FTC Disclosure: This piece has been sponsored by TurboTax. Although we have received compensation for this review, all opinions expressed are the writer’s own.
Don’t think you can do your own taxes? Think you might need guidance from a professional? Now, TurboTax can help.
Through a new program called TurboTax Live, do-it-yourselfers now have access to an easy to understand solution that walks them right through their tax return. Most importantly, they can get help from professional tax experts at the click of a mouse.
Sound interesting? Let’s take a closer look.
What is TurboTax Live?
TurboTax Live is an online tax preparation software that helps you do your income taxes from the comfort of your own home. Although the TurboTax brand has been around for over 30 years, Intuit recently added the “Live” feature, allowing you to receive help online from Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and Enrolled Agents (EA).
TurboTax Live is available in four packages, with varying features and price points:
Basic: For Simple Tax Returns, the Basic package allows you to take a photo of your W-2 to save time filling out forms, talk to a CPA or EA for tax help, prepare and file taxes online, and receive a final CPA or EA review of your taxes before you file. The Basic package is currently priced at $49.99.
Deluxe: The Deluxe Package offers all the features of the Basic package plus help with over 350 deductions and credits and a review of your mortgage tax deductions. TurboTax Live Deluxe currently costs $89.99.
Premier: The Premier package is similar to the Deluxe package except you also get help with taxes surrounding investments and rental properties. Another new feature is the ability to account for gains and losses from cryptocurrency transactions. The Premier package is currently priced at $139.99.
Self-Employed: The Self-Employed package is for freelancers, contractors, and small business owners. You have access to expert advice concerning self-employment income and expenses. You can also import information from the TurboTax Self-Employed app which helps you track expenses, mileage, and jobs in real-time. TurboTax Live Self-Employed is currently set at $169.99.
How Does TurboTax Live Work?
Similar to the regular version of TurboTax, the Live software walks you through the entire tax preparation process to ensure it is accurate.
You can start by simply using a photo of your W-2. You’ll then answer a few questions about your personal information, spouse and dependents, income, deductions, and more. From there, TurboTax Live automatically fills in your personal information so you don’t have to keep completing the same information over and over.
As you answer questions, TurboTax Live fills out your state and federal tax forms. As you move through the process, you can see your refund amount (or the amount you owe) automatically adjust based on your answers.
TurboTax Live Top Feature: Live Help
While the traditional version of TurboTax has long been one of the best tax software programs available, it is the “Live” feature that really helps TurboTax Live stand out. Having access to CPAs and EAs 24/7 makes the chore of tax preparation a simpler process and gives customers peace of mind that their tax paperwork will be accurate.
Unlike the support you receive from most tax prep programs, the help you receive from TurboTax Live isn’t just pre-written advice on an FAQ page. This program actually helps you to connect with live tax professionals through the use of one-way video, which means you can actually see the person you are talking to (but they can’t see you or your messy house).
Additionally, these tax professionals are available throughout the entire tax preparation process. You can even reach them with questions later in the year.
In order to provide better service, live tax pros are able to see your information and can provide a one-on-one review of your entire return if you’d like. If you are fairly confident in your tax preparation skills, TurboTax’s experts can also double-check your work once you are done to ensure accuracy. They can even sign and file your taxes for you.
Other TurboTax Live Features
In addition to live expert help, here are a few more important features offered through TurboTax Live:
- Auto-Save: TurboTax Live allows you to save your progress and return later in case you can’t fill it all out in one sitting.
- W-2 Photo Snap: Download the TurboTax mobile app, snap a photo of your W-2, and upload it to your TurboTax online account.
- Deduction Help: TurboTax Live allows you to look beyond the most common deductions and credits to ensure you take advantage of every savings opportunity.
What I Love About TurboTax Live
I know many people who are capable of doing their own taxes but choose to pay a tax prep service instead. They are afraid of making mistakes, missing out on deductions, or forgetting something that could lead to tax penalties or an audit.
TurboTax Live solves that problem. It gives you the confidence to take charge of your tax preparation, while still providing support as needed.
As with all TurboTax products, accuracy is 100% guaranteed. TurboTax also guarantees the maximum refund, searching through over 350 deductions and credits to help you claim what you deserve.
The Verdict: Should You Try TurboTax Live?
As long as you’re comfortable answering questions about your taxes, TurboTax Live should be a good fit. With access to live tax experts, TurboTax Live makes it easy to test the waters of DIY tax preparation – even for those who may have lacked the confidence to try it before.
Overall, TurboTax Live is a solid option for tax preparation at home. The fact that you can do your own taxes from home but still have access to real live tax help from experts is a game changer.
For those with more complex tax situations, like freelancers and small business owners, TurboTax Live is an excellent option. Having access to live tax experts who can walk you through a complex situation is a huge confidence boost for anybody wanting to do their own taxes.
So, if you like to do your own taxes but wouldn’t mind some help from an expert, do yourself a favor and check out TurboTax Live. You can start the tax preparation process for free here.