you can connect to a tax expert by clicking on the “Get Expert Help” button. You are then connected, free of charge, to someone who can answer your questions. You can be connected via live chat or over the phone. The hours for this service are seven days a week, from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific.

Audit Support
Another new addition for tax year 2011 is Audit Support. If you are audited by the IRS, the experts at TurboTax’s center can help you figure out why you were audited, and answer your questions about being audited. This service is available year-round. You can visit TurboTax’s Audit Support Center, and see your risk of audit with the help of the Audit Risk Meter. If you want a defense in an audit, there is a for-fee service that will help you represent yourself to the IRS.

TurboTax has also updated its various applications related to SnapTax. SnapTax allows you to prepare and file your taxes from your iPhone, iPad or Android phone. Realize, though, that more complicated tax returns are not going to be practical for SnapTax. This application is mostly for those with simple tax returns.

TurboTax Products

There are different versions of TurboTax products that you can use to prepare your taxes. The Basic version is the cheapest, and provides you with the ability to quickly complete your taxes. However, as your taxes become more complex, it is worth it to consider more advanced options. The Deluxe version adds helpful tools that can provide you with information on donation values, and alerts you to possible audit red flags.

TurboTax Premier is designed for those who invest, and who have rental property. This version is specifically designed to help you calculate gains and losses, to help you with rental property deductions. You can use the Home & Business version to help you boost your deductions, and even calculate depreciation. There is also a Business version of TurboTax designed  for those with a corporation, partnership or multiple-owner LLC.

Lastly there is a Free Edition for those with a really simple tax return, one of the ways that you can get a free eFile.

Comparing TurboTax Versions

If you’re trying to decide between two versions, like TurboTax Deluxe vs TurboTax Premier, you might want to go with the cheaper version because it’s pretty easy to upgrade into a higher version if you find you need features you don’t have access to. In the past, when you had to download and install TurboTax software on your desktop it was harder to upgrade, but now with Turbo Tax online it’s easier to upgrade.

If you’d like to try the tax software out but you’re not sure if you want to pay for it, you have some options. They don’t offer an official TurboTax free trial but that’s because you don’t actually pay anything until you go to file. So you can start your tax return online and see how you like it. If you decide it’s worth the money you can finish your return and pay when you file. There are also various ways to find TurboTax discounts that you can check out.

With the latest addition of free help for TurboTax customers filling out their tax forms, even those with more complex taxes can do it themselves. If you’re not sure if it’s a good fit, check out this post on using tax software vs filing a manual tax return. When you get stuck, it’s possible to connect with a knowledgeable expert who can help you through. Then, when your tax forms are complete, you can submit your return online.

For more information on the choosing the right version of TurboTax for you, click here.

Last updated by .

Miranda

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Miranda
Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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5 Responses to File Taxes Online with TurboTax

  • Jon

    I love Turbo Tax. I’ve been using it to do my taxes since back it came out on 3.5″ disks. Of course, one of my favorite features is its ability to import all the boring information from previous returns, saving me a ton of data entry time. I do “look under the hood” every once in a while, when I have some sort of odd tax situation, like when I took an obscure deduction available for hosting a foreign exchange student, or when I had rental property depreciation, or sometimes to correct a mis-entered item. It’s also nice to be able to run different numbers through the software, to see what your tax liability will be if you do a) or b).

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