Best Tax Software for Filing Tax Returns

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 6, 2018
Still mailing your tax return? Often have to correct errors in your forms? Tired of constantly missing your deductions and credits? A reliable tax software will become your lifesaver. Making an affordable alternative to hiring an accountant, it will help you duly manage all your personal and business taxes. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
TAXES
E-FILING
ONLINE RECORDKEEPING
SUPPORT
MOBILE APP
 
PROS

This service offers an option of paying for the software (in case you choose a paid package) out of your tax refund.

CONS

W-2 Form import is not available. 

OUR VERDICT

Being one of the largest online tax software options, the TaxAct stands out for its straightforward and comprehensible interface and provides a whole range of filing plans for a variety of financial situations allowing you to get the maximum refund at a reasonable price. If you're looking for a simple tax planning service with a variety of options for specific needs, it's a great choice to go for.

detailed parameters
TAXES

Personal, Business 

E-FILING

Yes 

ONLINE RECORDKEEPING

Yes

SUPPORT

Email and phone support 

MOBILE APP

Yes

PROS

With the H&R Block, you can start completing your return form and even save a partially completed form without creating an account. Besides, you can't but enjoy personal support available during and after a filing process. 

CONS

This platform lacks detailed term explanations. 

OUR VERDICT

Featuring over 10,000 offices and branches across the US, the H&R Block tax software gives you an opportunity not only to file your returns online but also to obtain a face-to-face help when the need might be. Offering the widest range of products and filing options, this service will become a truly useful tax management tool for literally any filer and any tax needs.

detailed parameters
TAXES

Personal, Business  

E-FILING

Yes 

ONLINE RECORDKEEPING

Yes

SUPPORT

Phone support, Personal expert support 

MOBILE APP

Yes

PROS

Unlike other tax planning services, TaxSlayer will let you file a state return for free even for the Simply Free option.

CONS

A free version allows filing only the Form 1040 EZ. 

OUR VERDICT

The TaxSlayer platform offers by far the best price to efficiency ratios in the area of tax planning services. At an affordable price, it provides an interface, extensive support, and the majority of features similar to those you'll normally find in much more expensive online services. It's a really good option for basic and standard tax needs. 

detailed parameters
TAXES

Personal, Business 

E-FILING

Yes 

ONLINE RECORDKEEPING

Yes

SUPPORT

Online knowledgebase, Livechat and phone support, Personal tax expert only for paid packages

MOBILE APP

Yes

PROS

A free live chat support is provided for all customers, which means you can get assistance while filling the return form that will expedite the filing process and let you make fewer mistakes.

CONS

Somewhat poor software navigation. 

OUR VERDICT

An online tax preparation software of Liberty Tax, the eSmart service was designed and created by tax experts. It combines simple interface and a no-hassle form completion process with a reliable support and professional tiered packages to cover most filers needs, all of this making the eSmart suitable for users with low to moderately complex filings.

detailed parameters
TAXES

Personal, Business 

E-FILING

Yes

ONLINE RECORDKEEPING

Yes

SUPPORT

Online chat, Social media channels 

MOBILE APP

No

PROS

Fully justifying its name, the FreeTaxUSA ensures free filing for all federal returns irrespective of your income, filing status and the type of 1040 form.

CONS

There is no phone or online support. 

OUR VERDICT

If costs are your major concern, this service is what you need. Though state returns are payable, the total cost of the federal and state package is still one of the lowest on the market. The only tiny drawback is the lack of the in-depth support that makes this service a better option only for rather experienced filers. 

detailed parameters
TAXES

Personal, Business 

E-FILING

Yes

ONLINE RECORDKEEPING

Yes

SUPPORT

Email support 

MOBILE APP

No

TaxAct Online Tax Products

Simplicity is the Key

Those who have ever tried to complete a tax return on paper, know firsthand how time-consuming and effort-taking it might be to assemble all the necessary documents and constantly flip the pages to make all the necessary calculations and fill all forms correctly. The situation might get even more frustrating if you have complex tax needs. This way, errors are almost inevitable. Hence, today, the majority of taxpayers turn to online tax planning services to minimize the risk of making mistakes and speed up return preparation process to the maximum. Yet, it’s worth saying that not all income tax software are the same and some can appear pretty difficult to use, especially for first timers and non-experienced users. But it’s not the case with the TaxAct. Creating tax preparation products for 20 years, TaxAct provides a reliable support for millions of customers and offers a truly easy-to-use software.

