Turbo Tax Basic Vs. Deluxe

By Edward Mercer

TurboTax can guide you through IRS forms.
i TAX TIME image by brelsbil from Fotolia.com

TurboTax is software that helps users file their federal and state taxes, and it comes in several versions, each designed for a specific financial and tax situation. TurboTax Basic, for example, is the more simple package and is recommended for users who do not have complex financial transactions to report on their taxes, while the Deluxe edition has some extra features for users who have more to report. Knowing how each is different can help you identify what kind of user you are and which version is more appropriate for your needs.

Suggested User

TurboTax Basic is recommended for users with few deductions and expenses. More specifically, users who rent rather than own their property, do not pay state income taxes, do not make sizable charitable donations and have not sold investments over the last fiscal year will probably find that the Basic package meets their needs. Users who own a home, file state returns, have considerable medical expenses or make large donations to charity might find the Deluxe version more appropriate for their situation.


Both versions of TurboTax come with features such as included IRS forms, online help, access to the free Federal E-file system and an integrated accuracy-checking program that makes sure you're adding everything up correctly. TurboTax Deluxe, however, comes with a few extra features, such as a program that looks through your information to identify additional deductions or credits you may not be aware of and options for inputting information about changes in your career, assets or financial situation over the last year.


The added functionality of TurboTax Deluxe comes with a higher price tag. At the time of print, TurboTax Basic was offered at $34.95, while the Deluxe version was available for $49.95, with additional costs attached to each for state tax filing. Although the idea of sending money to the IRS and having to pay extra for filing may not seem that agreeable on tax day, the difference is probably worth it if your taxes are complicated enough to merit using TurboTax Deluxe, especially when errors on your tax files can trigger an audit.

Audit Risk

In addition to the accuracy checker included on both versions, TurboTax Deluxe includes the Audit Risk Meter, which evaluates your information to help predict the likelihood of an audit and gives you suggestions on how to lower that risk. The program also alerts users with a red flag every time they input a piece of information that is likely to result in an audit; this is a very useful feature for users with more complex financial situations who are at greater risk of making mistakes and being audited.