The best programs to do taxes

Taxes is already complex enough without adding to the stress of figuring out the best tax software. Therefore, to help you choose, we present our list of the best programs to do taxes.

We focus on a well-known and widely used tax preparation software, and although the calculations are the same – the same tax code applies – there is a crucial difference between paying for what you could use and paying for what you don’t need.

We also found information about other providers but did not include them on the list because we felt they did not provide a level of service and features that were worth the amount of money and time it took to file taxes online.

The best programs to do taxes

The best programs to make taxes: How to choose them?

There are many software providers and each offers different packages for different needs.. When choosing, you should start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is my return simple or complex?
  • Which software is easier to use?
  • What does each service provider offer?
  • Do I have personal advice online?

Once you know your situation regarding the tax return, you can better identify where you need more support or better service.

The best programs to make taxes (taxes): Summary of our selection

one. H&R Block

  • H&R Block Free: good for simple returns
  • H&R Block Deluxe: good to start detailing

two. TurboTax: good for complex returns

3. TaxSlayer: good for laid back taxpayers

Four. TaxAct: good option for price

H&R Block Free – good for simple returns

As usual, you file a “simple tax return” when all your income comes from your job (instead of interest, dividends, or other sources) and claim the standard deduction instead of itemizing.

If your situation is similar to the one outlined above, you may not need a software package built for overly complicated tax situations.

When it comes to tax preparation software that can do simple returns at a reasonable price, without sacrificing ease of use, we think H&R Block Free stands out from the crowd.

Like most of its competitors’ free tax software, The free version of H&R Block allows you to file Form 1040 and take some common tax breaks if you qualify for them.

But it also allows you to file schedules 1, 2 and 3, which is a great advantage because many taxpayers need to file these forms. They allow you to report (but not calculate) things like business income, alimony, deductible student loan interest, certain retirement contributions, alternative minimum tax, credit for dependent care expenses, apprenticeship credit, for life and the credit to the saver.

To get started, H&R Block’s interface is attractive, straightforward, and easy to use, expanding to explain concepts as you go. You can jump if you want, and a sign at the top keeps track of your position in the process.

Offers help within the preparation process – many terms during the interview process are linked with a “learn more” tag so you can get information quickly. The help menu updates according to where you are in the process.

H&R Block Deluxe – Good to start detailing

If your tax situation is not simple, but not too complex either, choosing tax software could be stressful. Many people aren’t sure what functions or features they need but don’t want to overpay for what they won’t use.

When we evaluated each company’s payment software suite and looked at ease of use, features, help and support options, price, and other factors, H&R Block Deluxe was our pick for value, support, and modern features. it offers.

This version allows you to itemize and report several popular tax deductions and tax credits, including mortgage interest and property taxes, medical expenses, health savings account contributions, and charitable donations.

It allows you to import photos of the W-2 form to avoid typing numbers in small boxes while filing online. You can import 1099 forms and H&R Block Deluxe will import the previous year’s return from other companies.

If you’re willing to pay for the service, H&R Block’s “Online Support” offers you unlimited chat, phone, or screen-sharing sessions with a CPA, Enrolled Agent, or other tax expert at any point in the process.

Entry-level paid software packages like H&R Block Deluxe don’t take care of everything: If you’re an investor, a homeowner, or filing for a C Program (for freelancers or small business owners), you’ll need to upgrade, but the question-and-answer process that H&R Block and other vendors employ usually gets you the right package.

How much does H&R Block charge to do the taxes?

Like most of its competitors’ free tax software, H&R Block Free allows you to file Form 1040. The free version of H&R Block also allows you to file Schedules 1 and 3, which is a huge plus.

However, if you plan to itemize deductions, are self-employed, run a small business, or have any other slightly more complex situation, you’ll probably need to upgrade to the paid versions of H&R Block, whose highest price is $90.

2. TurboTax: Good for Complex Returns

If you have a lot of investments to control, are a homeowner earning rental income, or are self-employed, you probably have a lot of extra tax forms to fill out and a lot of extra tax rules to follow. For those situations, TurboTax has two good solutions: TurboTax Premier and TurboTax Standalone.