The first thing you will like about this online service is a straightforward and comprehensible interface. On the main page, you will quickly find the product that will match your individual tax situation. 5 packages range from a free of charge version suitable for fairly simple tax needs to different payable versions that include additional options and tools for more complex tax situations. The only tiny drawback here is that a state tax return is payable for all versions. However, the price is competitive as compared with other similar services.

Once you’ve chosen one of the packages, the filing process won’t take much time. It will remind a kind of an interview where you will have to answer a number of questions to complete a step-by-step query. Some steps will require you to fill in data while other will let you select a response from a number of available options. The TaxAct will make all the necessary calculations for you, provide certain support at every step, and let you know about any potential problems, if there are any, while you fill in the form. When completed, you’ll be able to e-file or print your tax return and later track its acceptance status on the site.

If you used some other service for previous year returns and want to proceed with TaxAct now, you can easily import your last year return and use the info you’ve filed before.

Being one of the largest online tax software options, the TaxAct stands out for a simple and user-friendly interface and provides a whole range of filing plans for a variety of financial situations allowing you to get the maximum refund at a reasonable price.

Review of TaxAct Online Tax Products that best fits your tax situation

Packed With a Handful of Useful Options

TaxAct offers all kinds of support for a free filing plan that are provided only within paid packages in other leading tax planning services. With the TaxAct, you’ll get a free access not only to a support panel that will help you quickly find answers to most frequently asked questions but also to unlimited email and phone support to get help on tax questions and technical issues and to a personal financial analysis to get some recommendations on deductions and earnings relevant for your financial situation. Paid versions also include an access to some a Donation Assistant app allowing you to maximize deductions for charitable contributions and a Tax Planning Guidance for those who need TaxAct team’s assistance in annual tax planning.

On top of that, there is a number of apps available at a fair extra charge yet appearing truly helpful in practice. Thus, an Audit Defense will provide every support and assistance in case you state and federal returns are to be audited by IRS while the Archive service will let you store and access all completed or partially completed reports for the last 3 years.

TaxAct Online Tax Products that best fits your tax situation in the use

Mobile Tax Helper

It might happen that you need to complete and file your tax return when on the go. By downloading a special TaxAct app to your mobile, you’ll be able to do it whenever you need. Meanwhile, a free companion DocVault mobile app will enable storing and editing photos of anything related to your taxes, be it invoices, bills, receipts or any other documents and papers.

Detailed review of TaxAct Online Tax Products that best fits your tax situation

 

H&R Block Online Tax Filing

Get the Benefit of the Best Professional Assistance

Today, there is a whole variety of online services, downloadable software, and tax experts providing every help and support for taxpayers in completing and filing tax returns and managing all kinds of tax-related issues. Each of the above has its advantages and drawbacks and offers some extras and options. Most would claim that a personal tax assistant is the best option in all senses. However, it is the most expensive option as well. But what if an online platform could provide the same level of assistance? H&R Block is exactly that type of service.

Being one of the largest and most popular online tax preparation programs, H&R Block delivers a truly comprehensive professional support. First of all, it is thanks to over 10,000 offices and branches located across the US and giving its customers an opportunity to obtain face-to-face help and consultations whenever they need. Such developed expert network also allows providing all-around qualified assistance through the whole return filling and filing process when using the software. Thus, the users of paid versions will have an access to a live chat to ask for help and get the guidance as you complete your return form. Though in-person online support is not provided with a free filing option, you will also hardly face any difficulties. An interview-style process won’t let you miss any forms, schedules or data. Besides, you’ll have an access to a searchable extensive knowledge base and many terms will be hyperlinked for you to read more information on some basic tax issues and terms.

When your return form is complete, the program will run a final check to detect any inaccuracies, discrepancies, errors, and missed refund opportunities. In addition, no matter what filing plan you choose, before filing, you can order a TaxPro Review to have your tax return scrupulously checked by a professional tax specialist.

If you're looking for an accountant-level assistance and more personalized approach at a reasonable price, the H&R Block tax software is the right option to go for.

