There is such a thing as free when it comes to tax filing services, and one of them is the TurboTax Free Edition. TurboTax Free allows you to do a trial run to help you decide later on whether or not you need to purchase the more complex plans they offer.
It is tax season again, and to be honest, filing tax returns can get a little challenging especially to those who are not that familiar with the whole thing. Well, actually, even those who have been doing it for the longest time still find it mind-boggling sometimes.
Although you have a choice to hire someone – an expert perhaps – to do the work for you, in most cases, it can get a little pricey. Thus, many choose to do it themselves.
Thanks to digital technology, and companies whose mission is to help make filing tax returns a breeze, today, we have so many tax filing software or services to choose from.
However, just like most things in the world today, it comes with a price. Some are cheap, while the better ones are – well, obviously – expensive. But at the end of the day, you just got to choose the one with value for money.
But the good thing is companies like Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, which is one of the most popular online tax filings service providers today do have the TurboTax Free Edition. In our point of view, it is like a stepping stone – using it will give you the “feels” of using their services. Eventually, when you find it fitting for you, you can always upgrade to their other plans.
So, having mentioned the TurboTax free file, we are going to look into it today. We will dig down what the free version offers, and hopefully be able to gauge whether it’s right for your needs or not.
Basically, we are going to tackle the following points:
- What is TurboTax?
- What is the TurboTax Free Edition?
- What are the features available on the TurboTax Free edition?
- What tax forms does TurboTax Free edition support?
- What are the technical requirements of TurboTax Free?
- How to file through TurboTax Free Edition?
- What do customers say about the TurboTax Free edition?
If you are ready, let’s begin.
WHAT IS TURBOTAX?
TurboTax is one of the most popular tax filing software today. It is owned by Intuit, a massive accounting and tax services firm that employs more than 9,000 people all over the world. Intuit is also known as the maker of the famous financial software called, Quickbooks.
Anyway, TurboTax is not your usual mom-and-pop tax accounting firm. In fact, Intuit has generated more than $6 billion in revenue in 2018 alone.
TurboTax offers different types of online products depending on your needs. This includes:
– TurboTax Free Edition
TurboTax Free Edition offers very simple services. Later on, we are going to talk about this plan further.
In the meantime, if you want to know more about TurboTax Free and how to go about it, here’s a video from TurboTax Canada. Rest-assured this video is very helpful and will make you understand better how to use TurboTax Free services.
– TurboTax Deluxe
Of all the company’s existing plans, this seems to be their top-selling service.
For an annual fee of $59.99, as a deluxe plan owner, you get to take advantage of the following features:
- Deduction Finder, which allows you to search through over 350 deductions to ensure you’re minimizing your tax liability.
- Guidance for Homeowners. This allows homeowners to benefit from important deductions, including mortgage interest as well as property taxes.
- This is an intuitive app that lets you track charitable contributions throughout the year, and then automatically import the donations right into your TurboTax return. This app is ideal for those who regularly attend church, and give tithes on a weekly basis.
- On-Demand customer support. As a Deluxe account holder, you will have access to one-on-one customer support in case you encounter any issues or questions while you are on the tax preparation process.
– TurboTax Premiere
If you have more complicated tax situations, the TurboTax is ideal for you. When we say “complicated tax situations,” this includes owning rental properties, as well as investments. This plan costs $79.99. It includes all features of the Deluxe plan plus supports filing cryptocurrencies transaction paperwork.
– TurboTax Self-Employed
As the name of the plan suggests, it is ideal for self-employed individuals, freelancers, contractors, small business owners, etc. This plan is priced at $119.99 for federal returns.
This plan includes easy integration with Quickbooks and offers a wide variety of business-specific tax deductions like travel and entertainment expenses, tax deductions, and many more. TurboTax will search over 450 different types of business deductions to lessen your tax liability.
As a TurboTax Self-Employed tax filer, you also get to enjoy having peace of mind for any errors as these experts will help review your tax returns before submitting it.
– TurboTax Military Edition
This is a specialized plan that specifically caters to any member of the military. This edition provides free filing service with Free and Deluxe editions for ranks E1 to E5.
