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TurboTax Free and Paid Options Review: File Accurate Returns Quickly

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Tax time is never fun, but the right software can make it a little easier. Intuit’s TurboTax software lets you prepare and file your taxes with guaranteed accuracy — Intuit will even pay any IRS penalties or interest if there’s a calculation error. Intuit TurboTax is also guaranteed to maximize your refund.

Here’s an overview of how this tax preparation software works and what you can expect with TurboTax free and paid options.

What Is the TurboTax Software Program?

TurboTax business and personal programs can streamline the process of filling out and submitting tax returns. Taxpayers can use TurboTax to file their tax returns electronically and reduce the risk of an audit. All returns filed using TurboTax, both online and via software, are backed by the Audit Support Guarantee, which gives users free one-on-one support from a trained tax professional.

How TurboTax Works

You’ll use TurboTax to prepare your tax returns instead of completing the forms manually. You can use the online version, download the software to your computer or purchase the program on a CD.

TurboTax asks you a series of questions about your marital status, dependents, income and expenses, and it uses your answers to fill out the forms and determine the deductions to which you’re entitled. TurboTax imports your income information from W-2s and other important tax documents. The software then does the math to calculate your returns, and it allows you to e-file your tax returns directly with the IRS and state department of revenue for speedy acceptance. Once you’ve filed your returns, you can track their status with the TurboTax mobile app.

TurboTax Free vs. Paid Options

Users can sign up for free to complete and file simple tax returns using IRS form 1040EZ or the 1040A. The free version includes the Audit Support Guarantee, access to your credit score and an import of last year’s tax return from another tax prep company. Just upload a picture of your W-2 form to get started.

It’s free to start a return using TurboTax Deluxe, Premier or Self-Employed or TurboTax Live, but you’ll pay a fee to file. Here’s how much each version will cost you:

All versions except the free one charge extra for filing a state return. You can add the tax advice and professional review included in TurboTax Live to any other version for an additional fee. State tax advice is free.

Customer reviews give TurboTax 4.7 out of 5 stars, and many users report they enjoy the ease of use, expert guidance, support features and high degree of accuracy. These benefits and the range of versions make TurboTax an attractive choice for individuals who prepare their own tax returns.

Related: Tax Mistakes Everyone Makes — and How to Avoid Them