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As an American citizen, I've done my own taxes for the last few years. Years ago I used TurboTax, but stopped when I realized it was just as easy to fill in the IRS forms myself. (Year over year very little changes in my tax situation.) However, since I have a new job, I decided to "reset" and make sure I'm up to date with the tax code.

Intuit has at least 5 different tax preparation packages:

  • Basic
  • Deluxe
  • Premier
  • Home & Business
  • Business

Since my wife gets 1099s for occasionally selling cooking tools, I need to file a Schedule C. Intuit suggests I need Home & Business (~$100). It hardly seems worth spending that much just to deal with a few hundred dollars in "business" income. Can I buy a cheaper version and still file a Schedule C? What does each level of TurboTax actually buy you? Are more forms supported or is the difference simply better, more-detailed guidance?

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Answer for Tax Year 2013 and earlier:

We have had a few different small scale sales businesses in our household over the last several years, and we have always used TurboTax Deluxe. I have not used Premier or Home & Business.

TurboTax Deluxe has all the forms you need for this type of business. I understand that TurboTax Home & Business has more guidance for handling your business deductions, but if you've been doing it yourself in the past, you already have a good understanding of what needs to be done. You should be able to do everything you need to do with TurboTax Deluxe.

TurboTax Premier includes extra guidance for investments and rental property, so if you also have these situations and think you'll need help, you might want to consider TurboTax Premier. But again, if you already know what you are doing, TurboTax Deluxe should have everything you need.

Answer for Tax Year 2014:

Unfortunately, TurboTax has decided to cripple the Deluxe version this year. I have been using TurboTax for the last 10 years. Each year, I have used the Deluxe version, and it has done everything I need. This year, I purchased the Deluxe version, and when I get to a certain part of my taxes that I do every year, I get this message:

Based on what you've told us, you'll need to upgrade to TurboTax Premier to complete your taxes.

Of course, Intuit is conveniently offering to let me upgrade in-app for $30 extra (which costs me more total than if I had purchased the Premier version to begin with).

Apparently, I should have read the Amazon reviews before purchasing. I can no longer recommend TurboTax Deluxe for the OP's situation, and unfortunately, I don't know which version you'll need. You can buy Deluxe, I guess, and TurboTax will just make you pay extra for whatever version it thinks you need. (However, this will cost you more than discerning the correct version to begin with.) Or you can join me in trying out a different company's tax software this year.

Answer for Tax Year 2015 and beyond:

Intuit has announced that next year, the functionality that was removed from TurboTax Deluxe will be restored. I had a pretty good experience with H&R Block's software this year, so I will probably be going with that again next year.

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