TurboTax Review 2024: The Pros, Cons and What You Need to Know

Woman sits a table doing taxes.
Aileen Perilla/ The Penny Hoarder

Doing your taxes is likely not the easiest item on your to-do list.

There are so many questions to answer before you can even get started. What documents do you need? How do you determine whether the rules have changed from last year? And, of course, which digital DIY tax filing service should you use?

We’ve been there. But tax filing services like TurboTax, H&R Block, Cash App Taxes and TaxSlayer can help you figure out what forms you need and guide you through the process — often for free. It’s worth evaluating your options to see what might work for you.

In this article, we review TurboTax’s online filing services and tax software and see how it compares to the competition.

TurboTax: How Does It Work?

Perhaps the best known of the digital filing options, TurboTax is the tax-focused baby of Intuit, the same company behind Quickbooks. It also owns Mint, but the budget-helper is no longer available as of January.

TurboTax is a perfect option for those who want everything from a full-service expert doing their taxes — thanks to TurboTax Live Full Service’s guaranteed results — to someone who wants to use the guided software to input information on their own.

The service offers the TurboTax Free Edition.* So you’ll pay nothing to file state and federal taxes if you’re filing a simple tax return with limited credits, which means using only the IRS Form 1040. Situations covered include W-2 income, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and child tax credits. About 37% of taxpayers are eligible for this option, per TurboTax.

Is this all sounding a little too technical or overwhelming? You may want to invest instead in the TurboTax CD/download, which allows you to install the software on your computer. The cost of the Deluxe (and more) CD includes the tax preparation fee for one state and five federal e-filings, although you can prepare and print unlimited federal tax returns.

As you can see, TurboTax offers much to choose from and has four main pricing tiers as of January 2024. Here’s a little more about how much they cost and what they offer.

Free Edition

The idea of free tax filing software sounds too good to be true, and that’s because it is — kind of. Still, more than 11 million customers use the free filing service, per the company, so it is possible.

The TurboTax Free Edition is great for those who only need to cover W-2 income, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC) and child tax credits. You can also include interest or dividends that don’t require filing a Schedule B as well as the student loan interest deduction and the IRS standard deduction. Anything more than that, like itemized deductions on Schedule A, stock sales or rental property income, will likely make you not qualify for the free service.

Before you start, look at the various deductions you plan to take and income you have to report. That way, you don’t have to surprise-buy a more expensive version of TurboTax halfway through.

Cost: $0


The Deluxe edition is the right choice for the person who doesn’t want to shell out that much more but wants help finding all the possible tax credits for them.

The Deluxe TurboTax helps you search more than 350 tax deductions and credits to find the ones that fit for you. That includes homeowner tax breaks, charitable donations plus mortgage and property tax deductions. If you have education tax credits or tax credits for dependents, you might want to go ahead and invest in Deluxe. This is also helpful when it comes to 1099-MISC income — i.e. earnings of an independent contractor like a freelance writer or Uber driver.

But if freelance work is your sole source of income, you’ll be better off using the TurboTax Home & Business, which is recommended for personal and self-employed taxes and is described below.

Cost: $70 for five federal e-files and one state download


If you’re someone who has additional income from investments and rental property, then you may want to upgrade to the Premier version of TurboTax. You’ll get everything in Deluxe, as well as the ability to automatically import investment information from financial institutions, including stock and crypto activity, as well as look at your retirement accounts and determine how to maximize your retirement amount.

If you own property, TurboTax will simplify rental property depreciation and offer advice on how to set up new rental properties in the future. Once you’re done, the system will also guide you on how to save more tax-wise for your next filing for the following tax year.

Cost: $105 for five federal e-files and one state download


If the bulk of your income comes from a self-employed post, like online sales or professional services, then you may want to consider TurboTax Home & Business. It works for industry-specific deductions and offers guidance for freelancers, independent contractors and small business owners, including on vehicle deductions and phone, supplies and utilities deductions.

TurboTax guarantees your maximum tax refund.

Cost: $120 for five federal e-files and one state download

Woman sits a table doing taxes.

Aileen Perilla/ The Penny Hoarder

TurboTax Live

For each of the products above, TurboTax lets you upgrade to TurboTax Live to get on-demand answers and a line-by-line review of your taxes by a tax expert.

Cost: TurboTax Live comes in two tiers:

  • Assisted costs $0, including free state filing.
  • Full Service costs $89 and includes W2 and 1040 and $49 per state filing.


No matter which tier works best for you — and there’s an easy, clickable questionnaire that helps you figure out the right product based on your tax situation — all TurboTax customers get access to a wide range of tools, guarantees and features.

Audit Support Guarantee

Say you’ve done your taxes through TurboTax, whether individually or with a professional, and you end up receiving an audit letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Here’s where the system’s Audit Support Guarantee comes in.