Review of H&R Block Online Tax Filing

A Truly Extensive Range of Products and Options

Similar to other online tax preparation software, H&R Block offers 4 basic tax filing products from a simple free solution for personal needs to a premium paid version for self-employed and small business owners. Noteworthy, a free package from H&R Block offers much more than free software versions from competitors. You’ll be able to file both 1040EZ and 1040 forms, benefit from home mortgage interest and earned income tax credit as well as enjoy the importing and support capabilities you would have to pay for if using competitor services.

One more standout feature of this online tax filing service is unique options specific only for H&R Block. A Second Look Tax Review will let you have your old tax returns double checked absolutely for free to claim maximum credits and deductions you did not receive. For an affordable extra charge, the Peace of Mind Package will offer tax notice services, full-scale audit representation, and even additional tax reimbursement in case of added taxes due to H&R Block specialists error. Expat Tax Services will help you get the assistance of international experts and prepare your US expat taxes. Meanwhile, the Tax Identity Shield will securely protect you from tax fraud and tax identity theft.

Offering the widest range of products and filing options, this service will become a truly useful tax management tool for literally any filer and any tax needs.

H&R Block Online Tax Filing in the use

Try Before You Pay

While the majority of other online programs and software provide access to their services and forms only after you register an account and sign in, H&R Block allows you to start preparing your return as a guest, giving first-time users a chance to try the software and decide whether they'd like to proceed with this service or not. You’ll be required to set up an account only before filing a completed tax return.

Detailed review of H&R Block Online Tax Filing

 

TaxSlayer Tax Software

Affordable Basics

All taxpayers have different needs and financial situations. While some individuals have simple tax needs not requiring much hassle to complete and file a tax return, others might earn from various sources and have dependents, credits or the income from investments and rental property, all of this making their tax situation much more complex. Most tax planning software and services offer some basic filing plans to cover the majority of taxpayer needs. However, complex plans from premium software suppliers often appear rather expensive while those from low-priced services lack the necessary flexibility and functionality. This is where TaxSlayer online tax software will come in handy providing a decent level of services and support at truly affordable prices.

Similar to leading services, TaxSlayer maintains all major IRS forms and schedules and ensures data import from other providers. The user interface is pretty simple and straightforward, though it might seem less intuitive and user-friendly than that of flagship services. Just like the most popular providers, this online tax program will let you prepare your tax return through a question-and-answer session. Meanwhile, in contrast to competitors, you will have a choice to file forms in two ways. A Quick File option will suit taxpayers with simple tax situations and only a few forms to be completed and a traditional method engaging more guidance and support works great for complex finances.

When it comes to tax software versions, TaxSlayer will let you select between Simply Free, Classic, Premium, and Self-employed filing plans allowing both a single individual and that with dependants, a freelancer, contractor, or a self-employed to choose the plan meeting their tax needs. For all versions, the system will automatically make the necessary calculations based on entered data, perform an error check to detect mistakes, find deductions applicable to a certain tax situation to get the maximum refund.

With the TaxSlayer tax preparation software, you will have an access to the basic functionality and most useful options of high-rated services at a considerably lower price.

Review of TaxSlayer Tax Software

Enjoy Premium Level Support

One of the features defining the quality of an online tax service is the level of customer support and guidance they provide during the filing process and afterward. Normally, quality services provide all kinds of support ranging from pop-up tips and hyperlinked terms throughout the filing process, FAQ sections and knowledge bases to email, live chat, and even personal expert support. Despite affordable pricing, TaxSLayer offers all the above-mentioned options. Even the users of a free version, can take the advantage of free email support and live phone support which is a great benefit for those who don’t have much experience in tax filing. In addition, Premium and Self-employed paid versions also include an IRS audit assistance option saving the user peace of mind about any possible issues in case of audits.

TaxSlayer Tax Software in the use

File Your State Return for Free

TaxSlayer online tax program has one distinctive benefit you won’t find even in the most popular services. Dissimilar to many competitors that would charge an extra fee for state tax returns, the TaxSlayer has a free filing plan that will let you both file a federal return and a tax return absolutely free of charge. 

Detailed review of TaxSlayer Tax Software

 

eSmart Tax Tax Software

Created by Professionals for Your Personal Needs

The best online tax planning services and software are those created and supported by tax experts. Not only do they have a vast experience and knowledge base but also they can analyze real cases and situations they come across in practice and classify them to design online products ensuring a full coverage for the most often faced tax situations and needs. A strong professional background and reliable all-around support, this is what you will get with the eSmart income tax software.

