Still need to file? An expert can help or do taxes for you with 100% accuracy. Get started

Skip To Main Content
TurboTax Logo
TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / Tax Tips Guides & Videos / General / Best Ways To Prepare and File Taxes

Best Ways To Prepare and File Taxes

Written by Riley Adams, CPA • Reviewed by Miguel Burgos, CPAUpdated for Tax Year 2023 • December 8, 2023 1:08 PM
OVERVIEW

You have several options for preparing your taxes. But, which is the best way to prepare and file taxes to get your return done quickly and correctly?

 

A male café employee with laptop thinks while looking out a window

Key Takeaways

  • Preparing taxes by hand requires knowledge of tax forms, and it also leaves you prone to making mistakes.
  • Using tax software eliminates arithmetic errors, and allows you to import necessary tax forms all for a reasonable cost.
  • Hiring a tax professional provides a hands-off approach to preparing your taxes.
  • You can file taxes by mail or online through e-file, with the latter allowing for quicker processing and more expedited refunds if applicable.

Do I have to file taxes?

Generally, not everyone needs to prepare a tax return each year. Determining if you need to file a return will come down to several factors related to your tax situation. The items that affect whether you need to file taxes or not will depend on your income type (whether from self-employment, through your employer or investments) and amount, tax filing status, age, and other factors.

Many Americans don’t need to file a tax return each year. In fact, you might not need to file a tax return unless your total income exceeds certain thresholds, or you meet specific filing requirements.

Normally, if you only earn income from your work as an employee and it's less than the standard deduction for your filing status, you don't need to file a tax return. The threshold for needing to file a tax return is $400 of self-employment net income. However, even if this is the case, you may still need to file a tax return if you meet certain conditions. You won't need to file a tax return if all of the following are true for your situation:

  • Earn less income as an employee than the Standard Deduction for your filing status for the applicable year
  • Don't have any special circumstances that require you to file (like earning $400 or more of net self-employment income)
  • Don’t have unearned income of more than $1,250 for 2023 ($1,300 for 2024) as a child or other dependent

If you don’t meet all of these conditions, you may need to file a tax return. However, in the event you don’t meet all of these conditions, you may still want to file a tax return anyway. For example, you may have earned income during the year and had taxes withheld from your pay. If you’d like to get back any of the excess money withheld by your employer, you’ll need to file a tax return to be issued a tax refund for this money owed to you.

That’s because if you don’t file your tax return to claim this refund, the IRS won’t issue you a refund. Generally, the IRS doesn’t automatically issue refunds if you’ve overpaid your tax bill each year. In that case, you want to file a tax return to claim any tax refund you may be entitled to claim.

For example, suppose you file as a single taxpayer who had $700 of federal income tax withheld from your $7,000 of earnings and no one else can claim you as a dependent on their tax return. You likely can get that money back since you earned less than the Standard Deduction for your applicable filing status. However, you can only get it by filing a tax return to claim a refund.

How can I prepare my tax return?

When it comes to preparing your tax return and filing it with the IRS, you’ve got three options:

  1. Preparing the tax forms the old-fashioned way: by hand and mailing them to the IRS.
  2. Using online tax software to prepare your tax return through completing the required tax forms through on-screen question and answer prompts and guidance.
  3. Going with a tax professional to handle your tax return preparation and filing (note: some online tax software offers assistance from qualified tax professionals as a value-added service).

If you choose to prepare your tax return with the second or third options, you can elect to e-file your taxes directly with the IRS, the preferred method. You may also opt to mail in your prepared tax return, though the IRS states this could take up to 6 weeks to process.

Despite these differences in timing, the best way to file your taxes depends on your personal preferences and what works most effectively for you.

Filing taxes by hand

The original way to prepare your own taxes has decreased significantly, according to the IRS. Over 90% of tax returns filed in 2023 came through e-file.

However, that doesn’t mean millions of people still don't prefer doing their own returns by hand. If you’d like to bust out the calculator and fill out paper tax forms by yourself, you’re welcome to do so. If you choose this route, you should either have an uncomplicated situation, meaning circumstances like only earning income from an employer and taking the Standard Deduction, or have a significant understanding and working knowledge of the forms you’ll need to prepare your return.

You’ll also want to make sure you review all of the numbers on your forms and double-check your calculations.

Pros

  • Better understanding of your taxes. Doing your taxes by hand can have great benefits and shouldn’t be discounted (though most Americans do based on the number of taxpayers who e-file each year). By choosing to print out your tax forms and prepare them yourself by hand, it forces you to understand your taxes.

Sitting down with your Form 1040 and any supporting Schedules or other tax forms can be a great way to learn about the ins and outs of your taxes. This can include concepts like:

Learning these important items once might help you now and down the road. Having a deeper level of engagement can lead to better understanding, and strategy for preparing your taxes in future years.

