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Tax season is upon us!
When it comes to handling your finances, tax time can be absolutely dreadful for both small businesses and individuals. Having a professional tax preparer complete your taxes is expensive, especially if you’re a business.
Doing your taxes yourself online can help save you money. However, it might be slightly more time-consuming if you haven’t been tracking your income and expenses throughout the year.
Picking The Best Tax Preparation Software
Tax preparation software can help you complete and file your taxes online conveniently from your computer.
This software guides you through the particular forms you need and ensures you include important information, such as income and deductions. It can even help you through special circumstances like working from home during a pandemic and receiving unemployment income tax.
Use this list to determine the best tax preparation software for your situation.
1. H&R Block Online
H&R Block Online is an online tax filing software that covers the most common taxpayer situations.
If you’re using this service, you can reach a human tax professional if you need help for an additional cost. This software is easy to use and affordable for anyone who needs to do their taxes quickly and efficiently. You can even upload a W-2 from your phone.
H&R Block offers four versions, including a free version for basic taxes. Costs range from free to $109.99, depending on your needs. State filings can cost up to $44.99 extra per state tax return.
Another benefit is that you don’t pay until you actually file, so you can go through the process and check out your results before committing to filing your taxes.
The software comes with a 100% accuracy guarantee and a maximum refund guarantee, so there’s no need to try to use multiple service providers to find the best refund.
2. Intuit TurboTax
LIke H&R Block, TurboTax offers customers an easy-to-use interface that makes filing taxes quick and easy. It offers an online experience on both mobile phones and computers that meets most tax filers’ needs.
TurboTax offers four versions, including the basic free version and a paid version that costs up to $120, depending on how complex an individual’s tax return is.
With TurboTax Live, you can have the help of a certified public accountant (CPA) for an additional cost. This is well worth the price if you have complicated tax situations or questions you would like answered before filing.
With TurboTax, you can upload W-2s and 1099s easily without entering information manually. TurboTax also includes a 100% accuracy and maximum refund guarantee along with free audit guidance and a money-back guarantee before 60 days.
Intuit also offers ProSeries, which is ideal for accountants who prepare personal and business taxes and need a program that includes a form-based interface to import balances from QuickBooks.
ProSeries has four pricing tiers with plenty of good options for small firms that prepare fewer than 200 returns every year. ProSeries pricing begins at $539 per year plus an additional $82 per return.
TaxSlayer is significantly cheaper than many other tax preparation software programs and includes a comprehensive list of supported tax scenarios.
They also provide free filling for active military personnel. Like its more widely known competitors, TaxSlayer also comes with a similar guarantee and offers four online versions that can be accessed through the web or a mobile app.
The free version for basic returns includes one state filing, while paid versions depend on your needs and can cost up to $54.95. If it's the value you’re looking for, TaxSlayer is significantly more affordable than its competitors.
Unfortunately, TaxSlayer does not allow you to upgrade to get help from a professional tax preparer unless you pick the most expensive version.
All versions include a free phone call and email technical support if you’re having problems with the software. Because support options are less available than other tax preparation software, TaxSlayer is best for those with straightforward returns.
TaxAct supports most small business and personal tax filing needs. It’s the only place that you can file your taxes for an S-Corporation online. You can also use a downloadable app to prepare your taxes.
The app is a companion to the desktop version that allows you to manage your taxes and add forms and documents.
TaxAct offers four consumer versions, but small businesses can benefit from the Self Employed version. The Self Employed version costs $79.95 for personal taxes, and state taxes are an additional $49.95 each. If your business files its own taxes, the business version costs $109.95 and $49.95 per state.
For just $200, you can bundle business and personal taxes to save time and money.
TaxAct does not offer an option to upgrade for additional support from a tax expert, so you will have to work with a professional if you run into problems.
5. Credit Karma Tax
Credit Karma Tax is a free filing software for federal and state returns for personal taxes.
There’s only one version of Credit Karma Tax which can be accessed through the mobile app or online. The software includes forms for investments, sole proprietorships, investment properties, and other complex situations.
While they don’t offer phone or video support, users do have access to basic support online.
Use Your Tax Needs As A Guide When Shopping For Preparation Software And Services
Tax software can make filing your taxes easy but may not be ideal for all filers in all situations. If you have questions about your returns, it could be beneficial to upgrade to a version that includes a CPA or professional tax preparer.
Remember, the IRS holds you responsible for errors on your taxes not the organization or individual that prepared them so confidence in the software you select is key!
Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. He is currently a contributing editor for 365 Business Tips. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys the San Diego life, traveling and music.