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TurboTax Deluxe 2011

Download Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
2.0
out of 34 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    1.0
  • Total Downloads:
    34,122
  • Date Added:
    Feb. 23, 2012
  • Price:
    Purchase; $29.99 to buy
  • File Size:
    Not available
  • Downloads Last Week:
    72
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:
    #10 in Tax Software

Editors' Note: The Download Now link takes you to the site, where you can purchase and download the software.

Editors' Review

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For the past several years, TurboTax has impressed us with its clear language and simple step-by-step tax prep, and Intuit's offering for the 2011 tax year is no exception. Whether you're an experienced taxpayer or you're fairly new to the system, TurboTax can help you file.

The first thing I should point out is that TurboTax comes in four versions--Basic, Deluxe, Premier, and Home & Business--each of which offers both an online prep option or a software download. All of the online apps let you start a single e-file for free, while the downloads cost a bit more but come bundled with more than one e-file.

Features and interface
By far the best thing about TurboTax 2011 is its simplicity. From its cleaner interface and more-straightforward language to its addition of a new unemployment section, TurboTax has clearly incorporated user feedback in its design.

If you're new to the program, the first thing you'll notice is that TurboTax doesn't let you interact with the actual tax form--which is good. Rather, it poses questions in plain user-friendly language, then, it populates the proper forms for you, behind the scenes. And if there are any redundant questions between the federal and state forms, TurboTax will automatically duplicate your answers appropriately. This way, no one gets confused by the hypertechnical IRS jargon that's typically found on these forms.

To further minimize human error, TurboTax lets you import your W-2 and 1099 forms directly from your employer or payroll provider, so you don't have to input your wages by hand. It can also grab investment information from banks like Charles Schwab as well as programs like Quickbooks and Mint.com. While other tax software suites also import financial information, the sheer number of institutions supported by TurboTax is certainly impressive.

While TurboTax's interface is just as clean as ever, one noteworthy addition is its new refund monitor, which sits at the top of the screen and keeps a running count of both your federal and state tax refunds. As you answer your interview questions, the figures change, and, of course, the more deductions you list, the higher the figures can potentially move. While I won't say it made doing my taxes "fun," I will say it made me want to plow through my interview questions quickly and accurately.

As for deciding among TurboTax's various levels of tax prep, there are a few features to consider. While the free or Basic version is more than suitable for people with one form of income, minimal investments, and a few interest write-offs, those with more-complicated filing needs may need to upgrade. For instance, the Deluxe version is a better option for those who experienced major life changes (buying a home, getting married, changing jobs) over the past year, since it includes extra tools and functionality for maximizing related deductions. Likewise, Premier is the version to go with if you have a rental property or a wide variety of investments, and Home & Business will provide extra guidance for those who are self-employed.

Help and support
One thing I particularly love about TurboTax is its Help Center, which always sits conveniently on the right side of the screen. More than your typical search-based Help Centers, TurboTax's offers an FAQ as well as access to TurboTax's live community of users, many of whom have probably asked or answered questions similar to yours. On top of that, TurboTax now offers live tax advice from experts for free. This is a big change from previous versions, which charged extra fees for live professional help, on top of the price of the program. What's more, live expert hours have been extended to between 5 a.m and 9 p.m. PT, seven days a week.

Finally, TurboTax even conducts an audit risk analysis before you file, in case any sections of your form raise red flags.

Bottom line
With only one included federal e-file (five for the download version) and an additional fee for state filing, TurboTax certainly isn't the cheapest tax software out there. However, it does offer the most clearly worded interview and the most comprehensive help and support of all the options I've seen. Plus, you can actually go through the entire Web-based version for free, and pay only if you decide to follow through and file. Overall, I highly recommend TurboTax to all users, especially those who feel less than comfortable with the tax-filing process.

A note on online versus desktop prep: While there's no rule, we tend to think of online tax prep as ideal for those filing individually--it's sometimes less pricey for singletons, and stores your encrypted return on the provider's server. Linux users may also prefer online prep, since most makers of tax software don't program downloads for the Linux platform. Desktop prep may be better suited for families, who can file up to five federal e-files as part of a single software license, or for those who would rather store their data locally on their computers.