Cons

  • Requires (extensive) knowledge of tax forms and calculations. Just the same, preparing your taxes by hand can be challenging for the inexperienced. Navigating tax forms by yourself without prior knowledge might be overwhelming, especially if you’ve waited until later in the tax season to prepare your tax return and ready it for filing by mail.
  • Prone to making errors. Further, by doing your taxes by hand, it opens you up to greater potential for making a mathematical error on your taxes. Whether it’s an honest mistake or not, the IRS might not take kindly to misreporting your tax liability.

Using tax software

Tax software exists to make your life easier. It can guide you through the process of preparing and filing your taxes, help ensure that you're taking advantage of all the tax deductions and credits available to you, and save you money compared to the cost of hiring a tax professional. There are a variety of different types of software available, so it's important to choose one that can help make the process easier.

The two types of tax software works in the following ways:

  • interview-based tax software: The tax software has you answer questions prompted by the software, filling out your tax return as you provide information about your situation. The question and answer format makes it easy to gather your information, placing your details on the relevant forms automatically as you go. The benefit of this style of tax software is its ease of use if you don’t know all the forms used to prepare your tax return.
  • form-based tax software: This style of tax software requires a bit more knowhow from the user. You need a working knowledge of the tax forms you’ll need to prepare your return. The tax software steps through each form, requiring you to place your information in the corresponding boxes on your tax documents.

The interview-based tax software is often what many individual taxpayers think of when it comes to tax software because it makes the tax return preparation process quick and easy without much prior knowledge of tax forms. For some, this may be the easiest way to file taxes.

Pros

  • Step-based tax return preparation. Interview-based tax software provides step-by-step instructions for completing tax returns, and it can also help to ensure that all the required information is included.
  • Offers support (technical and from tax professionals). Many tax software programs offer support in case of questions or problems. This can be technical support if you’ve run into an issue with the software itself, or through a tax professional if you’ve got a question about your specific tax situation that requires guidance or further explanation.
  • Always up-to-date. And because tax software is updated regularly, filers can be confident that they are using the most current version of the tax code.
  • Cheaper than using a tax professional. Best of all, using tax software to prepare and file taxes is often much cheaper than hiring a professional tax preparer. As a result, taxpayers who are looking for a way to save money and headaches during tax season should consider using tax software.
  • Flexibility for preparing taxes on your schedule. Using tax software lets you prepare taxes in a way that best suits your schedule. Prefer working late at night, early in the morning or over the weekend? Tax software enables this all on your own schedule.
  • Highlights available deductions and credits. Tax software will present various deductions and credits as you prepare your return, potentially saving you money on taxes.
  • Automatically transfers data from previous returns. If you’ve used this tax software in previous years, the software allows you to transfer old information to your new return, saving you time.
  • Transfers data from federal to state return. Don’t like entering the same info on both your federal and state returns? Tax software transfers the relevant information and tax data between returns, saving you additional time.
  • Flags errors prior to submission. Tax software helps prevent errors on your return, flagging any areas where you may have misentered a number, misspelled a name, or made another mistake.
  • Shows instant impact on taxes you owe as you enter information. As you go through your return populating fields related to income, deductions and credits, tax software shows you instantly how these changes affect your taxes.
  • Can import tax forms and information. Tax software offers the ability to integrate with several businesses, organizations, and more to download relevant tax forms and information onto your return.

Cons

  • Requires access to a computer. If you don’t have access to a computer, doing your taxes can be a challenge with tax software.
  • Doesn’t provide tax advice. Tax software can help with preparing your return and checking for all available deductions and credits, but it can’t always provide personalized tax advice to save you money. This might require consultation with a tax professional who can understand your personal situation.
  • Need time to complete your return. Despite tax software’s ability to expedite your tax return preparation and filing, you still might not have enough time to handle your taxes by yourself. If so, hiring a tax professional to handle everything might be a better fit.

Hiring a tax professional

If you’d like more tailored tax assistance than doing your taxes by hand or using tax software to prepare your taxes, a tax professional can help. Hiring a professional can provide several benefits, though with added cost.

