Solved: What are the differences between Turbotax Online and TurboTax Desktop?
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What are the differences between Turbotax Online and TurboTax Desktop?

What are the differences between Turbotax Online and TurboTax Desktop? Why would I choose TTO over TTD? Why would I chose TTD over TTO?


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Level 15

What are the differences between Turbotax Online and TurboTax Desktop?

Here's some differences between the Online version and the Desktop CD/Download program.

Online web version is only good for 1 return, federal and state are separate charges,  It is free to start, you pay when you file or if you want to print.  Price is determined at the time you pay.  You can pay anytime like if you want to lock in an early discounted price. You can not see the forms until you pay and print them out.   Online versions do not have the same forms so you may need to use a higher version to enter something.   Online returns are stored online and after Oct each year you might not have access to it.  So you should save and download both  the .tax and .pdf files each year to your computer.  
You can check out Online here,   https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/online/  

The Desktop CD/Download program can do unlimited returns and you can efile 5 federal for free and Deluxe and above comes with 1 free state program download to prepare unlimited state returns but each state return (including the first one) is 19.99 (goes up to 24.99 in March) to efile or you can print and mail it for free.  You can see and enter directly into the actual forms.  Desktop has a What-If worksheet.  Your return is kept on your own computer so you will always have access to it in the future like if you need a copy or need to amend it.  And other features.  Oh, and you can use a lower version because all the Desktop programs have all the same forms.
You can see the Desktop CD/Download programs here, https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/cd-download/


If you buy the CD at the store the Basic version does not include the state.  And Deluxe is available both with and without the state.  Because some states don't have an income tax.  So check the box carefully.  Look around for sales at stores.  You can see the Desktop versions here, https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/cd-download/

I would buy at Costco or Amazon or wherever you can get the best price.  If you want to use the Desktop program this year we can tell you how to get your 2016 return from Online to transfer into the Desktop program so post back.

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6 Replies
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Level 15

What are the differences between Turbotax Online and TurboTax Desktop?

Here's some differences between the Online version and the Desktop CD/Download program.

Online web version is only good for 1 return, federal and state are separate charges,  It is free to start, you pay when you file or if you want to print.  Price is determined at the time you pay.  You can pay anytime like if you want to lock in an early discounted price. You can not see the forms until you pay and print them out.   Online versions do not have the same forms so you may need to use a higher version to enter something.   Online returns are stored online and after Oct each year you might not have access to it.  So you should save and download both  the .tax and .pdf files each year to your computer.  
You can check out Online here,   https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/online/  

The Desktop CD/Download program can do unlimited returns and you can efile 5 federal for free and Deluxe and above comes with 1 free state program download to prepare unlimited state returns but each state return (including the first one) is 19.99 (goes up to 24.99 in March) to efile or you can print and mail it for free.  You can see and enter directly into the actual forms.  Desktop has a What-If worksheet.  Your return is kept on your own computer so you will always have access to it in the future like if you need a copy or need to amend it.  And other features.  Oh, and you can use a lower version because all the Desktop programs have all the same forms.
You can see the Desktop CD/Download programs here, https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/cd-download/


If you buy the CD at the store the Basic version does not include the state.  And Deluxe is available both with and without the state.  Because some states don't have an income tax.  So check the box carefully.  Look around for sales at stores.  You can see the Desktop versions here, https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/cd-download/

I would buy at Costco or Amazon or wherever you can get the best price.  If you want to use the Desktop program this year we can tell you how to get your 2016 return from Online to transfer into the Desktop program so post back.

View solution in original post

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New Member

What are the differences between Turbotax Online and TurboTax Desktop?

thank you. from what I've researched, staying with the CD is best for many reasons, including all you reference. the concern is new computer has no drive, so guessing a portable CD DRIVE is answer. Any suggestions on what brand to purchase?

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Returning Member

What are the differences between Turbotax Online and TurboTax Desktop?

How can I tell which version I bought?  I'm not sure if I have business online or business download.

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Expert Alumni

What are the differences between Turbotax Online and TurboTax Desktop?

TurboTax Business (for S-Corps, Partnerships, Trusts, and Estates) and TurboTax Home and Business are both download/cd products. TurboTax Self Employed is the Online version of Home and Business.  

 

If you are using a browser to open your TurboTax program then you are using an online product. If you are opening an application on your computer then you are using a download/cd product. If your program has Forms Mode, it is download/cd. If it does not have Forms Mode it is Online. 

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Level 1

What are the differences between Turbotax Online and TurboTax Desktop?

Online refers to downloading from the web without purchasing a CD/DVD at, for example, Costco, Sam's, Office Depot, etc.  Download refers to having purchased a CD/DVD version from Costco, Sam's, Office Depot or any other locations where they are sold; inserting the DVD into your computer and downloading from the DVD.

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Expert Alumni

What are the differences between Turbotax Online and TurboTax Desktop?

TurboTax Online is a web-based program that is not installed on your computer.

 

TurboTax CD/downloaded versions are stand-alone programs installed on your computer.  The installation may be done either by purchasing an actual CD from a brick and mortar store or by purchasing a 'download' directly from TurboTax (without an actual CD).  

 

One important difference between the two options is that you can view all the tax forms included in your return when you use the CD/downloaded version versus the online version.  With TurboTax Online, you can only preview your Form 1040 prior to paying the TurboTax fees.  

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