TurboTax consistently offers a top of the line tax preparation software experience, and in 2017 it once again exceeded expectations.
On top of its signature easy to use interface and robust tax help, TurboTax enhanced the software with some basic machine learning and the option to have your tax reviewed by CPA. Unfortunately, for many users the robust features come at too high of a price to make the software worthwhile.
Should you use TurboTax to file taxes in 2017? We will help you decide.
If you're shopping around for TurboTax, once again Amazon has special pricing that's the best we've seen for TuboTax 2017. Check out TurboTax on Amazon here.
- Easy To Use, Great Import Options
- Higher Price Points Compared To Other Options
- Free Filing Limited With EITC, Consider H&R Block Instead
TurboTax 2017 Navigation
By far the most impressive new feature in TurboTax was the enhanced guided navigation system. People who have used TurboTax in the past will find that all of their employment, personal, and tax credit information is saved in the software.
TurboTax will only ask a few questions to see if you need to add or get rid of certain information. This helpful bit of machine learning converts an interview process that can take up to 30-40 minutes into a quick five minute exercise.
New users will still walk through a series of easy to understand questions, but even they can cut down on the interview time by selecting the relevant options at the beginning.
Anyone who prefers self-guided navigation will be excited to learn that TurboTax has reorganized the software to make it easier to navigate than ever. Users can jump from section to section using the menu at the top of the screen, but TurboTax also makes it easy to re-enter the guided mode if you get lost.
I was also impressed that the search option gave detailed instructions on how to input certain information. In fact, in many cases, TurboTax offered direct links to the part of the software that I needed to use.
TurboTax Ease Of Use
Once again, TurboTax is well ahead of the curve when it comes to ease of use. The navigation keeps most users from becoming confused, and they have built in definitions to help clarify murky sections of the tax code. TurboTax makes their software easy to use by keeping the language in the software at an eighth grade level.
However, the features that I appreciate most about TurboTax are the easy to use import options. You can import W-2 forms using a photo application, and TurboTax connects with a variety of banks and investment institutions to import your 1099-INT and 1099-DIV forms.
Self-employed people or landlords who use QuickBooks to run their business will appreciate the ease with which they can import income and expenses for their business.
TurboTax Knowledge Base
TurboTax’s knowledge articles are very focused on how to enter information in the software system. These are important and well-written articles, but they lack some of the depth that other top software companies provide.
However, TurboTax has an impressive community of users who answer some surprisingly complex questions. If you ever Google search a tax question, TurboTax's community likely comes up as a top answer.
One feature that has historically separated TurboTax from the pack is the unprecedented access to tax and product advice for all paying customers. Unfortunately, TurboTax changed the access levels this year. TurboTax allows all users to submit questions to the TurboTax forums, but you must be a paying customer to get one on one product help from a TurboTax specialist.
This year, TurboTax only provides one on one tax advice if you’re paying for their highest price product, TurboTax Live.
TurboTax 2017 Plans And Pricing
TurboTax maintained their pricing plan from 2016 which includes the AbsoulteZero option for people with only a 1040EZ/1040A submission.
Everyone else will need to pay for both Federal and State filing. It’s also important to note that if you purchase TurboTaxLive, a CPA or EA (tax preparer) will manually review your tax return before you submit it - so while it's a high price, that could be a great value depending on your situation.
It's also important to note that, while we try to ensure these prices are accurate, they are subject to change throughout the season. Let us know if you're seeing any differences in pricing.
Once again Amazon has special pricing that's the best we've seen for TuboTax 2017. Check out TurboTax on Amazon here.
1040EZ or 1040A
Maximizing Tax Deductions & Credits
Investors & Rental Property Owners
Business Owners, Side Hustlers, Contractors
Anyone who wants a review from a CPA or certified tax preparer
Users can also upgrade to a “MaxDefend” for an additional $59.99. With MaxDefend, you’ll get audit assistance from a tax specialist if you get audited.
While this is a valuable protection if you have very complicated taxes, it’s an expensive upgrade. If you’re considering MaxDefend, you may want to look into hiring an accountant instead.
Who Should Use TurboTax 2017?
This year, I think TurboTax Premier offers great value for landlords and dividend investors. Likewise, Self-Employed people who use QuickBooks will love the easy integration.
I would recommend not upgrading to TurboTaxLive unless you find something exceptionally complicated as you’re completing your return. It’s a great option to have in your back pocket, but I doubt it’s worth the extra $60 because TurboTax is already a very easy to use software.
People who qualify for the AbsoluteZero pricing, should definitely take advantage of the low cost for an excellent software product, but please be careful. The AbsoluteZero product does not look for Earned Income Tax Credits, Dependent Care credits and other important credits for people on the lower end of the income scale. You will be better served by using H&R Block 2017 More Zero for this instead.
However, we think it's one of the best truly free tax software currently available.
TurboTax 2017 Review
TurboTax 2017 is one of the best options for most filers in terms of features and pricing.