Best Answer: Turbotax comes in 2 very distinct flavors:
1) Boxed software that you can buy at stores like office depot or walmart
2) Online software that you use by going to the turbotax website.
Both of them are identical in terms of functionality in terms of tax calculations, efiling etc. And both of them are substantially cheaper compared to preparing your tax return at a tax preparrer. In addition with either the boxed software or the online software, you can have your tax return physically reviewed by a professional (for an additional fee).
Boxed Software: With the boxed software you have to buy the software and install it on your computer. Since you have to buy the software there are no features. You can use the software to prepare the return, print it and mail it out. No internet connection is required. To use the efile feature you need an internet connection. It is also recommended to have an
internet connection because you can download last minute changes to the software.
Online software: You do not need to install anything on your computer. All the software is hosted on turbotax' website. You access their secure website with a userid and passowrd. All communications between your computer and the site is encrypted. You prepare your return online and efile it. Even with the online software, you can still print your tax return and mail it. The online version of the software also has a free feature for your federal taxes which the boxed software does not.
Note the difference between online preparation and e-filing. These are not the same thing. With e-filing, your tax return is sent to the IRS electronically. Even if you prepare your tax return on the online website, you still need to choose whether you want to e-file it or not.
Hope this helps.
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