- TurboTax 2012 (for the 2012 tax year) expected release date: Early-December 2012.
- Turbotax 2011 released on: December 5, 2011. Link to free trial.
- TurboTax 2010 released on: December 2, 2010.
TAX TIME! TurboTax is the deduction facilitating, overtax annihilating, return augment-tating software package from Intuit. There’s really only one competitor in the space to TurboTax and that’s H&R Block at Home (formerly Tax Cut), but let’s be honest. “H&R Block at Home” sounds like a mouth full of marbles and isn’t nearly as snazzy sounding as TurboTax, which thoroughly dominates sales and reviews for the tax return preparation software vertical.
So what can you expect?
First TurboTax will walk you through your year, asking common sense, plain-language questions about events that may affect your return. Icons and explanations are very thorough and make sure you don’t miss important details that could work in your favor.
TurboTax will then assess business and personal income. The software will walk you through the previous year in the following categories: Business Income & Expenses, Rentals & Royalties, Business Credit, Sale of Property & Equipment and Business Taxes. On the personal front, TurboTax will walk you through income represented by: 1099 INT – Interest earned, 1099 DIV – Dividends, 1009 G – Tax Refunds, Unemployment Benefits, etc, Tax Exempt Interest, SSA 1099 Social Security, 1099 R – 401(k), IRA’s, Jury Duty and Gambling Winnings. TurboTax misses nothing and for a do-it-yourself software solution, it’s kind of elegant in its dogged pursuit of every nugget of data that can benefit you.
- Live Community – answers tax questions in the cloud from users and professionals.
- Advisory Tools – detailed explanations on any topic at every stage of the process.
- Easy Guide – simple answers for questions you may not even know who to ask.
- Life events – works through big events that change the financial landscape (home, kids, divorce).
- Tech support – free via phone or live chat.
- Import investment information from multiple formats.
- Reports for capital gains.
- Define cost basis for stocks, 401(k) maximization, employee stock programs.
- Depreciation calculations for rental property.
- Directly import W-2 or 1099 from participating formats.
Home & Business:
- Import investment information directly from your financial institution.
- Investment profits & losses carried over to future tax returns.
- Stock cost basis calculation.
- Stock compensation calculator (if offered by employer).
- 401(k) Maximization helps manage retirement planning and reflects contribution changes.
- Rental deductions for landlords.
- Best depreciation model options for property.
- Refinance deductions.
- Help with setting up rental properties.
Our review of TurboTax
TurboTax began as the creation of Michael A. Chipman, who originally developed the software for his company ChipSoft, which was acquired by Intuit in 1993. TurboTax walks you step-by-step through preparation of your tax returns and provides some functionality to purchase audit defense services from outside vendors.
There’s TurboTax Deluxe, Business and Premier versions, and it works for both Federal and State returns. There is even a TurboTax for Canada, complete with a French-language version, which I assume has deductions for hockey-related injuries. Maybe the best thing to say about TurboTax comes from a FreeMoneyFinance blog review “TurboTax is a highly competent piece of software with what can only be described as a delightful user experience.”
TurboTax now has versions completely online and in the cloud. This is handy if you want to sidestep any OS or version issues, use your iPad to interface with the software or you just like having an uncluttered hard drive. The online and cloud versions of TurboTax are seamless and offer largely the same functionality you get with the desktop versions.
Rundown of desktop product versions per the 2011 release:
- TurboTax Basic – for straightforward filings
- TurboTax Deluxe – own a home? childcare expenses? educational or medical expenses? charities?
- TurboTax Premier – rental property taxes? multiple stock and bond transactions?
- TurboTax Home and Business – for S-Corps, Partnerships and LLCs with less than 250,000 in annual revenue and employ less than five people. You can use the software if your company is bigger than that, but must produce a spreadsheet in addition.
Compatible with: Windows XP SP2+, Vista (32-bit and 64-bit), Windows 7 and Mac OSX 10.4+
Online product versions are available under the same names (same explanations as above). Online versions are compatible with: Internet Explorer 8+, Firefox 3+, Safari 4+ (Adobe Flash 9+ and Acrobat Reader 7+ required)
The eFile is included in all versions. When you complete the federal return, the data can transfer to the state return from any of the online TurboTax software. The state products come in really handy and make filing a breeze. You can also import the data from Quicken into all the TurboTax versions.