Those that have used TurboTax in the past know that they’ve subdivided their product platform into different versions, each with different capabilities — and, of course, at different price points.
Have very simple filing needs? Use the Basic version — you might even be able to so for free. Need to do somewhat more complex things, like itemize your deductions? In that case, you’ll need the Deluxe version. And so forth.
Early on, we could get away with the Basic version. But then our life got more complicated and we graduated to the Deluxe version. And that’s pretty much where we stayed until we stopped doing our own taxes.
Well, as of this year, Intuit has removed certain critical forms from their online Deluxe version and put them in the more costly Premier or Home & Business versions. This means that many of those who used to get by with the Deluxe version will now be forced to upgrade to a more costly version.
If you need to file Schedules D or E (related to investment income), you’ll need to upgrade to Premier. And if you need to file Schedule C (self-employment income) or Schedule F (farm income), you’ll need to upgrade to the Home & Business version.
To be clear, these forms were available in TurboTax Online Deluxe in the past, but that’s no longer the case. It’s also worth noting that these changes do not apply to the Desktop versions of their software.
For their part, Intuit says they’re doing this in the name of “improving our products and experiences.” But it looks to me like little more than a hidden price increase.
Some additional info:
As of this writing, the online pricing is $29.99 for Deluxe, $49.99 for Premier, and $74.99 for Business & Home. These prices are for federal returns only — they do not include state income tax returns, which cost an additional $36.99.
If you opt for the desktop version instead, the prices (from Intuit) for the above products are $59.99, $89.99, and $99.99. More, yes, but the desktop version (available via CD or download) does include the state software.
Of course, you can find better deals elsewhere. For example, Amazon has TurboTax Deluxe for $49.99 — once again, this includes the state software as well as the forms that have been removed from the online Deluxe version.
Note: If you’re looking for an alternative, consider H&R Block’s Tax Software, which can be had for $24.99 (Mac/PC download, including state) on Amazon.
And if you’re a Vanguard Flagship customer, you can actually get the Basic or Deluxe versions for free, or the Premier version at a steep discount.