Pros

  • Tax advice. One of the biggest benefits of hiring a tax professional is that you can receive personalized tax advice. A tax professional can look at your specific situation and give you customized advice on how to maximize your deductions and minimize your tax liability. This type of personalized attention can be invaluable, especially if you have a complex financial situation.
  • Convenience. Hiring a tax professional is a convenient way to prepare and file your taxes because you don't have to set aside time to do your taxes yourself. You can just drop off or send over your paperwork and let them handle it all for you.
  • Handle complex situations with expertise. Depending on your tax circumstances, you can have a complex tax situation requiring greater expertise such as if you’re self-employed, have Trust Fund transactions, or need to navigate the Alternative Minimum Tax. Fortunately, tax professionals exist for these very situations, providing the expertise and guidance you need to get the job done right. They can help you maximize your deductions, identify potential tax savings opportunities, and ensure that you meet all filing deadlines. Additionally, a tax professional can provide peace of mind by handling the details of your tax return so that you can focus on more important things.
  • Find deductions or credits you might not have found otherwise. Tax professionals are experts who should have up-to-date knowledge of the tax code and can help you take advantage of deductions and credits that you may not be aware of. While tax professionals might cost more than using tax software, by claiming any deductions or credits you’d otherwise have missed, they might end up costing you less through saving you money on taxes.
  • Audit assistance. In the unlikely event you’re selected for an audit by the IRS, having a tax professional by your side can be invaluable. They'll know how to gather the necessary documentation and represent you in a way that maximizes your chances of a favorable outcome.

Cons

  • Cost. One of the main disadvantages to hiring a tax professional is the cost. Tax professionals typically charge by the forms you use to report your tax situation or by complexity of your tax situation. Depending on the involvement needed for your taxes, the bill can quickly add up.

If you're looking for ways to save time and money on your taxes, using a tax professional is a great option. They can save you both time and money, and they can make sure that your taxes are filed correctly and on time.

TurboTax Tip:

If you're considering using a tax professional, be sure to ask around for referrals. You can also check with your local chamber of commerce or Better Business Bureau for a list of qualified professionals in your area.

 

Types of tax professionals

When it comes to taxes, there are a lot of different professionals out there who can help you. Here are three of the most common types of tax professionals:

  • Enrolled agent: An enrolled agent is a tax professional who's been federally licensed by the IRS. They must pass a rigorous three-part exam and complete continuing education requirements to maintain their license. Enrolled agents can represent taxpayers before the IRS for individual, business, and estate taxes.
  • CPA: A certified public accountant (CPA) is a tax professional who has met stringent educational and experience requirements set forth by their state's board of accountancy. CPAs are licensed by their state and must complete continuing education requirements in order to maintain their license. CPAs can prepare and file several types of tax returns, including for individuals and businesses. You’d want to hire a CPA if you need help with the business and accounting side of your taxes, such as for filing taxes, finding relevant deductions and credits plus financial planning needs.
  • Tax attorney: A tax attorney is a lawyer who specializes in taxation. They can represent taxpayers before the IRS, as well as in civil and criminal tax court. Further, they can offer tax preparation services. Tax attorneys typically have a law degree and a license to practice law in their state. You’d want to consider a tax lawyer if you need legal advice in writing, representation in court, or assistance with tax return preparation.

When choosing a tax professional, it's important to consider what services they offer, their experience, and their fees. It's also important to make sure that they are licensed and insured.

How can I file my tax return?

When you finish preparing your return, you can file your taxes in one of two ways: through the mail or online through E-filing.

While sending your return through the mail might be an acceptable method, the IRS strongly prefers (and even recommends) E-filing your tax return.

The reason is that the IRS has stated that e-filed returns provide more accurate information, avoid processing delays, and speed up delivery of tax refunds (especially when selecting to receive refunds via direct deposit into a bank account).

You can e-file your return directly with the IRS if you prepare your own taxes on digital forms or through tax software after you’ve filed your return.

If you’d like to mail your tax return to the IRS for processing, the IRS provides a state-by-state listing of IRS offices where you should send your return.

TurboTax Tip:

Filing taxes through e-file provides a more secure and expedited method for reviewing your return and processing any resulting tax refunds.

 

How to calculate my taxes

When calculating your income taxes, you can use the Form 1040 tax return flow to understand the steps involved.

Step 1: Determine your tax filing status and dependents you’ll claim

First, you’ll need to determine your tax filing status and whether you’ll claim any dependents on your return. Your filing status not only determines your eligibility for certain tax deductions and credits, but it also indicates the tax brackets you should use for calculating your tax bill.

Step 2: Tally your income

Once you’ve provided this information, you can begin tallying all of your income together. This can include income reported on:

You may need to attach supporting tax forms to document this income for your return. Further, you may also need to consider adding crypto tax forms to report any income you’ve earned from participating in crypto activities.

From here, you need to remove any adjustments to your income from Schedule 1 for items like qualified student loan interest, deductions for educator expenses, cancellation of debt, qualified retirement plan, health savings account contributions, and more.

The resulting figure is your adjusted gross income.

Step 3: Apply relevant deductions

After you’ve calculated your taxable income, you need to begin applying relevant deductions. If you have several expenses that qualify as itemized deductions, you can add those together to see if you’d be better off itemizing or simply claiming the Standard Deduction. Odds are, simple tax situations benefit more from claiming the Standard Deduction.

However, be sure to compare the two and see which method delivers you more tax savings. Tax software can quickly compare these two figures as you enter information, electing to claim the more beneficial deduction.

