Fidelity chooses to give a selected group of customers free TurboTax Premier every year. If you’re selected and you use the link in the special offer to TurboTax’s website, the online version of TurboTax Premier is free and the download version costs only $5 (plus tax in some states).
Where to Find the Offer
Fidelity doesn’t email or otherwise alert you that you have this offer. If you’ve been selected to receive the offer, you’ll see it appear on the All Accounts -> Summary tab after you log in to Fidelity’s website.
The All Accounts -> Summary tab usually displays some informational and marketing “cards” such as this one:
You’ll see a card with the free/$5 TurboTax offer among these other cards on the All Accounts -> Summary tab if you’ve been selected to receive the offer. Be sure to scroll down and look for it.
Buy the Download
If you have the offer, buying the downloaded version of TurboTax Premier for $5 is a better deal than using the online version for free. I explained why that’s the case in Tax Software: Buy the Download, Not the Online Service. If you used TurboTax Online last year, the downloaded software can import last year’s data from TurboTax Online.
The downloaded version also has the useful What-If Worksheet for tax planning, which isn’t available in the online version. See Tax Planning with TurboTax What-If Worksheet: Roth Conversion.
The downloaded software charges a fee for state e-file (federal e-file is free) but you can e-file for free on the state revenue agency’s website in many states. See Free E-File State Tax Return Directly on the State’s Website.
If you don’t see the offer for free/$5 TurboTax on the All Accounts -> Summary tab after you log in to Fidelity’s website, that means Fidelity’s marketing algorithm didn’t choose you. Which customers Fidelity chooses to offer the free/$5 TurboTax is always unclear.
Having large accounts probably helps but it doesn’t guarantee it. Some people with 5-figure accounts get the offer and some people with 7-figure accounts don’t get it.
Being in the “Private Client Group” and having an assigned advisor may help but it doesn’t guarantee it either. Some people receive the offer without an assigned advisor or the Private Client Group status and some people still don’t get the offer even though they have the Private Client Group status and an assigned advisor.
Having a taxable account isn’t required either. Some people get the offer with only retirement accounts and some people with a large taxable account still don’t get it.
There’s quite a degree of randomness and mystery in who gets the free TurboTax offer and who doesn’t.
Not Chosen, What to Do?
I have a large taxable account with Fidelity, I’m in the Private Client Group, and I have an assigned advisor, but I never received the free TurboTax offer. Not last year, not this year, never. If you’re like me and you think you have all the reasons to get the free TurboTax offer but you don’t see it on the All Accounts -> Summary tab, what now?
Check Spouse’s Login
If you’re married and your spouse has a separate login, ask him or her to check under his or her login. Sometimes one spouse has the offer and the other doesn’t.
Unfortunately my wife doesn’t get the offer either.
Not everyone sees the offer at the same time. Some people see it in mid-December and some people see it in January. If you don’t see the offer, it may still show up at a later time.
Ask Your Advisor
If you have an assigned advisor, he or she has no control over who gets the free TurboTax offer or when the offer shows up for you but your advisor may have some discretionary client relationship budget. Some advisors will tell you to buy the software yourself and they’ll reimburse you when you send them the receipt.
It’s up to you whether you want to pursue this with your advisor.
You know whether you have an assigned advisor by looking at the top right on the All Accounts page after you log in to Fidelity’s website. You have an assigned advisor if you see a photo and a name when you click on the dropdown. You don’t have an assigned advisor if you only see a toll-free number.
Don’t bother calling customer service if you don’t have the offer. They don’t know how the offer targeting algorithm picks customers for the offer. Customer service can’t put an offer in your account.
Ask a Friend or Family
Someone may have the free TurboTax offer from Fidelity but they don’t use TurboTax because they use an accountant or tax preparer or they prefer some other software.
If a friend or a family member has the offer but they won’t use TurboTax, you can use their link to buy it. After they log in to Fidelity and click on the offer, you use their computer to log in to your TurboTax account to buy it.
Buy It From Amazon
While it’s great to get TurboTax for $5, it isn’t that expensive when you buy it without the special offer. Amazon typically puts TurboTax on sale between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Deluxe + State edition, which is sufficient for most people, usually sells for $35-40 at that time.
I buy the Deluxe (federal-only) edition for under $30 because my state tax is dead simple. I file the state tax directly on the state tax department’s website for free with only three numbers from the federal return.
I go this route every year. Fidelity doesn’t owe me a $5 TurboTax. It isn’t a feature they advertise. Some people just get a surprise gift. I’ll take it if they choose to give it to me but I’ll just buy it on my own when they don’t.
Say No To Management Fees
If you are paying an advisor a percentage of your assets, you are paying 5-10x too much. Learn how to find an independent advisor, pay for advice, and only the advice.