TurboTax offers one-on-one question-and-answer support with a tax professional through its Audit Support Center if requested. This applies for returns filed in the current tax year, 2023, or individual, non-business returns filed in the past two previous years, or 2021 and 2022. This, however, does not mean that an expert from TurboTax will represent you in front of any tax authority. If the service cannot connect you with a tax professional, you will get refunded the federal or state purchase price paid. Free Edition users get a payment of $30.

Money-Back Maximum Refund Guarantee

TurboTax promises you the maximum tax refund — guaranteed. That means that if you find a bigger refund or smaller overall tax payment from another method, it will refund you the federal or state purchase price you paid for access to its programs. (Again, free users can get up to $30.)

Mobile Apps for Apple and Android

If you’re someone who likes to do things on the go, you can even file your taxes through an app. TurboTax has options for both Apple and Android users. (Keep in mind—you may want to file them online so you can sit down and really go through your taxes.)

Refund Advance

One of TurboTax’s most unusual features may be the refund advance option of up to $4,000 with no loan fees, no credit impact and 0% APR. A few eligibility barriers apply: you’ll have to have a refund of at least $500 and can’t live in North Carolina, Connecticut or Illinois, for example.

But if you can apply, you could get the funds in as fast as a minute after the IRS accepts your tax return. You’ll have to get them by opening a checking account with Credit Karma Money, also owned by Intuit, and can, once accepted, almost immediately use your Credit Karma Money virtual debit card loaded up with the funds from your return. If you prefer to get your funds in direct deposit or a paper check, that will take 21 days or more than 28 days, respectively. It’s important to note that you won’t get your full refund — TurboTax refunds in amounts going up by $250 and starting at $250 and then eventually by $500 from $1,000 onwards.

Once the IRS distributes the rest of your return, you’ll receive the rest of the money into the Credit Karma Money checking account you’ve already opened. (They will withhold the cost of any TurboTax service fees.)

Pay-With-My-Refund Options

If you anticipate having a high refund and want to pay for TurboTax with your refund instead of your bank account, that can be done. This service often comes with a $40 processing fee. To do this, you’ll have to e-file your federal return and direct deposit your refund into a single account. It can only be used once.

Woman sits a table doing taxes.
Aileen Perilla/ The Penny Hoarder


To prepare and file your tax returns through TurboTax, you’ll pay a fee for the filing program or software, which includes federal filings and a state filing. Here’s how that looks:

  • DIY online filing: Free to $120, depending on tier.
  • TurboTax Live: Free to $89, depending on tier, plus an additional $49 for each state filing

If you owe taxes after you file, you can pay with credit card or debit card through payment processors recommended by TurboTax. This generally comes with a fee between $2 and $4 per transaction for a debit card and a percentage-based fee for a credit card.

You can also use an electronic funds withdrawal to pay directly from your bank account—that is, if you’re e-filing your taxes and using tax preparation software, a tax professional or IRS Free File. You may have to pay a small fee to your banking institution.

TurboTax: Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve laid out the basics of TurboTax’s features, what’s the verdict on its performance? Like all financial products and services, there are both pros and cons to using TurboTax.

  • Affordable: TurboTax’s tiers clock in at a lower price than similar tiers from competitors — though its free DIY service doesn’t cover as many filers as other options.
  • Ease of use: Filing with TurboTax is pretty comprehensive and user-friendly, according to user reviews. Its technology simplifies the process.
  • Comprehensive: The company has a product available for just about every filer, no matter your income or tax situation, or how hands-on or hands-off you want to be.
  • Customer service: TurboTax offers lots of support, including links to extensive support topics, as well as a community forum that lets you interact with other filers and tax experts.

  • Overwhelming user experience: TurboTax is super customizable, but sifting through its many product options can feel kind of overwhelming.
  • Lack of transparency: Your total TurboTax fees aren’t totally clear until you go through the tax prep process. That could mean wasted time if you end up wanting to look for a cheaper option.
  • No physical locations: TurboTax doesn’t offer in-person, brick-and-mortar offices like H&R Block. If face-to-face, personalized service is important to you, this isn’t your best option.

Who Is TurboTax Best For?

When it comes right down to it, most online tax preparation services are more alike than they are different.

TurboTax may be best for someone who wants custom tax help without going into an office and dealing with a live person. It’s also a good option if you’re looking for a truly fee-free line of advance tax credit so you can access your money ASAP.

Remember, you can always file for free, if you’re eligible, through the IRS portal. This service is available to filers who earned $79,000 or less (in 2023), and the page also links to free fillable forms for earners at all levels.

Still comparison shopping? Check out our reviews of H&R Block and TaxAct before you make a decision.

*TurboTax Free Edition. ~37% of taxpayers qualify. Form 1040 + limited credits only

Writer Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, often writing about selling goods online through social platforms. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Smithsonian Magazine and the Tampa Bay Times.