Once you’ve added all of these income sources together, reduced it by any adjustments to income, and claimed your applicable deductions, you’ll have your taxable income.

Step 4: Apply relevant tax credits

The next step involves applying relevant tax credits to reduce your overall tax bill. This can include items like the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Credit, Federal tax credit for solar energy investment, and more.

If you have a mix of refundable and nonrefundable tax credits to claim, you’ll need to determine if these credits will result in a negative tax balance. If claiming these credits triggers a tax refund, only certain tax credits can be paid to you as refundable tax credits. This means they result in a refund larger than the amount of tax you paid throughout the year.

Step 4: Calculate tax bill (or refund)

The final step for calculating your tax bill is using tax brackets to determine your total tax bill based on your taxable income. The U.S. uses a marginal tax bracket system, so you’ll need to apply the applicable rate to each “chunk” of income.

For example, if you file as a single taxpayer and have $50,000 of taxable income, you’d apply the 2023 tax brackets to your income as follows:

  • 10% for income up to $11,000 ($1,100)
  • 12% for income between $11,000 and $44,725 ($4,047)
  • 22% for income between $44,725 and $50,000 ($1,160.50)

Your total tax bill in this case would be $6,307.50. After accounting for all your income, deductions and credits, if you had more than this withheld from your paycheck during the year, you’d receive a tax refund after filing your return with the IRS. If you paid less than this, you’d need to make a payment to the IRS for the remaining balance due.

The best way to prepare and file taxes

When it comes time to decide the best way to prepare and file taxes, it boils down to what you find works best for your needs. If you’d like an intimate familiarity with your tax situation and command a strong knowledge and understanding of tax forms, preparing your taxes by hand might make a great choice.

On the other hand, if you’d like the security of guided assistance in preparing all the required forms on your return, using tax software might make the most sense for you.

Lastly, if you’d like the expertise of a tax professional to handle all your tax needs, hiring one might save you time and prepare you for any ongoing tax planning needs you’ll have.

The answer to which way is best isn’t the same for everyone. It'll depend on your personal preference and situation and it’s up to you to make your own decision.

When weighing the pros and cons of each method of tax preparation, also consider two strongly encouraged decisions from the IRS: filing electronically and using direct deposit for any tax refund you might receive.

With TurboTax Live Full Service, a local expert matched to your unique situation will do your taxes for you start to finish. Or, get unlimited help and advice from tax experts while you do your taxes with TurboTax Live Assisted.

And if you want to file your own taxes, you can still feel confident you'll do them right with TurboTax as we guide you step by step. No matter which way you file, we guarantee 100% accuracy and your maximum refund.

Use your Intuit Account to sign in to TurboTax.
By selecting Sign in, you agree to our Terms and acknowledge our Privacy Statement.
Live assisted basicTaxes done right,
with experts by your side
$89*

Get unlimited advice, an expert final review and your maximum refund, guaranteed.

State additional
turbotax free ecition100% free filing.
Max refund guarantee.
$0

~37% of taxpayers qualify. Form 1040 + limited credits only.

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.

TaxCaster Tax
Calculator

Estimate your tax refund and where you stand

I’m a TurboTax customer

I’m a new user

Tax Bracket
Calculator

Easily calculate your tax rate to make smart financial decisions

Get started

W-4 Withholding
Calculator

Know how much to withhold from your paycheck to get a bigger refund

Get started

Self-Employed
Tax Calculator

Estimate your self-employment tax and eliminate any surprises

Get started

Crypto Calculator

Estimate capital gains, losses, and taxes for cryptocurrency sales

Get started

Self-Employed Tax Deductions Calculator

Find deductions as a 1099 contractor, freelancer, creator, or if you have a side gig

Get started

ItsDeductible™

See how much your charitable donations are worth

Get started

Read why our customers love Intuit TurboTax

Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars by our customers

(673411 reviews of TurboTax Online)

Security icon

Your security. Built into everything we do.

Here's how

taxball

File faster and easier with the free TurboTax app

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play

TurboTax Online: Important Details about Filing Form 1040 Returns with Limited Credits

A Form 1040 return with limited credits is one that's filed using IRS Form 1040 only (with the exception of the specific covered situations described below). Roughly 37% of taxpayers are eligible.

If you have a Form 1040 return and are claiming limited credits only, you can file for free yourself with TurboTax Free Edition, or you can file with TurboTax Live Assisted Basic or TurboTax Full Service at the listed price.

