TurboTax is big in tax software, so we were interest to see how its online tax service compared with similar services from other big names in the tax prep game. TurboTax Online offers five options: Free, Deluxe, Premier, Home & Business, and the new Military Edition. The Deluxe edition is the most popular. Why? Maybe its mission: maximize your deductions. TurboTax Deluxe 2012 is ready to help you prepare and file your 2012 taxes. Better yet, it’s ready for the IRS: one of the advantages of online tax tools from trusted services is their ability to handle changes in the tax code better than you can, unless you’re a tax accountant (or really, really into tax law). We’re guessing you’re neither, since you’re reading this, but (like others) you need to file more than a basic return, yet you don’t want to pay through the nose or anywhere else. As with other premium tax services, you can start TurboTax Deluxe for free and pay when you file, or simply use the tool for practice. The price is listed at $49.99 but was $29.99 when we visited the site. It includes live expert help via phone or chat.
While it’s free to try TurboTax Deluxe, you’ll need to sign in or create an account to use its online tax prep services, including the Deluxe service, but you only have to provide an e-mail address, username, and password, not any personal information or credit card data. Clicking Start My Return opens a secure connection to the Web-based tool. TurboTax Deluxe starts by asking you some questions about how you filed last year’s taxes. As with similar services, TurboTax Deluxe uses simple questions to walk you gently through what would otherwise be a painful process (not as painful as actually paying taxes, but bad enough).
With its robust user guidance and simplicity, this service can take some of the sting out of preparing taxes. While we didn’t actually e-file with Turbo Tax Deluxe 2012, we think it’s a top choice if you own a home or have some small investments.