FreeTaxUSA vs. TurboTax: A Comprehensive Comparison for Tax Season

FreeTaxUSA vs. TurboTax: A Comprehensive Comparison for Tax Season
FreeTaxUSA vs. TurboTax

FreeTaxUSA vs TurboTax: Do you want to handle your taxes on your own but could use a bit of help? There's a variety of tax preparation software designed for various situations. These tax preparation software will guide you through the tax filing process, one step at a time.

Two commonly used software options for small business owners and professional tax preparers are TurboTax and FreeTaxUSA. These tax filing software enable you  to handle your own taxes, offering both free editions and paid features.

TurboTax is good at handling various tax situations, has helpful customer service, and is trustworthy. Also, TurboTax is  business owners choice because it is easy to use and has lots of helpful features.

FreeTaxUSA provides an easy-to-use interface with thorough features, and it's notably more affordable. If your tax situation isn't too complicated and you don't need extensive customer support, FreeTaxUSA should be a suitable choice for your needs.

Overview of FreeTaxUSA vs. TurboTax


FreeTaxUSA has emerged as a rapidly expanding tax preparation service within the industry. Established in 2001, the platform has facilitated the filing of millions of tax returns. It is committed to providing an affordable service while maintaining a high standard of quality.

FreeTaxUSA provides users with four online tax filing options. These options are: Basic, Advanced, Premium, and Self-Employed. All these options offer free federal filing, but there's an additional charge for state returns. Although it's not totally free for tax preparation, it remains one of the most budget-friendly services available.

Pros of FreeTaxUSA

  • Affordable pricing.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Free federal filing.
  • Supports various tax forms.
  • Prior year return access.

Cons of FreeTaxUSA

  • Limited customer support.
  • Fewer features compared to premium software.
  • State returns come with an extra cost.
  • May not be suitable for complex tax situations.
  • Less hand-holding for inexperienced filers.


TurboTax stands as one of the most recognized and extensively used online tax preparation software applications, and for valid reasons. Furthermore, TurboTax is famous because it's easy to use, it helps you fill out all your tax forms step by step, and it makes the process of filing and paying taxes straightforward.

However, all this ease can be expensive. TurboTax online options often cost more than others, especially if your taxes are more complicated, like when doing business taxes instead of just a basic 1040 form.

Pros of TurboTax

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Comprehensive customer support.
  • Accurate tax calculations.
  • Access to TurboTax Live experts.
  • Wide range of supported tax situations.

Cons of TurboTax

  • Relatively high cost, especially for complex filings.
  • State return filing comes at an additional fee.
  • Can get expensive with add-on services.
  • May have a steeper learning curve for some users.
  • Frequent upselling of premium versions during filing.

FreeTaxUSA vs TurboTax: The Comparison

Let's checkout some of the key differences between TurboTax and FreeTaxUSA.

1. FreeTaxUSA vs TurboTax: Ease of Use

TurboTax and FreeTaxUSA both offer user-friendly interfaces, yet FreeTaxUSA presents a more streamlined experience with fewer additional features. Furthermore, when using FreeTaxUSA, it's essential to note that you'll need to follow a sequential order when filling out tax forms; skipping around is not an option.

Optimal performance is achieved when you are prepared to complete your taxes in a single session. The interface is uncluttered, features clear and legible text, and offers simplicity in navigation, even though it may not guide you through the process step by step.

TurboTax, on the other hand, is famous for being packed with helpful features. It guides you step by step, lets you upload forms when you get them, and allows you to work on different parts of your tax return as needed.

TurboTax employs a user-friendly question format that resembles a conversation with a tax preparer, making it easy to assess your financial situation. What's convenient is that you can begin with a basic version, and if you find that your tax situation is more complex, you can seamlessly switch to a more suitable version.

Importantly, you're only charged when you're prepared to submit your tax return.

2. FreeTaxUSA vs TurboTax: IRS Audit Help

The IRS audit is a nightmare for many business owners in the United States.

Both TurboTax and FreeTaxUSA provide DIY audit support. This service will teach you the ways to respond to the IRS during audits. However, it's worth noting that FreeTaxUSA offers its Audit Assist product exclusively with the purchase of the Deluxe version. In contrast, TurboTax offers a more comprehensive option through its third-party service known as MAX.

If you have no concerns about undergoing an IRS audit and believe you can effectively manage most communications with the IRS independently, the more economical FreeTaxUSA Deluxe version can supply you with the necessary tools. Nevertheless, if you harbor concerns about potential audits and seek comprehensive protection and assistance, opting for the TurboTax add-on when you file can offer you heightened peace of mind.

3. TurboTax vs FreeTaxUSA: Customer Service

Generally, the customer service choices provided by FreeTaxUSA are rather limited. You receive complimentary access to their customer support page, and with the Deluxe version purchase, you gain access to chat support or the searchable Q&A database.