Situations covered (assuming no added tax complexity):

  • W-2 income
  • Interest or dividends (1099-INT/1099-DIV) that don’t require filing a Schedule B
  • IRS standard deduction
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC)
  • Student loan interest deduction

Situations not covered:

  • Itemized deductions claimed on Schedule A
  • Unemployment income reported on a 1099-G
  • Business or 1099-NEC income
  • Stock sales (including crypto investments)
  • Rental property income
  • Credits, deductions and income reported on other forms or schedules 

TURBOTAX ONLINE GUARANTEES

TurboTax Individual Returns:

  • 100% Accurate Calculations Guarantee – Individual Returns: If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculation error, we'll pay you the penalty and interest. Excludes payment plans. This guarantee is good for the lifetime of your personal, individual tax return, which Intuit defines as seven years from the date you filed it with TurboTax. Excludes TurboTax Business returns. Additional terms and limitations apply. See Terms of Service for details.

  • Maximum Refund Guarantee / Maximum Tax Savings Guarantee - or Your Money Back – Individual Returns: If you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparation method by filing an amended return, we'll refund the applicable TurboTax federal and/or state purchase price paid. (TurboTax Free Edition customers are entitled to payment of $30.) This guarantee is good for the lifetime of your personal, individual tax return, which Intuit defines as seven years from the date you filed it with TurboTax. Excludes TurboTax Business returns. Additional terms and limitations apply. See Terms of Service for details.

  • Audit Support Guarantee – Individual Returns: If you receive an audit letter from the IRS or State Department of Revenue based on your 2023 TurboTax individual tax return, we will provide one-on-one question-and-answer support with a tax professional, if requested through our Audit Report Center, for audited individual returns filed with TurboTax for the current 2023 tax year and for individual, non-business returns for the past two tax years (2022, 2021). Audit support is informational only. We will not represent you before the IRS or state tax authority or provide legal advice. If we are not able to connect you to one of our tax professionals, we will refund the applicable TurboTax federal and/or state purchase price paid. (TurboTax Free Edition customers are entitled to payment of $30.) This guarantee is good for the lifetime of your personal, individual tax return, which Intuit defines as seven years from the date you filed it with TurboTax. Excludes TurboTax Business returns. Additional terms and limitations apply. See Terms of Service for details.

  • Satisfaction Guaranteed: You may use TurboTax Online without charge up to the point you decide to print or electronically file your tax return. Printing or electronically filing your return reflects your satisfaction with TurboTax Online, at which time you will be required to pay or register for the product.

  • Our TurboTax Live Full Service Guarantee means your tax expert will find every dollar you deserve. Your expert will only sign and file your return if they believe it's 100% correct and you are getting your best outcome possible. If you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparer, we'll refund the applicable TurboTax Live Full Service federal and/or state purchase price paid. If you pay an IRS or state penalty (or interest) because of an error that a TurboTax tax expert or CPA made while acting as a signed preparer for your return, we'll pay you the penalty and interest. Limitations apply. See Terms of Service for details.

  • 100% Accurate Expert-Approved Guarantee: If you pay an IRS or state penalty (or interest) because of an error that a TurboTax tax expert or CPA made while providing topic-specific tax advice, a section review, or acting as a signed preparer for your return, we'll pay you the penalty and interest. Limitations apply. See Terms of Service for details.

TurboTax Business Returns:

  • 100% Accurate Calculations Guarantee – Business Returns. If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculation error, we'll pay you the penalty and interest. Excludes payment plans. You are responsible for paying any additional tax liability you may owe. Additional terms and limitations apply. See Terms of Service for details.

  • TurboTax Audit Support Guarantee – Business Returns. If you receive an audit letter from the IRS or State Department of Revenue on your 2023 TurboTax business return, we will provide one-on-one question-and-answer support with a tax professional, if requested through our Audit Report Center, for audited business returns filed with TurboTax for the current 2023 tax year. Audit support is informational only. We will not represent you before the IRS or state tax authority or provide legal advice. If we are not able to connect you to one of our tax professionals for this question-and-answer support, we will refund the applicable TurboTax Live Business or TurboTax Live Full Service Business federal and/or state purchase price paid. Additional terms and limitations apply. See Terms of Service for details.

TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE PRICING:

  • Start for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. For most paid TurboTax online and mobile offerings, you may start using the tax preparation features without paying upfront, and pay only when you are ready to file or purchase add-on products or services. Actual prices for paid versions are determined based on the version you use and the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases. Strikethrough prices reflect anticipated final prices for tax year 2023.

  • TurboTax Free Edition: TurboTax Free Edition ($0 Federal + $0 State + $0 To File) is available for those filing Form 1040 and limited credits only, as detailed in the TurboTax Free Edition disclosures. Roughly 37% of taxpayers qualify. Offer may change or end at any time without notice.

  • TurboTax Live Assisted Basic Offer: Offer only available with TurboTax Live Assisted Basic and for those filing Form 1040 and limited credits only. Roughly 37% of taxpayers qualify. Must file between November 29, 2023 and March 31, 2024 to be eligible for the offer. Includes state(s) and one (1) federal tax filing. Intuit reserves the right to modify or terminate this TurboTax Live Assisted Basic Offer at any time for any reason in its sole and absolute discretion. If you add services, your service fees will be adjusted accordingly. If you file after 11:59pm EST, March 31, 2024, you will be charged the then-current list price for TurboTax Live Assisted Basic and state tax filing is an additional fee. See current prices here.

