Tax preparation software helps both individuals & companies calculate federal, state & local taxes, then file annual tax returns. Regardless of the complexity of your own personal tax situation, tax preparation software is a great tool for breaking down the process & simplifying all the forms into easy-to-follow steps.

While the features of some tax preparation software are designed to meet the needs of large companies with many users, other tax software works as a simple DIY solution for individuals. The bells & whistles will vary by product, but tax software isn't just for big companies. There's a tax software for everyone. After all, who doesn't find the tax process at least a little bit confusing & difficult?

When selecting the tax preparation software product that's ideal for your needs, it's important to think about ease of use. Tax time is stressful enough as it is, so the software you choose should not be another thing that you have to figure out. Generally speaking, most companies offer many of the same basic features, which tends to include online resources, access to previous year tax data, deduction calculators & other tools. So make sure these tools are straightforward & easy to use.

To help you find the tax software that’s right for you, we have carefully reviewed the best tax preparation software companies & their products. We have scrutinized over a number of factors with particular emphasis on comparing price, ease of user interface, customer support & what happens should you get audited.

Top 9 Companies

Our Partner
9.6 / 10
  • Absolute Zero - $0 Fed. $0 State. $0 To File.
  • Get your maximum refund, guaranteed
  • Capture Your W-2 with Your Smartphone
  • Search Over 350 Deductions
  • Updated with the latest tax laws
  • Help with life changes (dependents, status)
  • Expert support (phone and live chat)
Our Partner
9.4 / 10
  • Maximum refund guarantee
  • 100% accuracy guarantee
  • Free in-person audit support
  • 11,000 locations nationwide
  • Pay nothing out of pocket
  • Step by step guidance
Our Partner
9.0 / 10
  • 100% accuracy guarantee
  • Low State Additional rates
  • Maximum refund guarantee
  • Free tax help and audit support
  • Maximize deductions for donations
  • Free simple and complex tax forms
  • Tax alerts
Our Partner
8.8 / 10
  • File Online or in Person
  • 4000+ Locations Nationwide
  • $50 Referral Bonus for New Customers
  • Accuracy/Calculation Guarantee
  • Maximum Refund Guarantee
  • Chat, Social Media, Email, and Phone Help
Our Partner
8.7 / 10
  • Accuracy guarantee
  • Fast refunds
  • Maximize deductions
  • Maximize credits
  • Covers all types of returns
  • Audit assist
8.2 / 10
  • Maximum refunds guarantee
  • Free chat/ tech support
  • Price guarantee
  • Accuracy guarantee
  • Import prior year tax return
8.0 / 10
  • Manage multiple tax returns in one account
  • Accuracy guarantee
  • Transfer data from year to year
  • No credit card required


7.7 / 10
  • Maximum refund guarantee
  • Price match guarantee
  • 100% calculation accuracy
  • Tax audit assistance
  • Free e-file and print
  • Free online support
  • Pay only once for multiple state e-file returns  
7.5 / 10
  • 100% accuracy guarantee
  • Biggest refunds guaranteed
  • In-store service available
  • Free unlimited chat and email support
  • Over 6300 locations (including Walmart)
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How We Compare Tax Preparation Software

Must Have


All of the top tax preparation software offered these items as standard. The companies even boasted that they’ll give their services for free if you were able to get a better deal or bigger refund using another tax preparation software.

  • Accuracy Guarantee
  • Maximum Refund Guarantee
  • Import Prior Year data
  • All Tax-filling Options
  • Audit Support

Supported Tax Forms






Stocks and Investments



Ease of Use


How can you but describe user experience when using the software? Is the tax preparation simple or intuitive enough for people preparing their tax reports for the first time?

Ease of using the tax preparation software is the sum of all these user-targeted features. It starts on how the form is designed and how the software walks you through the process. Just like talking with your tax preparer, the software should be able to get all your financial details and be able to dig deeper to create an accurate and detailed return.


Step by step workflow

Tax tools

Deduction discovery tools

Online resource/ knowledge base

Import previous tax returns

Plans and Pricing


How does each similarly priced tax preparation compare? Plans for tax preparation software run from free to premium editions. While free editions offer capable features for preparing simple tax returns, higher priced or paid editions target more complex tax returns. The best tax preparation software offer free federal returns but charge fees for state returns. We compare the different tax preparation software not only in terms of pricing but also its features.


Free Federal Returns

Free e-file

Use deduction to pay for tax preparation services

Support Services


This is especially useful for first-time tax preparers. Your online tax preparation software should be able to guide you through the tax preparation process with plenty of online resources and walkthroughs. We studied the various support options of each company and assess its accessibility. We were surprised that some of the tax preparation services even offered free audit support on their Free editions. Aside from the standard email or telephone support, other services we looked into included live chat support, audits and tax consulting services.

And if everything fails, the ability to walk in an office and talk with tax professionals will always be a plus. We all know the difficulty of filling an inaccurate tax return or missing out on some important deductions.


Tax preparation software and even the best ones we reviewed is not a hundred percent guarantee of an accurate tax return or you’re getting the most deductions. This is why we recommend that you consider working with a professional tax preparer especially if this is your first time to use a tax preparation software or have doubts in any step of the tax preparation process. 

Customer Questions & Answers

What happens if there are errors in my taxes because of the Tax Software?

Good tax software companies offer guarantees if this situation occurs. Many times if you are fined because of an error, the software company will reimburse you if they are at fault. And if you are audited, most companies have tax specialists who are able to answer your questions and help you prepare for your audit free of charge. Make sure you look for these guarantees before purchasing tax software.

Can I prepare my own taxes?

Absolutely, though this is not recommended unless you are a professional, have experience doing this on your own, or are ready to sit down and do some extensive studying. The IRS does not make filing taxes on your own easy, and the fear of being audited due to errors during tax preparation is often a big incentive to pay the money for professional support.

Can I reuse my Tax Software next year?

No, unfortunately you can’t. Every year tax laws change, and every year tax software is updated to be compliant with these laws. Additionally, the IRS requires you to use their forms for the filing year. So, if you were to use your software from last year for this years tax filings, your filing will likely be rejected or be accidentally filed as last years taxes causing confusion with the IRS (which could also result in fines for this years taxes). And let’s face it, nobody wants to have to deal with the IRS more than they already have to.

What are the advantages of using Tax Software?

One of the biggest advantages of using Tax Software is the cost. If you hire a tax professional you may be looking at a bill upwards of $100, and a CPA will likely charge you twice that, if not more, for the most basic tax filings. Tax software, on the other hand, costs around $20-120, for both state and federal filing.

Another benefit is speed. Once you have all the documents, most people find they are able to complete their taxes within an hour, whereas, it can take up to a few weeks for a professional to do it for you.

Last, good tax software is simple, and will walk you through the preparation process quickly, especially if your taxes are straight forward. Additionally, many companies offer support for software users who find themselves with questions during the process.