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Install TurboTax before you plan on filing taxes — it gives you peace of mind to work out any technical difficulties and get used to its dashboard.  
Install TurboTax before you plan on filing taxes — it gives you peace of mind to work out any technical difficulties and get used to its dashboard.   (BestReviews)

Students, homeowners, and entrepreneurs all share one thing in common: they have to file their taxes. To make the job easy, many turn to Intuit's user-friendly TurboTax software.

TurboTax utilizes a combination of question-and-answer sections and fill-in-the-blanks. Provided you're accurate and honest with your information, filing is simple. Since TurboTax covers both state and federal filings, it's essentially one-stop software.

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With tax season just around the corner, we've put together this TurboTax software buying guide to help you find the best one for your needs. We're including our top pick, the Intuit TurboTax Deluxe + State 2019 Tax Software PC/Mac Disc, which guides homeowners through deductions.

Considerations when choosing TurboTax software

User-friendly

Let's face it: filing taxes can be complicated and intimidating. TurboTax uncomplicates the process by explaining tax lingo in plain language. The software seamlessly guides you through sections in a frustration-free way. You can even save your progress and return to it later.

Expert help

TurboTax employs a question-and-answer interview process to obtain all the information it needs for your filing. If you feel you need more guidance that requires a detailed explanation, you can access a live TurboTax agent. This connects you to tax professionals who can help you pinpoint the right information.

Easy e-filing

With TurboTax, you can e-file instead of dealing with the headache of paperwork. Not only is it hassle-free, it often results in a much faster refund. Keep in mind there is an additional fee for some e-filings.

Affordable filing

It's often much less expensive to file with TurboTax than to go through an accountant or tax-preparation service. It also means you know the status of your filing, instead of waiting for preparation and filing to go through.

Features

Using the software

TurboTax is step-oriented, so it's easy to pace yourself during filing. To progress through to the end, you need to satisfy each screen's questions with appropriate information. TurboTax organizes like information to help you get through sections more quickly, instead of flipping through paperwork the whole time.

Final submission

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Don't worry: TurboTax catches if you're missing any information or if something sounds incorrect. Once you finalize your filing, the software performs a cursory audit to make sure all your boxes are ticked. If you need to submit additional data, TurboTax prompts you and returns to the screen where it goes.

Free trial

When you use the online version of TurboTax, you can try it out for free. Perhaps the best part of using the online version is that through the interview process, TurboTax determines which software is best for your tax situation. If you like it enough to complete your filing, TurboTax simply deducts the fees from your refund.

Price

Basic TurboTax software for simple filings costs $25 to $50, but if you're a homeowner, have diverse income sources, or deductions, expect to spend closer to $100. Business owners can purchase TurboTax software with advanced capabilities starting at $100 and above.

FAQ

Q. Are there any additional filing fees when I use TurboTax?

A. Yes. You can spend up to $40 per state return, though it varies and is sometimes bundled with the software for a better price. E-filing returns (state or federal) cost approximately $20 to $25 apiece.

Q. I'm recently divorced/widowed and my filing is totally different this year. Will TurboTax guide me through the changes?

A. Yes, and this is where the question-and-answer platform excels the most -- when it comes to changes in your financial situation or history. Make sure you have your previous year's filing on hand for comparison.

TurboTax software we recommend

Our take: Well-rounded software for those with deductions, those who own a home, and single individuals.

What we like: User-friendly to do personal taxes. Guides users through 2019 tax law changes.

What we dislike: Not all forms for 2019 changes are available.

Our take: Popular for small business owners, side hustlers, freelancers, and self-employed tax filing.

What we like: Best option if you have a side business, and includes one state e-file. Automatic tax form updates.

What we dislike: Slight learning curve if it's the first year filing your extra income.

Our take: Essential for small business owners with five or fewer employees who need an all-in-one tax software.

What we like: Can be used by LLCs, S, or C corporations, and comes with live phone support.

What we dislike: Some glitches with installation if you're not using Windows 10.

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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