  • Full Service $100 Back Offer: Credit applies only to federal filing fees for TurboTax Full Service and not returns filed using other TurboTax products or returns filed by Intuit TurboTax Verified Pros. Excludes TurboTax Live Full Service Business and TurboTax Canada products. Credit does not apply to state tax filing fees or other additional services. If federal filing fees are less than $100, the remaining credit will be provided via electronic gift card. Intuit reserves the right to modify or terminate this offer at any time for any reason in its sole discretion. Must file by April 15, 2024 11:59 PM ET.

  • TurboTax Full Service - Forms-Based Pricing: “Starting at” pricing represents the base price for one federal return (includes one W-2 and one Form 1040). Final price may vary based on your actual tax situation and forms used or included with your return. Price estimates are provided prior to a tax expert starting work on your taxes. Estimates are based on initial information you provide about your tax situation, including forms you upload to assist your expert in preparing your tax return and forms or schedules we think you’ll need to file based on what you tell us about your tax situation. Final price is determined at the time of print or electronic filing and may vary based on your actual tax situation, forms used to prepare your return, and forms or schedules included in your individual return. Prices are subject to change without notice and may impact your final price. If you decide to leave Full Service and work with an independent Intuit TurboTax Verified Pro, your Pro will provide information about their individual pricing and a separate estimate when you connect with them.

  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Premium, formerly Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15.3%) for tax year 2022. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.

TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE:

  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard data rates apply to download and use mobile app.

  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary. The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.

  • Get your tax refund up to 5 days early: Individual taxes only. When it’s time to file, have your tax refund direct deposited with Credit Karma Money™, and you could receive your funds up to 5 days early. If you choose to pay your tax preparation fee with TurboTax using your federal tax refund or if you choose to take the Refund Advance loan, you will not be eligible to receive your refund up to 5 days early. 5-day early program may change or discontinue at any time. Up to 5 days early access to your federal tax refund is compared to standard tax refund electronic deposit and is dependent on and subject to IRS submitting refund information to the bank before release date. IRS may not submit refund information early.

  • For Credit Karma Money (checking account): Banking services provided by MVB Bank, Inc., Member FDIC. Maximum balance and transfer limits apply per account.
  • Fees: Third-party fees may apply. Please see Credit Karma Money Account Terms & Disclosures for more information.

  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund or state refund (if applicable): Individual taxes only. Subject to eligibility requirements. Additional terms apply. A $40 Refund Processing Service fee may apply to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.

  • TurboTax Help and Support: Access to a TurboTax product specialist is included with TurboTax Deluxe, Premium, TurboTax Live Assisted and TurboTax Live Full Service; not included with Free Edition (but is available as an upgrade). TurboTax specialists are available to provide general customer help and support using the TurboTax product. Services, areas of expertise, experience levels, wait times, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Limitations apply See Terms of Service for details.
  • Tax Advice, Expert Review and TurboTax Live: Access to tax advice and Expert Review (the ability to have a Tax Expert review and/or sign your tax return) is included with TurboTax Live Assisted or as an upgrade from another version, and available through December 31, 2024. Intuit will assign you a tax expert based on availability. Tax expert and CPA availability may be limited. Some tax topics or situations may not be included as part of this service, which shall be determined in the tax expert’s sole discretion. For the TurboTax Live Assisted product, if your return requires a significant level of tax advice or actual preparation, the tax expert may be required to sign as the preparer at which point they will assume primary responsibility for the preparation of your return. For the TurboTax Live Full Service product: Handoff tax preparation by uploading your tax documents, getting matched with an expert, and meeting with an expert in real time. The tax expert will sign your return as a preparer. The ability to retain the same expert preparer in subsequent years will be based on an expert’s choice to continue employment with Intuit. Administrative services may be provided by assistants to the tax expert. On-screen help is available on a desktop, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. Unlimited access to TurboTax Live tax experts refers to an unlimited quantity of contacts available to each customer, but does not refer to hours of operation or service coverage. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, wait times, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.

  • TurboTax Live Full Service – Qualification for Offer: Depending on your tax situation, you may be asked to answer additional questions to determine your qualification for the Full Service offer. Certain complicated tax situations will require an additional fee, and some will not qualify for the Full Service offering. These situations may include but are not limited to multiple sources of business income, large amounts of cryptocurrency transactions, taxable foreign assets and/or significant foreign investment income. Offer details subject to change at any time without notice. Intuit, in its sole discretion and at any time, may determine that certain tax topics, forms and/or situations are not included as part of TurboTax Live Full Service. Intuit reserves the right to refuse to prepare a tax return for any reason in its sole discretion. Additional limitations apply. See Terms of Service for details.

