Costco TurboTax vs. Online: If you’re a Costco member you are probably used to getting fabulous deals in bulk on just about everything. Come tax season you also undoubtedly see the aisles of the store lined with boxes of tax software on CD including TurboTax Deluxe, Premier, and Self-Employed (aka Home & Business) So, is it better to buy TurboTax at Costco, or download it online?
In order to answer that question, let’s look at the differences including features and prices:
Pricing: Costco vs. Online
Before getting into differences in features and functionality, let’s look at the cost. In this case we compared the price of TurboTax at Costco with the discounted online price (after applying this coupon). Here is a price comparison TurboTax Deluxe, Premier, and Home & Business editions at Costco and online:
|Home & Business:||$79.86||$84.99|
Wow, the prices are surprisingly similar!
*State efile costs an extra $34.99 for both Costco and online. However, if you file your taxes before March 15th, you may be able to avoid this state fee by filing online.
Usually Costco is the lowest price on just about everything, and their discount price on TurboTax usually rivals or beats the online price. Note that the pricing for TurboTax Costco and online change during the tax season. The best prices are early in the season, and as the April tax deadline approaches the prices go up!
OK, should you buy TurboTax at Costco, or use the online version?
Why Buy TurboTax Online?
- Convenience: The main difference in my opinion is that TurboTax online offers more flexibility and convenience. Specifically, by being online-based, you have the ability to access your tax return from various computers and devices, or even your phone
- Peace of Mind: Online saves your work in the cloud. No need to worry about technical failure that might result in the loss of your progress or documents
- “Free Edition” Option – If you have simple taxes (1040EZ) you can file with their free edition online
- Online Coupon? There’s always a coupon or discount available online, and the best deals are early in the tax season. You may also be eligible for a discount on TurboTax if you buy it through groups or financial institutions like AAA, AARP, Bank of America, or Vanguard.
OK, those are the big 3 pros of choosing online. Now, let’s look at advantages of buying TurboTax at Costco.
Why Buy TurboTax at Costco?
- Multiple tax returns – The desktop version / CD allows you to file up to 5 federal efiles from one program. That is significant if you need to file multiple tax returns, and would make buying TurboTax at Costco cheaper if you have 2+ tax returns to file (Like parents filing returns for their kids)
- Forms Mode – The Costco / desktop version of TurboTax allows you to view the forms associated with your tax return as you are working on your taxes. This is more flexible compared to online, which is more of a linear process.
- Work offline – If you’re in an area without a secure internet connection, then you won’t be able to use the online version of TurboTax.
- TurboTax Costco coupon? You’ll have to check your local Costco store flyer or warehouse savings for potential discounts on individual products
Think of the two platforms of TurboTax online and desktop as being entirely separate. In other words, while you can decide to use online one year and desktop the next, the two don’t work together in a single tax year. (Using desktop this year? Here’s how to access data from web version)
The price difference seems to be negligible between the two, with both Costco TurboTax and online offering a better price and coupons early in the tax season.
I’ll sum up the differences as saying that the online version offers convenience, while the desktop version has some more functionality, and might be preferable to those filing multiple tax returns.
Personally I like the convenience of filing online as my laptop has a lot of miles on it, and it would make me nervous to depend on it for something as important as my tax return.