TurboTax Premier helps you calculate investment and rental income by supporting Schedules D, E, and K-1. TurboTax Self Employed gives you everything in the Premier version plus home office deduction support, extra deduction help and special features for freelancers, independent contractors and side-hustlers. Too comes with a one-year subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed and features expense tracking through QuickBooks, including the ability to store photos of your receipts and track mileage from your phone.

Other TurboTax Features

One of TurboTax’s best support features is TurboTax Live. Offers a personalized review with a CPA or Enrolled Agent before you file, as well as unlimited live tax advice. They will even electronically sign and file your tax return if you wish. You can make an appointment or discuss the process with a tax professional via video (you can see them, but they don’t see you – they just see your screen). What’s more, you can get tax advice year-round with TurboTax Live. This is important for freelancers, who often need help with tricky tax situations, complex questions, and issues that arise throughout the year. The service that allows you to have quick and easy access to a tax professional puts this program in a better position than many others.

You can import W-2 form information by taking a photo and you can import 1099 forms. The Premier and Self-Employed packages also integrate “ItsDeductible”a function – and independent mobile application – that is useful to quickly find the value of the deduction of clothing, household items or others.

Note: TurboTax is expensive. Its price is generally located at the upper end of its sector. And if you want access to help when you file taxes online, it costs even more.

3. TaxSlayer: Good for Laid-Back Taxpayers

If you’re comfortable doing your own taxes and don’t want to pay for a lot of shiny features or functions, you can save a lot of money with TaxSlayer.

Unlike most competitors, TaxSlayer ties its prices to the level of support, not to what the software can do. That means the cheapest program handles tax forms and management – ​​investments, rental income, self-employment returns – just like its most expensive program, with the difference that it offers less support.

If you’re not too shaky about the process, you probably don’t mind that there aren’t as many on-screen explanations of concepts as some competitors might offer.

Although technical support by phone and email is free, the most important type of help – tax – is free only for the Premium and Autonomous packages. The service is called “Ask a Tax Pro,” and users submit their questions through their TaxSlayer accounts. The tax professional contacts them within one business day by phone or email. However, it is not face-to-face help like other providers offer.

4. TaxAct: A Good Budget Choice

TaxAct’s products may not be as flashy as those from H&R Block and TurboTax, but we’ve included it on our list of the best tax software because its prices are better.

TaxAct offers most of the standard options, such as prior year return import, a W-2 import, and a donation wizard (for paid packages), as well as some planning tools and calculators. You can import 1099s. The self-employment package will help you search for tax breaks specific to your sector of work.

Like many other tax packages, help is available throughout the process, but other competitors have more robust online help. TaxAct offers tax support (not advice) by phone and email for paying users. It also offers an interesting feature to its Premier+ and Self-Employed+ users to share the screen. It is not a face-to-face video connection, but simply allows the user and support agent to see each other’s screens, including cursor movements and clicks. According to the company, the support agent cannot see the input fields that contain the password or payment information.

The tax advisor who will assist you may not be an accountant. However, TaxAct explains that its tax specialists are people who have trained in the field, taken and completed tax classes, or taken a company tax certification course; all of them received 80 to 100 hours of internal training. They are supervised by a registered agent.

The best programs to make taxes: summary of characteristics and conditions

H&R Block TurboTax TaxSlayer TaxAct
Price: $60 to $120, plus state fees.

Offer free version

Federal: $0

Status: $0

Price: $49.99 to $109.99, plus state fees.

Offer free version

Federal: $0

Status: $0

Price: $17 to $47, plus state fees.

Offers free version but with more restrictions

Federal: $0

Status: $0

Price: $24.95 to $64.95, plus state fees.

Offer free version

Federal: $0

Status: $4.95

Supported Key Shapes:

  • Form 1040 (two pages).
  • Annexes 1 and 3.
Supported Key Shapes:

  • Form 1040 (two pages).
Supported Key Shapes:

  • Form 1040 (two pages).
  • Income, submission limits apply.
Supported Key Shapes:

  • Form 1040 (two pages).

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