  • TurboTax Live Full Service - File your taxes as soon as today: TurboTax Full Service Experts are available to prepare 2023 tax returns starting January 8, 2024. Based on completion time for the majority of customers and may vary based on expert availability. The tax preparation assistant will validate the customer’s tax situation during the welcome call and review uploaded documents to assess readiness. All tax forms and documents must be ready and uploaded by the customer for the tax preparation assistant to refer the customer to an available expert for live tax preparation.

  • TurboTax Live Full Service -- Verified Pro -- “Local” and “In-Person”: Not all feature combinations are available for all locations. "Local" experts are defined as being located within the same state as the consumer’s zip code for virtual meetings. "Local" Pros for the purpose of in-person meetings are defined as being located within 50 miles of the consumer's zip code. In-person meetings with local Pros are available on a limited basis in some locations, but not available in all States or locations. Not all pros provide in-person services.

  • Smart Insights: Individual taxes only. Included with TurboTax Deluxe, Premium, TurboTax Live, TurboTax Live Full Service, or with PLUS benefits, and is available through 11/1/2024. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.

  • My Docs features: Included with TurboTax Deluxe, Premium TurboTax Live, TurboTax Live Full Service, or with PLUS benefits and is available through 12/31/2024. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.

  • Tax Return Access: Included with all TurboTax Free Edition, Deluxe, Premium, TurboTax Live, TurboTax Live Full Service customers and access to up to the prior seven years of tax returns we have on file for you is available through 12/31/2024. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.

  • Easy Online Amend: Individual taxes only. Included with TurboTax Deluxe, Premium, TurboTax Live, TurboTax Live Full Service, or with PLUS benefits. Make changes to your 2023 tax return online for up to 3 years after it has been filed and accepted by the IRS through 10/31/2026. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice. For TurboTax Live Full Service, your tax expert will amend your 2023 tax return for you through 11/15/2024. After 11/15/2024, TurboTax Live Full Service customers will be able to amend their 2023 tax return themselves using the Easy Online Amend process described above.

  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2022 TurboTax products.

  • #1 online tax filing solution for self-employed: Based upon IRS Sole Proprietor data as of 2023, tax year 2022. Self-Employed defined as a return with a Schedule C tax form. Online competitor data is extrapolated from press releases and SEC filings. “Online” is defined as an individual income tax DIY return (non-preparer signed) that was prepared online & either e-filed or printed, not including returns prepared through desktop software or FFA prepared returns, 2022.

  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees. Limitations apply. See Terms of Service for details.
  • TurboTax Premium Pricing Comparison: Cost savings based on a comparison of TurboTax product prices to average prices set forth in the 2020-2021 NSA Fees-Acct-Tax Practices Survey Report.

  • 1099-K Snap and Autofill: Available in mobile app and mobile web only.

  • 1099-NEC Snap and Autofill: Available in TurboTax Premium (formerly Self-Employed) and TurboTax Live Assisted Premium (formerly Self-Employed). Available in mobile app only. Feature available within Schedule C tax form for TurboTax filers with 1099-NEC income.

  • Year-Round Tax Estimator: Available in TurboTax Premium (formerly Self-Employed) and TurboTax Live Assisted Premium (formerly Self-Employed). This product feature is only available after you finish and file in a self-employed TurboTax product.

  • **Refer a Friend: Rewards good for up to 20 friends, or $500 - see official terms and conditions for more details.

  • Refer your Expert (Intuit’s own experts): Rewards good for up to 20 referrals, or $500 - see official terms and conditions for more details.

  • Refer your Expert (TurboTax Verified Independent Pro): Rewards good for up to 20 referrals, or $500 - see official terms and conditions for more details

  • Average Refund Amount: Sum of $3140 is the average refund American taxpayers received based upon IRS data date ending 2/17/23 and may not reflect actual refund amount received.

  • Average Deduction Amount: Based on the average amount of deductions/expenses found by TurboTax Self Employed customers who filed expenses on Schedule C in Tax Year 2022 and may not reflect actual deductions found.

  • More self-employed deductions based on the median amount of expenses found by TurboTax Premium (formerly Self Employed) customers who synced accounts, imported and categorized transactions compared to manual entry. Individual results may vary.

  • TurboTax Online Business Products: For TurboTax Live Assisted Business and TurboTax Full Service Business, we currently don’t support the following tax situations: C-Corps (Form 1120-C), Trust/Estates (Form 1041), Multiple state filings, Tax Exempt Entities/Non-Profits, Entities electing to be treated as a C-Corp, Schedule C Sole proprietorship, Payroll, Sales tax, Quarterly filings, and Foreign Income. TurboTax Live Assisted Business is currently available only in AK, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MI, MO, NC, NV, NY, OH, PA, SD, TX, UT, VA, WA, and WY.

