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Taxes

Ramsey SmartTax vs. TurboTax

If you remember getting a thick tax booklet in the mail from the IRS every year, carefully tearing out the perforated forms, and then filling them out line by line (in pencil if you were smart)—man, you’re old!

We’re just kidding. But if you do remember those days, you know how great it is to be able to file your taxes electronically. You also probably know how great it was to get a mixtape from a friend—but that’s another story.

In 2021, 93% of people filed their taxes electronically through either self-file software or a tax pro.1 And why wouldn’t they? Filing electronically requires very little math, no erasing so many times you wear a hole in the form (it happens), and no chance of your return getting lost in the mail.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to taxes, you need self-file software that moves you from start to finish quickly, accurately and affordably.

But with several e-filing providers available, who should you choose?

Let’s take a look at Ramsey SmartTax vs. TurboTax so you can make the best decision for your tax situation.

How to Choose an E-File Service

If you’ve got multiple income sources, own your own business, or just generally have a more complicated tax return, it’s best to skip the DIY e-file route and head straight to a trusted tax professional.

Taxes shouldn’t be this complicated. Connect with a RamseyTrusted tax advisor.

If you have a simpler tax situation, look for a service with software that’s easy to learn and use, fits the budget, and will give you peace of mind that your tax return has been completed correctly. Plus, keep an eye out for service providers that have hidden fees and ridiculous add-ons and try to sell you stuff you don’t need (we’re looking at you, credit cards).

What Is Ramsey SmartTax?

Ramsey SmartTax is an e-file alternative to TurboTax—which, let’s face it, is less interested in helping you along your entire financial journey and more focused on additional fees, add-ons and debt-based product partnerships (we’re still looking at you, credit cards). With Ramsey SmartTax, every part of the e-filing process is designed to be easy to use, accurate and reliable. It’s the only e-file tax return service Dave Ramsey recommends. But that’s not where the differences end. So here we go: Ramsey SmartTax vs. TurboTax.  

5 Differences Between Ramsey SmartTax and TurboTax

Before you choose an e-file service for self-filing or go with ole faithful one more year, make sure you understand what to look for.

Ease of Use

Both Ramsey SmartTax and TurboTax simplify the process of e-filing your taxes. Each guides you through a step-by-step process to completing your tax return. Entering W-2s, dependents, health insurance and mortgage information—each software service shows you how to find that information and helps you input it into the IRS’s giant math equation.

Both show you where you are in the filing process at all times so you can keep the momentum going. And with Ramsey SmartTax, there are only three steps—prep, save and e-file—that stand between you and having your taxes done and done! Plus, you can file from anywhere, anytime, including in your pajamas from the couch at midnight on a Saturday night.

Have questions along the way? Upgrade to Ramsey SmartTax Federal Premium for live chat, phone or email support.

Reliability

When it comes to taxes, you need an e-filing system that won’t leave you scratching your head or the IRS questioning your return. Both Ramsey SmartTax and TurboTax deliver basic reliability, but one goes the extra mile.

Ramsey SmartTax is powered by TaxSlayer, one of the most trusted names in the tax return game for more than 50 years. Besides, this isn’t just SmartTax—this is Ramsey SmartTax. That means you’re in the hands of people who care about you and your money goals—not just a wham, bam, here’s my taxes ma’am operation.

TurboTax has also been around for several decades, making them reliable (depending on your definition of “reliable”) in the tax return space as well. They’ll file your taxes for you, but you’re basically just a tax ID number who they can market additional debt products to for their gain.

Affordability

Ramsey SmartTax’s Federal Classic version is $25 for federal filing plus $40 for state filing (if you need it). The Federal Premium version? Yeah, that’s $45 for federal filing plus $40 for state filing. That’s it. No fees or add-ons.

Bottom line: No matter your situation, you can file your federal taxes for $25. And a move from Federal Classic to Federal Premium, where you get extra support, is just $20 more. How’s that for affordable?

TurboTax offers a free entry-level product, but it’s geared to a pretty limited set of folks. If you don’t own a home and don’t make more than $100,000 a year, but you do have a W-2 and/or dependents and plan to take the standard deduction, you can file for $0. While that might be a lot of people, it’s probably not most people.

If you have to file more than a simple 1040 tax form, you won’t qualify for the freebie filing. This includes homeowners, folks who plan to itemize deductions, the self-employed, people with 1099 income, and more. From there, the minimum you’ll spend with TurboTax is $59 plus a $49 state filing fee. But it’s not actually quite as clean and simple as $108. Let’s take a look at price transparency.

Price Transparency

When you’ve got a straightforward return, you need a straightforward price. Fortunately, Ramsey SmartTax doesn’t do “confusing.” You don’t have to worry about fees or add-ons that stack up along the way. Even the most straightforward taxes often require a few additional tax forms outside the basics. With Ramsey SmartTax, that’s not a problem. The price doesn’t change.

TurboTax, on the other hand, makes it kinda hard to nail down a price. Is it $59? $89? $119? Most of the time you won’t know until you get started. That’s because additional forms to meet your specific tax situation are added on as you go along. You might start with the $59 plan and get bumped up to the $89 plan after a few questions and clicks. Or you might not know what you’re on the hook for until you get to the very end, and then what are you supposed to do? Taxes are already confusing. You don’t need more confusion.

Because Ramsey SmartTax believes in price transparency, you can make Ramsey SmartTax a line item in your EveryDollar budget and trust that the number you start with is the number you’ll end with.

Protecting Your Personal Information

This one’s important. When you do your taxes electronically, you’re putting your whole financial life in the hands of a software system. And that’s no joking matter. Not only do you want your personal information to be protected from fraudsters, scammers and hackers, but you also want the e-filing service provider you go with to protect your money goals. Sounds pretty noble, huh? Well, that’s because for a tax filing service, it is. But it’s what you can expect with Ramsey SmartTax. Normal is for everybody else, and you’re not everybody else.

When you e-file with Ramsey SmartTax, unlike with TurboTax, you will never, ever have your information used to sell debt-based products or services to you. One of TurboTax’s not-so-secret moneymakers includes using the data of its customers—the same people trusting them with their most sensitive and private financial information—to market credit card companies, private lenders and more. Your debt is their gain. Yuck.

TurboTax makes money on your data. TurboTax’s parent company, Intuit, actually refers to receiving bounties on customers they entice to sign up for loans and credit cards. Getting people into debt is part of their business model!

And if you owe money to the IRS, they’ll conveniently offer you a loan to help pay your bill. That’s certainly a turbo approach to lining their pockets with your money! The last thing you want to do when you’re filing your taxes is to create more debt for yourself.

And if you’re getting a refund, TurboTax will graciously let you pay for their service with a portion of your refund—for an additional $39 refund processing service fee!

Ramsey SmartTax vs. TurboTax: Which Is Right for You?

Bottom line: We want you to win with money—24/7/365, not just at tax time. That's the main difference between Ramsey SmartTax and TurboTax. Ramsey SmartTax is designed to keep you winning. When you e-file with Ramsey SmartTax, you know you’re getting the best and clearest price, a reliable filing partner, and most importantly, a product that keeps your well-being and financial future in mind.

Don’t just do your taxes this year. Have a plan to get them done the right way. For a smarter way to do your taxes, check out Ramsey SmartTax.

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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