Compare Tax Preparation Software

Learn how our experts identify and compare the essential factors of tax preparation software to find the best option for you. From must have and supported tax forms to plans and pricing and support services , we research everything you need to know to make a decision.
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How we Compare Tax Preparation Software

Must Have - 30%
Supported Tax Forms - 25%
Ease of Use - 20%
Plans and Pricing - 15%
Support Services - 10%

Must Have Compared

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
Tax Preparation Software with the Best Must Have :  TaxACT Must Have H&R Block Must Have Turbo Tax by Intuit Must Have
H&R BlockTurbo Tax by IntuitTaxACTOnePriceTaxesFreeTaxUSAeSmart TaxJackson HewittTaxPointTaxSlayere-File
Accurancy Guarantee
Maximum Refund Guarantee
Import Prior Year Data
All Tax-filling Options
Audit Support

Supported Tax Forms Compared

Federal   

State

Business

1099

Stocks and Investments

Complex

Military

Tax Preparation Software with the Best Supported Tax Forms:  H&R Block Supported Tax FormsFreeTaxUSA Supported Tax FormsTaxACT Supported Tax Forms
H&R BlockTurbo Tax by IntuitTaxACTOnePriceTaxesFreeTaxUSAeSmart TaxJackson HewittTaxPointTaxSlayere-File
Federal
State
Business
1099
Stocks and Investments
Complex

Ease of Use Compared

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

Tax Preparation Software with the Best Ease of Use:  Turbo Tax by Intuit Ease of UseH&R Block Ease of UseOnePriceTaxes Ease of Use
H&R BlockTurbo Tax by IntuitTaxACTOnePriceTaxesFreeTaxUSAeSmart TaxJackson HewittTaxPointTaxSlayere-File
Step by Step Workflow
Tax Tools
Deduction Discovery Tools
Online Resource / Knowledge Base
Import Previous Tax Returns

Plans and Pricing Compared

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

Tax Preparation Software with the Best Plans and Pricing:  Jackson Hewitt Plans and PricingFreeTaxUSA Plans and PricingeSmart Tax Plans and Pricing
H&R BlockTurbo Tax by IntuitTaxACTOnePriceTaxesFreeTaxUSAeSmart TaxJackson HewittTaxPointTaxSlayere-File
Pricing$19.99-$49.99$29.99-$74.99$12.99-Up$19.95-$39.95$5.95-Up$14.95-$39.95$19.95-$49.95$9.95-$29.95$12.95-$34.95$24.95-Up
Types of VersionBasic, Deluxe, PremiumDeluxe, Premier, Home and BusinessDeluxe Federal, Ultimate BundleBasic, Deluxe, PremiumDeluxeBasic, Deluxe, PremiumBasic, Deluxe, PremiumDeluxe, Home and BusinessClassic, PremiumDeluxe, Premium
Federal Tax PreparationFreeFreeFreeFreeFreeFreeFreeFreeFreeFree

Support Services Compared

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. 

Tax Preparation Software with the Best Support Services :  H&R Block Support Services TaxACT Support Services

Full Tax Preparation Software Comparison

Must Have Supported Tax FormsEase of UsePlans and PricingSupport Services
H&R Block Tax Software10.010.09.07.010.0
Turbo Tax by Intuit Tax Software10.09.010.08.08.0
TaxACT Tax Software10.09.08.08.09.0
OnePriceTaxes Tax Software9.09.09.09.07.0
FreeTaxUSA Tax Software9.09.08.09.08.0
eSmart Tax Software8.09.07.09.08.0
Jackson Hewitt Tax Software7.09.07.010.08.0
TaxPoint Tax Software5.08.05.07.07.0
TaxSlayer Tax Software4.08.04.06.06.0
e-File Tax Software3.08.03.06.06.0
Taxbrain Tax Software3.07.03.05.05.0
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FAQ

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.

Latest Reviews

Amanda Albright
Lyndhurst, New Jersey
9/28/2016
H&R Block has helped me a few years when I needed my taxes done right and in the nick of the time. I sometimes waited to the last minute and even so, they were able to help me without me having to spend a lot of time or money. They were also very thorough about what I could claim, where I could find more money to save and were able to get me the best return for my money. I really appreciate that.

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