TurboTax and TaxCut are widely regarded as the best tax software for consumers, and both have their fair share of fans. Given that I just sat down to start working on our taxes this weekend, I thought it would be worth comparing the two in hopes of helping anyone that’s trying to decide between them. Note that I haven’t actually made it all the way through my taxes (yet), so some of what follows is based on my preliminary impressions. Also note that I’ve never used TaxACT, so it’s not included.
Both TurboTax and TaxCut use an interview format to get the information that they need to properly fill out your various tax forms. While both packages do their best to point out tax law changes as well as life events that might impact taxes, the TurboTax interview feels a bit more comprehensive.
Both TurboTax and TaxCut import data from prior year tax returns, and each is capable of importing data from the other. Beyond this, TurboTax also has the ability to directly import W-2 and 1098/1099 data directly from employers and financial institutions. TaxCut can’t do this, which is kind of a bummer.
Both packages offer a healthy dose of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and extensive help files. TaxCut does a nice job of presenting this information in the sidebar as you progress through the interview. Something that I really like about TurboTax, however, is that they pull in the most common questions that users have been asking online. This implementation makes it very easy to dig for information that’s too specific to make it onto a list of FAQs, and it’s straightforward to post questions of your own.
The Premium version of TaxCut comes with one free phone or e-mail help session on a single topic (additional sessions are $19.95/each). In addition, they offer free audit support via H&R Block. For their part, TurboTax has a downloadable self-help audit support center, and they likewise offer live support. However, there’s no free (live) help included with TurboTax. Rather, you’ll have to pay as you go.
Pricing for TurboTax ranges from $29.95 for the basic version up to $74.95 for the Home & Business version and $109.95 for the full-blown Business version. There is also a free version for those with very simple taxes. TaxCut starts at $19.95 for the basic version and ranges up to $79.95 for the Home & Business version. There is no free version, and they also don’t have a full-blow business version. Both offer free federal e-filing.
Which is Better?
Honestly, the debate over which tax software is the best will likely come down to personal preference. I’ve been partial to TurboTax in the past, and I still feel that way. For what it’s worth, PC Magazine also considers TurboTax to be the best. Don’t get me wrong, TaxCut is a fine program, but it’s just not my cup of tea.