Based on our comparison of FreeTaxUSA vs TurboTax, we found that FreeTaxUSA is a good fit for individuals and self-employed business owners on a budget. Meanwhile, TurboTax is optimal for those needing an advanced level of support that includes full-service tax preparation and filing and unlimited assistance from a tax pro.
Both platforms offer a range of features to help individuals and businesses navigate the complexities of tax season. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your specific needs, budget, and comfort level with navigating tax software.
FreeTaxUSA vs TurboTax at-a-Glance Comparison
When To Use
FreeTaxUSA vs TurboTax: Pricing
FreeTaxUSA and TurboTax have very different structures when it comes to pricing and the services provided. To begin with, FreeTaxUSA can’t be used to prepare business returns (Forms 1120, 1120S, and 1065)—and you can only file a business return with TurboTax if you use the desktop software. Meanwhile, TurboTax’s assisted support for business returns is only available in 14 states
Only available in California, Texas, Florida, Washington, Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, Arizona, and Ohio
; only full-service filing is available for all 50 states.
For individual federal tax returns, FreeTaxUSA is free for all tax situations, including self-employed individuals filing a Schedule C, whereas TurboTax only offers free online filing for basic tax returns (Form 1040 only). TurboTax offers both full-service and assisted support, but FreeTaxUSA only allows for assisted support.
Also, FreeTaxUSA users can choose from two levels of support: Deluxe for an additional $7.99, or Pro for $49.99, which gives you access to a CPA or EA. Neither FreeTaxUSA nor TurboTax support Form 990.
FreeTaxUSA vs TurboTax: Live Assistance
The major difference between FreeTaxUSA vs TurboTax is that the former lacks phone support. It is limited to email and live chat, although if you sign up for the Pro Support plan for $49.99, you can schedule a virtual meeting with a tax professional. It also offers deluxe support for $7.99 for priority support and audit assist. Meanwhile, TurboTax also lets you set up a meeting via one-way videoconferencing, which is useful when sharing documents.
Also, FreeTaxUSA doesn’t provide any type of full-service support for preparing and filing business returns, whereas TurboTax does. The caveat is that TurboTax only offers tax pro assistance for business returns in California, Texas, Florida, Washington, Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, Arizona, and Ohio.
TurboTax excels in this area, while FreeTaxUSA lacks a few useful tools, including cryptocurrency support, a tax calculator, and the ability to import W-2s and 1099s. However, it does let you file an unlimited number of amended returns for free, and you can file prior year returns as well.
Also, while FreeTaxUSA offers audit support if you upgrade to the Deluxe plan, TurboTax offers an audit support guarantee that provides you with free one-on-one audit guidance on how to get through the process of being audited. TurboTax has also partnered with TaxAudit to provide prepaid audit defense for $39.99 per year, and it will defend both federal and state returns, including those that were filed late.
FreeTaxUSA vs TurboTax: Mobile App
The clear winner between TurboTax vs FreeTaxUSA in terms of mobile app is TurboTax. It has a mobile app for iOS and Android users, and though it only supports the Free plan, it lets you communicate live with a tax specialist, e-file your tax return, scan and upload W-2s, and track your IRS refund.
TaxAct vs TurboTax: Customer Service & Ease of Use
FreeTaxUSA has a clean interface that is easy to navigate, and it lets you set up your account information easily. User-friendly navigation tabs allow you to jump to particular sections of your return—namely income, deductions and credits, and a tax filing page.
You just need to answer a few questions about your tax situation, and then you can determine whether you qualify for particular credits or deductions. Included are helpful explainers of tax concepts and the ability to calculate your estimated tax refund or amount due.
While the provider lacks phone support, you can access a customer support agent via email or live chat. You can also upgrade to the Deluxe plan, which gives you access to its live chat feature. If you’d like to speak with a CPA or EA, you can upgrade to the Pro plan. You can also search for support topics on its Customer Support page and question and answer (Q&A) database.
Meanwhile, TurboTax has an intuitive and user-friendly interface that guides users through its tax preparation process. It provides a step-by-step approach, asking questions relevant to the user’s tax situation and tailoring the experience based on their responses. This helps simplify the tax filing process, making it more accessible to individuals with varying levels of tax knowledge.
The platform also has built-in error-checking mechanisms to help users identify and correct potential errors or discrepancies. It performs automatic calculations and ensures that the tax return is completed accurately.
There are several ways to receive support from TurboTax, including phone support, live chat, and email assistance. Users can reach out to TurboTax experts to get answers to their tax-related questions or seek guidance during the tax preparation process.
You can also opt to sign up for TurboTax Live, which provides you with a one-on-one review with a tax expert prior to filing and unlimited advice as during the preparation process. You can also sign up for TurboTax Live Full Service, which will prepare and file your return for you, including two video calls. TurboTax also provides an extensive online help center with a comprehensive knowledge base and community forums.
TurboTax vs FreeTaxUSA: User Reviews
Both FreeTaxUSA and TurboTax scored high with users. FreeTaxUSA users appreciate that it is free for all individual federal tax return filing, no matter your tax situation, and Schedule C businesses as well. Reviewers also praised the low filing fees for state returns. The provider’s most significant limitation is that it doesn’t provide phone support or full-service tax filing.
FreeTaxUSA earned the following average scores on popular review sites:
- Trustpilot1: 3.4 out of 5 based on about 45 reviews
- SuperMoney2: 3.6 out of 5 based on around 20 reviews
- Best Company3: 4.2 out of 5 based on about 80 reviews
Meanwhile, TurboTax users said that they like that there are tax services available for every tax situation, including full-service filing if you would prefer a tax expert to prepare and file your return. Reviewers also appreciate the fact that you can file business returns with TurboTax’s desktop software. One of the solution’s drawbacks is that assisted tax filing is only available in 14 states.
TurboTax has the following average scores on popular review sites:
- G24: 4.4 out of 5 based on nearly 100 reviews
- TrustRadius5: 8.8 out of 10 based on about 15 reviews
- Software Advice6: 4.6 out of 5 based on more than 230 reviews
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
No, it currently doesn’t. However, you can contact the company through email or direct messaging within the software or search the Questions and Answers database. FreeTaxUSA’s Deluxe plan subscribers have access to free chat, priority support, and audit assist. If you sign up for the Pro plan, you’ll get access to a CPA or EA who can answer all of your tax questions.
Yes, TurboTax has a free iOS and Android mobile app
Yes, and FreeTaxUSA will assist you with getting the largest refund possible. It focuses on areas relevant to military personnel and veterans, including combat pay exclusion, moving expense and uniform deductions, job search expenses, reservist’s travel deduction, and earned income tax credit (EITC) for nontaxable combat pay.
Yes, TurboTax has two different levels of live tax help. Its Live Basic (assisted) plans offer a consultation with a tax professional while the Live Full Service plan gives you access to a tax professional who will prepare and file your return, with two consultations scheduled during the process.
In the battle between TurboTax vs FreeTaxUSA, FreeTaxUSA stands out with its affordable pricing for individual tax filers and straightforward UI, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious individuals and those with simpler tax situations. On the other hand, TurboTax provides a more comprehensive and user-friendly experience, particularly for complex tax scenarios and those who value extensive customer support.