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Grade 9-12

Intro to TurboTax

Time: 45 mins,
Updated: April 9 2020,
Author: Intuit Education


Students will be able to:

  • Describe the information contained in a W2.
  • Use a W2 to file taxes with TurboTax.
  • List the factors that impact the amount a person receives from filing taxes.

In this personal finance activity, students will use TurboTax to learn and actively file taxes.

FFFL Connection

Budgeting for Income and Expenses Simulation has been created as a real-world technology simulation to accompany FFFL 9-12, 3rd Edition lesson 7 titled Uncle Sam Takes a Bite. If you have not taught this lesson plan, we recommend students are proficient in the net worth concepts.


For students to be able to access TurboTax successfully, they must use the same computer or device every time they access TurboTax. Otherwise, they will be forced to re-create a new account.

Paid advertisements appear in Intuit TurboTax. The Council for Economic Education does not endorse or evaluate the advertised product, service, or company, nor any of the claims made by the advertisement.


This simulation is a hands-on activity that lets students file taxes. Before starting the TurboTax activity, students should know the following:

  1. The difference between gross income and net income.
  2. That the federal income tax is a progressive tax.
  3. The difference between itemized deductions vs. the standard deduction.

Students will do the following in this activity:

  1. Go to TurboTax.
  2. Log on using TurboTax Login Directions to access TurboTax as the fictional user Scott.

Upon logging into TurboTax:

  1. The student activity is full of instructions, screenshots, and tips to help students through the process of filing taxes.
  2. Students have W2(s) for and information about fictional persons for whom they are filing taxes.


Filing taxes is a complex process. TurboTax is a tool that helps manage that process. Users input both personal and financial information. TurboTax uses the data to fill out the tax forms.

  • List 3-4 pieces of information directly from your W2 that you have to input into TurboTax.
  • Of the many personal questions prompted by TurboTax while filing taxes, list two that stuck out to you as memorable or significant.
  • Describe the process of filing taxes. Was it easy or difficult? If you were doing this for your own personal taxes instead of for a simulated scenario, would it be simpler or just as complicated?
Personal Finance