 
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
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Results 1–3 of 3

2 stars

"Frustrating..."

December 15, 2012  |  By simplemark

 |  Version: TurboTax Deluxe 2011 1.0

Pros

syncs with quicken
relatively easy to use
walks you though the process

Cons

accuracy...their mistake doubled one item in my taxes
thoroughness...doesn't cover many common tax situations
instructions inadequate and wrong
customer service help
price

Summary

TurboTax is the only tax software I've used, mainly because Vanguard Flagship clients can download it for free each year. And each year I encounter problems and frustrations that surprise me the TT engineers haven't corrected them before release.

This year my big problem was finding out how to enter K-1's (form 1065) that have figures in more than one of the first 3 boxes. This isn't unusual, many real estate investments require a figure in at least 2 of the 3 boxes. The instructions say to create separate K-1's for each of them, but doesn't explain how to do it. It took me hours of trial and error and reading help forums to figure out how to do it without seriously skewing my tax results. (My tax DOUBLED when I did it the way TT recommended way...an obvious error). No where in the instructions or the online help does it give a clear description of how to go about it. I'll bet lots of folks waste much time figuring it out or probably don't...and getting erroneous results. It was INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING.

If you encounter this problem, here is a page with the solution: https://ttlc.intuit.com/post/show_full/dpGFUEDs8r4AgJeJfaacN5/k-1-1065-with-amounts-in-both-box-1-and-2?p=1&ppid=17079118&q=k-1+type+of+activity&s=3

A further frustration is that it's difficult to find where to download your data file after finishing your taxes. If you have to amend your taxes, you will be glad you saved it, or you will have to re-enter all your forms from your paper printout. TT encourages you to download a pdf of your tax forms and that's all. They should make saving the data file a standard part of finishing your return. It's a MYSTERY why they haven't. I'll bet every year this effects thousands of people who need to amend their returns. The way you do it is to "save as" from the file menu at the top of the page, and select the data option.

Another issue is that TT makes it almost impossible to download your data file from the prior years online version. I finally found a way here: (http://blogs.computerworld.com/19377/how_i_got_my_turbotax_data_back) there's no rhyme or reason why they don't have this same info posted for the other online versions. It works on other versions, but it says it's only for the online free version.

All in all, it may be the best tax software out there, but I'm amazed at the mistakes, the lack of thoroughness, and missing instruction on such a widely sold and expensive piece of software.

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1 stars

"no support when you need it"

April 18, 2012  |  By pmacdee

 |  Version: TurboTax Deluxe 2011 1.0

Pros

Can't think of any.

Cons

TurboTax couldn't determine that my 19 year old was not a dependent anymore and I got an error when I uploaded the tax forms and payment. Their support is from 8-5 pm only and if you live on the west cost it is pretty inconvenient. Looking for a different solution next year.

Summary

Im reviewing all of the packages next year...

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4 stars

"Positive experience for the most part"

February 27, 2012  |  By dirkwade1985

 |  Version: TurboTax Deluxe 2011 1.0

Pros

It was relatively easy. I would recommend that one does some homework first and not totally reply on the default recommendations. In any event, I got it done, submitted it. Literally within eleven minutes, I was notified by TT that my returns were accepted by IRS and I should check on the status in 72 hours and no sooner. I did but there is no status at IRS site. Tried again the following morning, the status says I will have my refund by March 13.

Cons

It keeps asking me for upgrade and more money.

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Results 1–3 of 3

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Full Specifications

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General
Publisher Intuit
Publisher web site http://www.intuit.com
Release Date February 23, 2012
Date Added February 23, 2012
Version 1.0
Category
Category Business Software
Subcategory Tax Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP/Vista/7
Additional Requirements Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, Internet Explorer 6.0, Adobe Flash Player 9.0, Adobe Reader 8.0
Download Information
File Size Not Available
File Name External File
Popularity
Total Downloads 34,122
Downloads Last Week 72
Pricing
License Model Purchase
Limitations Not available
Price $29.99

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