TurboTax

Turbo Tax software and online tax preparation has been the #1 tax software and online filing program for several years. TurboTax is made by Intuit, a company with over 20 years experience in the tax preparation software business. Intuit specializes in small business taxes, so they know the needs of the software novice regarding some complex tax issues. The company also makes the widely used Quicken software. The following ratings are culled from software and user reviews and rated out of 10, with 10 being the highest:

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Navigation and User friendliness: 10
TurboTax tax preparation software and online filing has user-tested navigation designed from experience. The filing process proceeds in an intuitive, linear fashion. There may be problems with clarity, as there is with any software or internet product. Some of the "save" terminology has confused some users. On the whole, Turbo Tax is very clear and informative with videos, animations and more.

Ease of Setup: 10
Turbo Tax features an easy link to updates and is very, very easy to install.

Feature Set: 10
Turbo Tax sets industry standards. It allows you to import previous years' financial data from Quickbooks, TurboTax, Quicken, Microsoft Money and other programs. The "audit defense" feature flags entries that might trigger an audit. Turbo Tax compares deductions to other years. It calculates for you, enters figures properly then double-checks for errors. Turbo Tax Premier deals with more complicated topics like stocks and bonds, retirement planning, rental property depreciation and more.

Help: 10
TurboTax Premier has one of the most extensive help sections available on the market for tax preparation. It includes audio and video explanations of tax-filing concepts and recent tax law changes. A tutorial helps you import tax and financial data.

Effectiveness: 9
TurboTax guarantees accuracy 100%: "If you pay an IRS penalty, or interest because of a TurboTax calculation error, we'll pay you the penalty and interest up to date."

Price:
Turbo Tax does have a free file option for those who qualify.

Online: 1040EZ is $5.95. Turbo Tax web basic, $19.95. Premier is $29.95 (federal only).

Software: Turbo Tax basic is $29.95
The Deluxe version is $59.95.

Summary: 9
Turbo Tax products are popular because they're easy to use, with multimedia instruction and other features. Other programs may be more accurate, so if you care about getting a maximum return you may want to look around. For some tax filers, TurboTax may give too much information.

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