written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/5/2011
TurboTax and TaxCut are the two main income tax suites are the market. But, which is better? Read about the pros and cons of each software and which one is right for you.
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Most home office users are looking for both a bargain and usability when trying to select a software suite to use to file their taxes. There are fans on both sides of the aisle, but here is an overview of the pros and cons of each.
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Interview Process and Guarantees
Both suites have an interview process. The system asks you questions, such as do you receive a W-2 or a 1099, married, single, etc. This way, the system can skip questions on the final form that do not pertain to you. These interviews are meant to help you properly fill out your tax forms. In this way, the two programs are the same. Many users, however, feel that the TurboTax is much more comprehensive in their questioning.
Both programs have error-checking software to help you avoid an audit. There are automated calculations throughout the whole process so you can see how much you will owe or how much your refund. You can see these calculations throughout the entire interview process.
They both provide audit support and guarantee their work. This guarantee involves paying whatever IRS penalties you may be fined if the software was inaccurate. And, you can either get a desktop or downloadable version of each. TaxCut, however, does not work on Macs.
These software suites both have the ability to import your data from other sources, such as Quicken and TaxCut and TurboTax prior years. TurboTax, however, allows you the opportunity to download your W-2's, 1098 and 1099 forms from either your employers or financial institutions. TaxCut does not. If you have multiple W-2's or are a major investor, you should consider this before purchasing a software program.
The costs vary between the both of them. TurboTax can cost $29.95 for the standard version, $74.95 for the Home & Business version and close to $110 for the Business version. You can obtain a free version if your taxes are more straightforward. You get five free Federal E-files with the desktop version. The state one will cost you $19.95 to process it. If you have TurboTax Deluxe or some of the more expensive versions of the software, the state returns are free with this. You get one free Federal return and one state E-file return with the online version.
TaxCut does not have a free version or a comprehensive Business version of the software. On the whole, however, it is cheaper. The standard version is $19.95 and the Home and Business version is $79.95. So, if you are just looking for some standard filings, you may be able to save some money with TaxCut. You get five free Federal E-files for both the online and desktop versions. While it is free to file your state return with TaxCut Online, it will cost you $30 to prepare the return. You will have to pay $20 for the state return if you have the desktop version.
For advice on preparing your taxes, read Lashan Clarkes Death and Taxes: TurboTax Takes Care of Taxes.
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Support and FAQ's
Another thing to consider is what type of support each software provides. Both of these programs come with a searchable Frequently Asked Questions area. TaxCut has its FAQ bar on the side to help you as you go through the interview process.
With your purchase of TaxCut, you can have either one phone call or one Email to tech support free. And, you get audit support from H&R Block for free. After that first call or Email, the price is $199.95 per question.
The TurboTax FAQ section will upload questions that they have received via the Internet to their software. Plus, you can pose questions of your own. So, you may be more apt to find the answers that you need more readily with TurboTax.
TurboTax does not come with free live help; you have to pay $29.95 per 20-minute phone call or Email and $19.95 for each additional 20-minute session. They do, however, have an audit support section that can be downloaded. Before you decide to pay for any support, try using the TurboTax Live Community. It's free and has many of the answers for which you are seeking.
When it comes down to which is better it is really a matter of preference. Both are adequate for doing your tax returns and ensuring accuracy before you submit them.