Meanwhile, if you rank E6 and above, you can take advantage of a $5 discount across all TurboTax products.
By the way, while the plan pricing differs, filing state taxes is the same for all at $49.99 per state.
WHAT IS THE TURBOTAX FREE EDITION?
As we have mentioned earlier, the TurboTax Free Edition basically offers simple services.
Although in theory, this means filing federal and state taxes. However, in reality, to qualify for the free edition, your tax situation has to meet the requirements stated below:
- W-2 income only. This basically means if you are filing taxes beyond the standard W-2, you will need to avail of any of the higher plans they offer.
- Limited interest income from 1099-INT or 1099-DIV
- Standard deduction only. To be able to avail filing taxes for free via TurboTax, note that you are only able to claim the standard deductions, which means you might miss out on any potential deductions like unreimbursed business expenses, as well as charitable contributions.
- Earned-income tax credit (EIC). This is only applicable if you qualify for EIC.
- Child tax credits. If you’re claiming child tax credits, you may also opt to use the Free Edition.
Using the TurboTax Free Edition comes with a lot of limitations. For instance, you won’t be able to file for free using TurboTax if your current tax situation is affected by any of the following items:
- Itemized deductions
- Rental property income
- Business and 1099-MISC
- Stocks and investment transaction forms
- Special credits and deductions (This includes mortgage interest from form 1098 as well as a student loan interest from form 1098-E.)
WHAT ARE THE FEATURES AVAILABLE ON TURBOTAX FREE EDITION?
As stated on the TurboTax website, here are what you can expect when using the TurboTax Free Edition:
For Simple Tax Situations
- Get Your Maximum Refund, Guaranteed – TurboTax is committed to ensuring you get every dollar you deserve. Thus, the guarantee.
- Complex Life, Simplified Taxes – Since TurboTax is personalized, all you need to do is to answer simple questions about life to get every tax deduction and credit you deserve.
- Taxes are No Longer a Mystery – TurboTax keeps you updated on your tax refund or tax dues as you go. Its feature, ExplainWhy provides you with personalized insights for you to be able to fully understand your taxes.
- Tax Credits for Your Dependents – TurboTax will show you who qualifies as your dependent. In addition, you will also find tax-saving credits such as child tax credits, and Earned Income Tax Credit or EIC.
- 50% Done in a Click – If you are a returning customer, TurboTax will transfer information for FREE, which allows you to save time. They also ensure your free tax return is accurate.
In addition, if you have major life changes like buying a home or having a child, TurboTax makes sure you are informed of how it will affect your taxes.
Help and Support
- You get unlimited access to the TurboTax community where you can ask questions particularly about how to do your taxes.
- TurboTax Live Basic is also available if you need advice from a tax expert. However, if you will file, you will need to pay $50 to continue using this feature.
Furthermore, TurboTax guarantees that all its products are easy-to-use and accurate.
WHAT TAX FORMS DOES TURBOTAX FREE EDITION SUPPORT?
As compared to the paid ones, TurboTax Free Edition supports the following forms only:
- 1040 – U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
- Schedule EIC – Earned Income Credit
In addition, here are the other forms and schedules that the free edition support:
- Form 1040-ES – Estimated Tax for Individuals
- Form 1040-V – Payment Vouchers
- Form 1040X – Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
- Form 1095-A – Health Insurance Marketplace Statement
- Form 1099-DIV – Dividends and Distributions
- Form 1099-INT – Interest Income
- Form 1099-OID – Original Issue Discount
- Form 1099-R – Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement, etc.