  • Audit Defense: Audit Defense is a third-party add-on service provided, for a fee, by TaxResources, Inc., dba Tax Audit. See Membership Agreements at https://turbotax.intuit.com/corp/softwarelicense/ for service terms and conditions. 

TURBOTAX DESKTOP GUARANTEES

TurboTax Desktop Individual Returns:

  • 100% Accurate Calculations Guarantee – Individual Returns: If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculation error, we’ll pay you the penalty and interest. Excludes payment plans. This guarantee is good for the lifetime of your personal, individual tax return, which Intuit defines as seven years from the date you filed it with TurboTax Desktop. Excludes TurboTax Desktop Business returns. Additional terms and limitations apply. See License Agreement for details.

  • Maximum Refund Guarantee / Maximum Tax Savings Guarantee - or Your Money Back – Individual Returns: If you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparation method by filing an amended return, we'll refund the applicable TurboTax federal and/or state software license purchase price you paid. This guarantee is good for the lifetime of your personal, individual tax return, which Intuit defines as seven years from the date you filed it with TurboTax Desktop. Excludes TurboTax Desktop Business returns. Additional terms and limitations apply. See License Agreement for details.

  • Audit Support Guarantee – Individual Returns: If you receive an audit letter from the IRS or State Department of Revenue based on your 2023 TurboTax individual tax return, we will provide one-on-one question-and-answer support with a tax professional, if requested through our Audit Report Center, for audited individual returns filed with TurboTax Desktop for the current 2023 tax year and, for individual, non-business returns, for the past two tax years (2021, 2022). Audit support is informational only. We will not represent you before the IRS or state tax authority or provide legal advice. If we are not able to connect you to one of our tax professionals, we will refund the applicable TurboTax federal and/or state license purchase price you paid. This guarantee is good for the lifetime of your personal, individual tax return, which Intuit defines as seven years from the date you filed it with TurboTax Desktop. Excludes TurboTax Desktop Business returns. Additional terms and limitations apply. See License Agreement for details.

  • Satisfaction Guarantee/ 60-Day Money Back Guarantee: If you're not completely satisfied with TurboTax Desktop, go to refundrequest.intuit.com within 60 days of purchase and follow the process listed to submit a refund request. You must return this product using your license code or order number and dated receipt.

TurboTax Desktop Business Returns:

  • 100% Accurate Calculations Guarantee – Business Returns: If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculation error, we’ll pay you the penalty and interest. Excludes payment plans. You are responsible for paying any additional tax liability you may owe. Additional terms and limitations apply. See License Agreement for details.

  • Maximum Tax Savings Guarantee – Business Returns: If you get a smaller tax due (or larger business tax refund) from another tax preparation method using the same data, TurboTax will refund the applicable TurboTax Business Desktop license purchase price you paid. Additional terms and limitations apply. See License Agreement for details.

  • Satisfaction Guarantee/ 60-Day Money Back Guarantee: If you're not completely satisfied with TurboTax Desktop, go to refundrequest.intuit.com within 60 days of purchase and follow the process listed to submit a refund request. You must return this product using your license code or order number and dated receipt.

TURBOTAX DESKTOP

  • Installation Requirements: Product download, installation and activation requires an Intuit Account and internet connection. Product limited to one account per license code. You must accept the TurboTax License Agreement to use this product. Not for use by paid preparers.

  • TurboTax Desktop Products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees may apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees may not apply in certain states, check here for details. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase. Software updates and optional online features require internet connectivity.

  • Fastest Refund Possible: Fastest federal tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary. The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.

  • Average Refund Amount: Sum of $3140 is the average refund American taxpayers received based upon IRS data date ending 02/17/23 and may not reflect actual refund amount received.

  • TurboTax Product Support: Customer service and product support hours and options vary by time of year.

  • #1 Best Selling Tax Software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2022 TurboTax products.

  • Deduct From Your Federal or State Refund (if applicable): A $40 Refund Processing Service fee may apply to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.

  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies; Requires Intuit Account. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2021 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2021 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Desktop Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.

  • Audit Defense: Audit Defense is a third-party add-on service provided, for a fee, by TaxResources, Inc., dba Tax Audit. See Membership Agreements at https://turbotax.intuit.com/corp/softwarelicense/ for service terms and conditions.

All features, services, support, prices, offers, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

Intuit Logo
TurboTax LogoCreditKarma LogoQuickBooks LogoMailChimp Logo

©1997-2024 Intuit, Inc. All rights reserved.
Intuit, QuickBooks, QB, TurboTax, ProConnect, and Mint are registered trademarks of Intuit Inc. Terms and conditions, features, support, pricing, and service options subject to change without notice.

Security Certification of the TurboTax Online application has been performed by C-Level Security.

By accessing and using this page you agree to the Terms of Use.