5 Best Tax Software for 2023
When tax season arrives, choosing the best tax software can help streamline the filing process. Tax preparation software, such as TurboTax and H&R Block, are cost-effective alternatives to hiring an accountant to help file your taxes while still maximizing your deductions and refunds.
Whether you have a simple tax return or are a freelancer, landlord, or small business owner with a more complex tax situation, tax software programs can navigate you through your filing. Below, you’ll find the 5 best tax software according to pricing, user-friendliness, expert tax support, and other features.
- Tax software can guide you step-by-step through the tax filing process to maximize your deductions and refund.
- Many tax software companies offer free packages for simple returns.
- Small business owners and others with complex tax situations can upgrade to premium packages with expert tax support and more tax form and schedule options than basic plans.
Table of Contents
- 5 Best Tax Software
- What Is Tax Software?
- How Does Tax Software Work?
- Best Online Tax Filing Software Comparison
- How to Choose the Best Tax Software
- Tax Preparation Made Simple With FreshBooks
- Frequently Asked Questions
5 Best Tax Software
During tax season, choosing the right tax software can help streamline your filing. Check out the top reviewed tax software below.
TurboTax is one of the most well-known tax preparation software, and it’s a great choice for every type of taxpayer, from college student Gen Zers to Millennial small business owners. It breaks convoluted tax topics down into accessible and conversational explanations, and it takes you step-by-step through the interview process to help you maximize your tax deductions and credits. The interface is user-friendly, but you can access TurboTax support for anything from quick questions to full-service assistance from a tax professional.
TurboTax also offers a desktop-licensed version called TurboTax Advantage. With this license, up to 5 computers can share the program, which allows more people to file their returns as well as access free shipping and live phone support.
For individuals with simple tax returns, TurboTax offers free basic returns. Other TurboTax tiers feature options for business owners and contractors, landlords, and others with business income, business expenses, and itemized deductions.
- Free basic tax return
- Step-by-step interview in question-answer format
- User-friendly interface for easy navigation
- Import tax documents
- Videos, questionnaires, and other educational content
- Audit support add-on
- Higher service tiers can be pricier
- Live assistance has additional costs
- Frequent add-on and upgrade upselling
- Free basic returns
- State returns range from $59 to $64
- Federal returns range from $0 to $409
H&R Block has numerous tax preparation products and services that can match almost any taxpayer’s needs. It stands out with its user-friendly question-answer format, but it’s also well-equipped for more complex returns. Users have access to unlimited chat and video support and can visit one of the thousands of physical H&R Block locations, and the software guarantees accuracy and maximum return refunds.
- Free basic returns
- Step-by-step question-answer format
- Unlimited chat and video support
- Refund and accuracy guarantee
- Higher tier plans can be pricier than other options
- Heavy add-on upselling
- Free basic return
- $45 per state return
- Federal returns range from $0 to $115
Compared to other tax software, TaxSlayer is one of the most affordable options for individuals with more complex tax returns. In addition to a free basic return and affordable classic and premium options, its self-employed tier starts at just $64.95 for a federal return and assists with personal and business income expenses, Schedule C, and finding all small business-related deductions and credits.
Regardless of your tax situation, all TaxSlayer users get free and unlimited phone and email support. You can file on the go using TaxSlayer’s free app and enjoy 100% accuracy and maximum refund guarantees.
- Affordable options for all tax circumstances
- File on the go with a free app
- Free and unlimited customer support
- Tax expert assistance only available for premium and self-employed tiers
- Limited context-specific support on question-answer pages
- Free basic return
- Federal returns start at $34.95
No matter how simple or complicated your tax return is, Jackson Hewitt charges a flat $25 fee for filing both state and federal taxes online. Jackson Hewitt delivers a no-frills step-by-step experience with comprehensive tax topic coverage and financial expertise. If you need support with the do-it-yourself approach, Jackson Hewitt has tax professionals ready to help online or in person at nearly 6,000 offices.
- Simple and user-friendly web-based interface
- Affordable flat rate for all tax situations
- Multiple state returns for no extra fee
- Email and live chat customer support available
- No free basic plan
- Tax expert advice only available for extra fees
- $25 for all returns filed online
Formerly known as Credit Karma Tax, Cash App Taxes is a free tax software that helps with filing both federal and state returns. Unlike other tax software, Cash App Taxes doesn’t limit its free filing to only basic returns—if you have freelance income, rental income, retirement accounts, or other complex tax situations, Cash App Taxes can file your tax return for free.
Although it doesn’t offer help from tax experts, the question-answer pages include contextual assistance and information, and you can speak to CashApp Taxes technical support over live chat.
- Free for all federal returns and tax situations
- Free audit defense
- Maximum refund guarantee
- Doesn’t support certain tax forms or situations
What Is Tax Software?
