Tips for Finding the Best Deal on Tax Preparation Software

It's not about what's the cheapest tax prep software, but how to get your favorite tax prep software for less. Oh, and there is a free option that's new for 2016!(Please note that there are affiliate links in this post.)

I love collecting the tax forms that arrive in my mailbox every January. Does that make me strange?

OK, I know I’m a bit of an oddball.

I like to do my taxes every year. It’s a fun puzzle to see how much income we had the year before and plug in our deductions, credits, and exemptions. I love to see how that little (or large!) number at the top of my screen changes.

Year after year, I also seek out the best prices for TurboTax. I’m not a tax professional, so I have no reason to recommend TurboTax over other tax preparation software; it’s just that I have used it for 10 years, I’m familiar with it, and it has my information from past years.

If you’re filing just a 1040A or 1040EZ this year, it’s free to file your Federal taxes with TurboTax. What’s the catch? I’m guessing that they’re trying to instill some brand loyalty. Heck, it worked with me! Our taxes are not simple enough for us to qualify for the free filing, so I have to keep looking for the best deal.

I use the online TurboTax interface. One year, I bought the TurboTax box because there was a great sale. This was a mistake because it included only one state tax filing and we needed two that year. Dealing with TurboTax customer service took a lot of time, and I had never tried to contact them when I used the online software. I also didn’t like the interface of the box version. Every time I opened the program, it prompted me to update the software in case there were any tax changes. Plus, I could only work on my taxes from my home computer.

Suffice to say: I returned to the online interface. No more re-inventing the wheel for me.

One more benefit to using the online version is that you don’t actually buy the TurboTax product until your taxes are ready to file. This means that your purchase is tailored to your needs. For anyone who has wondered whether the “basic,” “premium,” “deluxe,” or whatever other available version is right for their needs, checking out after your taxes are complete is extremely useful because TurboTax will tell you which product you need.

What you’re really wondering, though, is how to get the best price. Am I right?

Year after year, I scoured the internet each week for TurboTax sales and coupons. Year after year, the best available discount for the online product was through the Vanguard site. Unfortunately, Vanguard ended that program for 2015 taxes.

The next best option for getting a discount is through a cash back site. My two favorites are offering cashback this year on TurboTax. Ebates.com is currently offering 7.5% and topcashback.com is currently offering 15%. (plus, if you haven’t signed up for these programs yet, you will get a sign-on bonus for using my referral links). Also take a look at any discounts offered by member groups like AAA.

The key to using the cashback discount is to finish your taxes first. When you are ready to check out, visit your preferred cashback site and click through to the tax prep site. At that point, login in and check out. This will ensure that your visit is recorded at the cashback site.

I just got a W2, a 1099, and a few interest statements in the mail this past week. Guess what I’m doing while the East Coast is under a blanket of snow? 😉

EDITED TO ADD: Even better is the 20% off that TurboTax is offering when a friend refers you with their referral link. You should be able to stack the 20% off with a cashback site! Lucky us, I have a referral link because I just finished my taxes (woo hoo!)

Click here to get 20% off of Turbotax!

Do you have a love or hate relationship with your taxes? 


4 thoughts on “Tips for Finding the Best Deal on Tax Preparation Software

  1. I tried your topcashback link but it didnt work. I enjoy doing my taxes, actually. I wish the forms would come sooner! I hate waiting on them! 🙂

  2. The best deal I got on tax software is from Taxcut which has sent me a disc each year. Maybe they give me customer loyalty discount. In any case, I am an oddball as well in that I somewhat enjoy doing my taxes. It’s a bit of a pet peeve when people with simple W-2 returns pay big money to get it done. Some people need the expertise but many don’t.

  3. Pingback: All Aboard the Tax Rollercoaster! | Stapler Confessions

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