TurboTax Review – 2008 Tax Software Product Review

December 11, 2008

TurboTax review

TurboTax review video below looks at the benefits of Intuit’s latest tax filing software, TurboTax 2008.  Here is a summary of the video and my experience with TurboTax.

Easy Tax Returns & Big Refunds

Intuit has two main goals with TurboTax, to make it easy to use and to get you the biggest possible refund so you’ll use the software to prepare and file your taxes again next year. 

The video first addresses the refund aspect:

“Average federal refund for the TurboTax customer, $200 more than the national average.”

When you’ve finished completing your return, the TurboTax software shows a chart or graph that compares your refund to the national average.  I don’t know that I was $200 higher the last time I used TurboTax but I do remember the graph showing my refund was somewhate above average.

TurboTax Deductions

Of course TurboTax can’t create deductions for you out of thin air, the software simply asks you the right questions to make sure you don’t miss any deductions.  As the video says, TurboTax walks you through 350 possible deductions. 

Ease of Use

The TurboTax review video at the end of this post suggests that you can finish your federal return in under an hour using the software.  I know it took me longer than an hour but that’s because I entered my federal return while watching a college basketball game on TV so I was a bit distracted.  Then I went back over it the next day just to double check everything.

TurboTax is easy to use, just make sure you gather all of your tax forms together before you get started.  At that point it’s just a matter of answering the questions and entering your information.

TurboTax Software Versions

The TurboTax review video mentions that the software is:

“easier than ever for the 60% of people who have a pretty straight forward tax return”

Intuit tries to address the different needs of those people by offering different versions of TurboTax, here is how Intuit describes the right user for each version:

Free Edition – (1040EZ & Simple Returns) If you have a simple tax return, TurboTax Free Edition is the easy way to do your taxes

TurboTax Deluxe – If you own a home, made donations, or have medical expenses

TurboTax Premier – If you own stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or rental property

TurboTax Home & Business – If you’re a sole proprietor, consultant, contractor, or single-owner LLC

TurboTax eFile

According to the TurboTax review video all products now include federal efile, which is nice. I actually setup a separate bank account that I use just for paying taxes electronically, that’s the account that I setup through TurboTax for my eFile.

TurboTax Experience

I used the TurboTax Deluxe Edition for years, then moved to the Home and Business version once I started my eBay business.  Until last year, when I hired someone to do our taxes for the first time, I had used TurboTax to prepare and file ever since we’ve been married.  In my experience TurboTax does help you take all your different deductions into consideration and is pretty simple to use.

Click here to give TurboTax a try.

Click the Play button on the video below for the TurboTax overview from Intuit (Give it a minute to load):



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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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11 Responses to TurboTax Review – 2008 Tax Software Product Review

  • Challee Challoo

    Oh there’s more grief with TurboTax 2008 than you have mentioned. I have used TurboTax for over 12 years.

    In this version, I am required to register or face constant nagware. I don’t like sending my personal financial information to anyone, not even Intuit. (Most identity theft comes from database theft at institutions like Intuit).

    Then, even though I plunked down $100 for the software, I get a mandatory ad asking if I want to pay an additional $9.95 for an additional return! I haven’t even done one return yet, and this ad always pops up!

    Updating requires updating to the current version of Microsoft .NET (which can take a day to do). Since I don’t use .NET, I had to manually update with a 71 Mb download from the Intuit website, each time.

    Downloading and installing a state return is full of hassle, too.

    Each year, the program is worth less and less to me. Last year there were no provision to deduct self-employed healthcare taxes and account for MSA’s. I had to manually fill out additional forms.

    What will I not be able to do this year? Who knows. I got so sick of the ads and nagware I returned the program and bought TaxCut.

  • David

    TaxCut offers you the ability to do your taxes yourself, with access to an H&R Block tax professional should you have qustions. With TaxCut you get one complementary session included with your software purchase. You also get audit protection (live assistance) when you e-file; this is not a self-service website

    Speaking of e-file, with TaxCut you also get 5 free federal e-files (the maximum allowed by the IRS).

    To compare TaxCut to Turbotax visit the H&R Block website:


    David James
    H&R Block TaxCut

  • Brian

    I have been using an accountant for about 6 years. Prior to that I did my own returns. I enter some of my info into turbo tax online last year as a test, but our taxes were pretty complex, thus the need for an accountant. However, this year they are not as complicated, however I tried the home and business version of TurboTax to pre-input my 2008 tax info. It was Very simple and I found it quite useful. For anyone who is used to doing their own tax returns and that is somewhat knowledgeable, I feel that this software can be used as a replacement or supplement to a tax advisor.

    It is very simple to use and I like that you have the option to go through the “wizard” or select a category yourself.

    Eric, I’m glad to hear that you are proactive with your clients. I have never been pleased with our accountant as he is never able to answer any of my questions in lamens terms and is certainly not proactive. However, we’ve been stuck with him for years because he does my wife’s business taxes.

  • Eric J. Nisall

    I couldn’t agree more, Ben. I call clients throughout the year to check up on their plans, and specifically starting in October I’ll call with questions to find out if there is anything that can be accelerated into the current year like a mortgage payment due in the beginning of January or a college tuition payment for the first semester of the following year (which can be paid and deducted early) or even grouping medical expenses to make them itemizable. There are so many little nuances to the tax code, and although an amended return can be filed if missed opportunities are found at a later time, it is so much easier to take care of it the first tie with the help of an experienced professional.

  • Ben

    Eric, I agree with you that the software is a backwards looking tool rather than a forward looking tool. TurboTax helps you identify deductions you qualify for from the previous year, it’s focus isn’t on tax planning for the next year.

    There’s no reason a person couldn’t hire a tax advisor for tax planning advice and still use TurboTax to prepare their taxes. This is what I did for several years before I hired my tax planner to prepare my taxes as well.

  • Eric J. Nisall

    Being an accountant, I’ve always taken issue with such products for their lack of advising ability. I do believe that they can be helpful for those who have simple returns such as a W-2 or two, some interest and dividends, but nothing much more complicated. Products such as these are only after-the-fact utilities, which is to say that they only help with the preparation of taxes. They cannot help you to tax plan before the end of the year, nor can they provide you with tips or insight for making tax-conscious decisions during the year in order to get into a better tax position.


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