TurboTax Free VS Basic

Federal Free Edition

TurboTax Federal Free Edition is an online tax preparation application designed for preparing simple income tax returns and with no income limits. The free edition does include error checking and guarantees that its calculations are correct.
The free edition does not import W2s or other types of data. It also doesn’t import last year’s tax return, so you’ll have to reenter this information again, with guidance from the application of course. The free version does keep trying to get you to choose the higher priced version as you progress through your return, whether you really need assistance or not. The free version is a good place to start when preparing your return, especially if you’re not sure if you need to use a higher version or not. Of course, free tax help is available via chat, email, or through the LiveCommunity. Tech Support is also included. The free edition does include one free federal e-file.


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Basic Edition

The Basic version of TurboTax is identical to the Federal free version in every way except that it includes features that allow users to import and transfer W2s, 1099s, and last year’s taxes and data from ItsDeductible and Mint.com. The online versions don’t import Quicken data, but the desktop version does. One nice ability it does have is that it will import the previous year’s tax data from a PDF file created with any type of software. The online version of TurboTax Basic is available for $19.95. State returns are available for an additional fee. If you purchase the desktop version, you’ll pay $29.95, but you’ll be able to use it for 5 federal e-files.

If you’re still not sure which version you should be using, you can always start with the free version and upgrade to the basic edition if necessary.

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