Tax software is a type of digital product that guides you through the process of filing your federal and state tax returns. With features such as directly imported tax forms, deduction finders, and expert tax and customer support, tax software streamlines the task of filing your income tax return.
As a cost-effective alternative to a tax accountant, online tax filing software helps you prepare an accurate tax return from the comfort of your home. Since it’s designed to help anybody with their taxes, tax software is user-friendly and doesn’t require any prior experience to use them. It uses navigation tools that prompt and easily calculate your tax information, and most software pulls personal details from previous tax returns so you don’t have to re-enter them.
How Does Tax Software Work?
Each tax software varies between providers, but they generally follow the same process. You’ll typically start by entering your personal information, so the software prompts are customized to your situation. Then, you will usually start by entering your income information from an income statement or other documents, such as your W-2, 1099-INT, or 1099-K, and provide any details for items such as tuition for education and personal assets.
Based on your entered information, most tax software prompts you to enter deductions you may be eligible for, such as child tax credit or student loan interest deduction. After going through the entire navigation and entering relevant information, the software shows you what taxes you owe or get back. Most software includes an option to digitally file and enter your banking details to receive a refund via direct deposit.
Best Online Tax Filing Software Comparison
While keeping the various pros and cons of each tax software in mind, take a look at the table below to get a side-by-side pricing comparison.
|Tax Software||Price||Mobile App||Free Version||Best For|
|TurboTax||$0 to Up||Available||Available||Best Tax Software |
for Ease of Use
|H&R Block||$0 and Up||Available||Available||Best Tax Software |
for Filing Options
|TaxSlayer||$0 and Up||Available||Available||Best Tax Software |
|Jackson Hewitt||$0 and Up||Not Available||Not Available||Best Tax Software |
|CashApp Taxes||Free||Available||Available||Best Free Tax |
Nobody looks forward to tax season, but the right tax preparation software and financial organization can help streamline your tax preparation.
How to Choose the Best Tax Software
If you’re unsure about what you’re looking for in tax software, consider the following features to help you determine the right choice:
Assess Your Tax Situation
Certain tax software options are better suited to specific situations. For example, someone who only has a W-2 to file may be best suited with a free basic return with access to technical support, while someone who is self-employed may need a more comprehensive option that helps maximize deductions and provides expert tax support.
Explore Your Choices
Once you’ve identified your tax situation needs, you can explore your tax software options and set your standards for features such as available forms, educational resources, live chat, interface, audit support, and more.
For complex tax situations, a user-friendly interface and design should deliver straightforward navigation, unambiguous questions, and text boxes. Question-answer interview formats are often preferable over fill-in-the-blank formats as they provide more guidance and insight regarding your income, deductions, and more.
Ease Of Filing
Most tax software offers IRS-approved e-filing. In addition to reducing processing time and errors, e-filing is a more secure option than mailing your return. Tax software typically allows you to set up direct deposit when you file, allowing you to pay taxes due or to receive your return quickly.
Availability of Tax Forms
If your return is complex, ensure your chosen tax software has all the tax forms and schedules you need.
Conduct a Comparative Analysis
Out of your potential online tax software options, compare their various features and fees. Try creating a table with columns for pricing, customer support, professional tax advice, interface format, and other relevant features to get a visual idea of each software’s value.
Besides meeting your tax needs, the right tax software shouldn’t exceed your budget. You likely don’t need to pay for premium package tiers and audit support if you only have one W-2 to file, but it’s worth considering add-ons and upgrades for complex returns.
If you’re unsure about your return and want help filing an accurate return with a maximum refund, consider various customer support options such as technical support or expert tax help over live chat, phone, or email.
Tax Preparation Made Simple With FreshBooks
Whether you’re a student, freelancer, or a small business owner, the right tax preparation software can make filing your federal and state returns easy. Keeping your finances organized year-round is an important aspect of preparing your return, and FreshBooks accounting software is the best solution for small businesses.
FAQs About Tax Software
With deductions, credits, forms, and schedules, filing your taxes can get confusing. Check out the top FAQs on tax preparation software below.
What is the best crypto tax software?
TurboTax Crypto, a tax filing product from TurboTax, is optimized for individuals reporting crypto transactions as well as complex taxes overall. It connects to your third-party crypto accounts so you can easily import your information.
What is the smartest way to pay taxes?
Depending on your individual needs, tax preparation software is one of the best ways to file and pay your taxes. IRS-approved software allows you to e-file your return, ensuring a faster and more secure tax filing. Being able to pay your tax due electronically is also safer than sending a check.
Where can you find free tax software?
Regardless of your tax situation, CashApp Taxes is a completely free tax software. There is also other free tax preparation software if you are filing a basic tax return.
About the author
Sandra Habiger is a Certified Public Accountant with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington. Sandra’s areas of focus include advising real estate agents, brokers, and investors. She supports small businesses in growing to their first six figures and beyond. Learn more about her work at http://www.sixfiguresaccounting.com/ .