- Form 1310 – Statement of Person Claiming Refund Due to a Deceased Taxpayer
- Form 14039 – Identity Theft Affidavit
- Form 2120 – Multiple Support Declaration
- Form 2210/2210AI – Underpayment of Tax/Annualized Income
- Form 4506 – Request for Copy of Tax Form
- Form 4852 – Substitute for Form W-2 or 1099-R
- Form 4868 – Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File
- Form 8332 – Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents
- Form 8379 – Injured Spouse Allocation
- Form 8453 – U.S. Individual Income Tax Transmittal for an IRS E-File Return
- Schedule 8812 – Additional Child Tax Credit
- Form 8822 – Change of Address
- Form 8857 – Request for Innocent Spouse Relief
- Form 8862 – Information to Claim Certain Refundable Credits After Disallowance
- Form 8863 – Education Credits
- Form 8888 – Direct Deposit of Refund
- Form 9465 – Installment Agreement Request
- Form W-2 – Wages and Tax Statement
- Form W-4 – Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate
- Commonly Filed Tax Forms and Schedules (new forms for 2019)
WHAT ARE THE TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE TURBOTAX FREE?
For your reference, here are the minimum operating systems and browsers requirements per TurboTax official website:
|Windows 10.x||Windows 8.1||Windows 8||Windows 7|
|Chromium default browser||Chrome|
|Mac OS X 10.15.x (Catalina)
|Mac OS X 10.14.x (Mojave)
|Mac OS X 10.13.x (High Sierra)
|Mac OS X 10.12.x (Sierra)
|Mac OS X 10.11.x (El Capitan)
|Mac OS X 10.10.x (Yosemite)
|Mac OS X 10.9.x (Mavericks)
|iOS 9.x||Android 4.x||Chromebook|
|Safari||Chrome default browser||Chrome|
HOW TO FILE THROUGH TURBOTAX FREE EDITION?
TurboTax is known for its ease of use. In fact, a lot of people go for this brand because it is very user-friendly as compared to other tax filing services out there.
Now, to file via TurboTax, all you need to do is:
First, answer simple questions about life. Yes, this is part of the process. This basically helps TurboTax do the math for you.
You will be asked if you basic questions like do you own a home, what you do to make a living, as well as other details about you and your family.
By answering such questions, TurboTax is actually making things easier for you.
Second, you will need to upload your W-2. Unlike other online tax filing services, with Turbotax, you do not need to input every single information. In fact, all you need to do is take a photo of your W-2, verify your data, and be still and “watch as your information securely uploads into all the right tax forms” You see, it’s really very convenient!
Lastly, your satisfaction is guaranteed. As stated in their website, “TurboTax gives you the power to get your taxes done right with your maximum refund, guaranteed. You’ll prepare your taxes online for free and pay only when you’re ready to print or e-file.”
You see, in just three very simple steps, you are spared from all the hassled and bustles of filing tax returns. Now we know why TurboTax is considered as one of the best online tax filing services today. It definitely lives up to its words.
WHAT DO CUSTOMERS SAY ABOUT THE TURBOTAX FREE EDITION?
We are sharing some of what customers say about the TurboTax free file program. This, hopefully, will give you an idea of the product based on actual users’ experience.
I have used TurboTax for the last 8 years because I love the navigable, user-friendly process. I always file feeling confident that TurboTax has checked for every credit and deduction possible. Thanks for making the filing process painless. If only paying taxes could be as pain-free!
I am a single individual who really appreciates the free tax filing, and on top of that, it took less than an hour from beginning to end.”
I imagine the fact that I’m getting a refund helps my mood. Having said that, I waited until the last few hours to do my taxes and found TurboTax allowed for an expedient option for a procrastinator like me. See you next year.
I have used Turbotax for quite a few years and it is very simple and step by step. People will ask me, so you prepare your own taxes and I tell them yes anyone can with Turbotax, they guide you through everything. Thank You, Turbotax!
It was so easy, and I did not have to take the time to do all the calculating I had done when trying to do myself. I felt assured that I was not missing anything. I could not believe that I got over a thousand more back than I had figured. By paying the $19.99 I knew that I had it on file and would not have to be looking through all my papers.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON TURBOTAX FREE EDITION
Overall, we have to say that the TurboTax Free Edition, although it has its own set of limitations, is still a great choice especially for people who have basic tax filing needs. It definitely will help you save a lot of money!
More so, the free edition is also a good way to start. Eventually, if you need to file more kinds of tax forms, you can always upgrade to their plans. Although is it’s evidently more expensive as compared to its competing brands, it shouldn’t matter because you are, after all, paying your money’s worth.