Nonetheless, accessing direct customer support is somewhat challenging. Therefore, if you need extensive assistance, FreeTaxUSA may not be the ideal choice for you.

In contrast, TurboTax provides comprehensive customer service options, such as access to a searchable online database, email support, and phone assistance. Furthermore, for an extra fee, you have the option to access tax professionals for help with tax queries.

TurboTax also provides assistance through TurboTax Live. This is an added service that permits users to share screens with a professional capable of guiding you through your specific tax situation.

When it's time to file, FreeTaxUSA operates on a do-it-yourself basis. You simply pay your fee, submit your return, and that concludes the process. In contrast, TurboTax offers the choice of paying for a tax professional to review your return, sign it, and handle the filing on your behalf. If you desire an additional review of your tax return, TurboTax is the superior choice.

4. TurboTax vs FreeTaxUSA: Pricing

FreeTaxUSA comes out top in this category. Although the free version is available, for more intricate tax scenarios, any additional features you require will incur extra charges.

When you use the free version, doing things like filing your state taxes, fixing mistakes in your tax return, and getting fast customers help cost extra money. But if you go for the Deluxe version, you get most of those things included, except for filing state taxes, which you still have to pay for.

Furthermore, if you go for the Deluxe version of FreeTaxUSA and file your state taxes, it'll cost you about $15 in total, as long as you don't add any extra services. Isn't that a good deal?

TurboTax is among the more expensive tax preparation software options out there. They offer various versions, but the free one is only for people with very straightforward tax situations.

If you choose the Deluxe version, which is the next level up from the free version, you'll need to budget at least $59 for your federal tax return and an additional $59 to file a state tax return.

If you decide to include TurboTax Live in your package, it will come at an additional expense. However, you will gain access to live assistance from tax experts, a service not available when using FreeTaxUSA. For instance, if you opt for TurboTax Live for Self-Employed and include a state return, your total cost will exceed $200.

Still, even with these prices, TurboTax could be more budget-friendly than hiring a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to handle your taxes.


Your choice between buying FreeTaxUSA vs TurboTax tax software depends on your business needs and your budget.

FreeTaxUSA comes at a much lower cost, but it's fair to say that you receive a service that matches the price. It's suitable for individuals who are self-assured about their tax-filing abilities and believe they can manage most of their tax affairs independently, needing only minimal assistance.

FreeTaxUSA doesn't offer an abundance of additional features, so if you're seeking a tax preparation experience that closely resembles having a tax professional guide you through it, this might not be the ideal choice for you.

On the contrary, if you're open to paying more to get access to assistance and additional features, TurboTax emerges as a strong option, particularly for addressing complex tax scenarios. Additionally, you have the option to pay for dedicated audit assistance.

If your tax situation is more intricate, there's a higher likelihood of being audited. Therefore, having the option for specialized audit assistance can give you peace of mind.

Take a thoughtful assessment of your confidence in tax filing and the value you place on additional assistance. This way, you can make a more informed choice between TurboTax vs. FreeTaxUSA.

FAQs on FreeTaxUSA vs. TurboTax

Here are some frequently asked questions about FreeTaxUSA vs. TurboTax:

1. Which one is more affordable, FreeTaxUSA or TurboTax?

FreeTaxUSA is typically more affordable, as its basic federal filing is free, while TurboTax offers a range of pricing tiers depending on the complexity of your tax situation.

2. Are both FreeTaxUSA and TurboTax user-friendly for beginners?

Both platforms are user-friendly, but some users find FreeTaxUSA's interface to be simpler and easier to navigate, especially for straightforward tax returns.

3. Do both services offer free filing for state taxes?

FreeTaxUSA includes free state filing in most cases, while TurboTax may charge an additional fee for state filing, depending on the version you use.

4. Which one provides better customer support?

TurboTax generally offers more extensive customer support options, including live chat and phone support. FreeTaxUSA primarily offers email support, which may have slower response times.

5. Can I import my financial data into both platforms?

Yes, both FreeTaxUSA and TurboTax allow you to import financial data from various sources, such as W-2s and 1099s, to streamline the filing process.

6. Are there any limitations to using the free versions of these services?

Both services have income and tax situation limitations for their free versions. Depending on your income and tax deductions, you may need to upgrade to a paid version.

7. Which one offers better tax guidance and advice?

TurboTax is known for providing more comprehensive tax guidance and advice, with features like TurboTax Live, where you can get help from certified tax experts.

8. Do both platforms support complex tax situations, like self-employment income or investments?

TurboTax offers more specialized features for complex tax situations, making it a preferred choice for those with self-employment income, investments, or rental property.

9. Is there a mobile app for both FreeTaxUSA and TurboTax?

Yes, both services offer mobile apps for filing taxes on the go, but TurboTax's app is more feature-rich and user-friendly.

10. Which one has a better reputation for security and data protection?

TurboTax and FreeTaxUSA both prioritize security, but TurboTax is often perceived as having stronger security measures due to its longer history in the industry.
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