Unlike most other online tax planning platforms launched as desktop products, eSmart initially started from the Web. Originally called Complete Tax, this site was designed and developed by a renowned tax resources supplier CCH. The company has been providing assistance to taxpayers since 1913, the year of tax code creation, that is for over 100 years now. Created by a supplier with an enormous experience in tax payments and deductions, today the site is called eSmart and is maintained by Liberty Tax also providing high-quality tax preparation services and having a large network of local offices in the US. It means that established by experienced professionals, the platform is still supported by professionals lending their best knowledge and practice to back up your tax return filing process.

Distinguished by a comprehensive, user-friendly, and easy-to-navigate interface, eSmart offers the majority of features and options you'd expect from a good tax preparation service including solid data import capabilities, interview-style return preparation process, diverse tax planning options covering basic and complex tax needs, and an enhanced customer guidance and assistance.

Going for the eSmart, you can be 100% sure you opt for a fully professional approach that will pay off with a quick and easy filing process and maximum refunds.

Review of eSmart Tax Tax Software

Free and Efficient Support for All Customers

Filing options of most competitor services differ not only by covered schedules and forms but also by the level of assistance and support a taxpayer can obtain. Thus, normally, high tier packages provide every kind of support including personal expert help allowing you to get answers to situational questions while basic and free versions ensure only general guidance. Yet, with eSmart, everything is different. The service offers a similar level of efficient in-depth support for all tax filing plans including credit and deduction maximizers, free chat, free technical support, and enhanced audit assistance, not to say about hyperlinked terms with extended explanations and pop-up error alerts.

eSmart Tax Tax Software in the use

Stay Informed on ACA

With the adoption of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare and taxes have become closely linked since all taxpayers should provide data on their annual healthcare plans within their tax returns and those who don’t have a health insurance will have to pay tax penalty. eSmart will help you stay informed on all ACA-related issues providing up-to-date info on tax penalty and insurance coverage exemptions, tax credits, and important ACA dates and deadlines to be observed.

Detailed review of eSmart Tax Tax Software

 

FreeTaxUSA Tax Software

When Free Really Means Free

When something is offered for free, most would become suspicious about the product or service quality. Some would start looking for pitfalls while others will simply reject a free option and go for a paid one to avoid the risk of low quality or lacking functionality. Speaking of online tax preparation services, the majority of them really deliver pretty limited free packages covering only simple and basic needs. Yet, it’s not the case with the FreeTax platform. Unlike other websites, FreeTax provides a free access to filing options covering almost every tax situation. And it’s not a marketing trick or hollow words, the service fully justifies its name and free really means free. See for yourself.

As well as other tax software, FreeTax offers multi-tiered services specifically designed to cover all typical tax situations most Americans would find themselves in. However, while competitors usually provide only a single free package for truly simple tax situations and define an extra charge for each next tier depending on the paperwork engaged, FreeTax provides free returns for complex tax situations as well. Whether you are a W-2 worker, freelancer or self-employed, a homeowner or investor, you can file your tax return for free. A range of forms and schedules covered by the FreeTax software is truly impressive. These are the forms for all types of personal and business income and for commonly supported deductions and credits with only a short list of non-accepted forms. The forms you can’t file through the FreeTax service cover tax situations related to expats receiving foreign income, non-resident foreigners, and individuals whose children investment income is over 2100 USD. On top of that, the site ensures extensive free customer support and assistance for all tiers and will let you conveniently import the necessary data from other tax software and even print or e-file your tax returns.

Listed on the IRS Free File Page, FreeTax is by far the best free tax software out there, especially if costs are your major concerns. 

Review of FreeTaxUSA Tax Software Do it right. Do it for free.

and Even the Accuracy is Guaranteed

Like other tax planning services FreeTax performs an error check and will alert you when some corrections are required. Yet, the option that will really surprise you about this service is the accuracy guarantee. Normally, tax software providers would repay the interest and tax penalty charged by IRS in case those arise due to a software miscalculation. With the FreeTax website, you will have the same, despite its free return filing services.

FreeTaxUSA Tax Software Do it right. Do it for free. in the use

What's the Catch Then?

There is no hidden catch about FreeTax, yet, truth be told, this income tax software is not totally free. Free options refer to all kinds of federal returns while state tax returns are to be paid for. Besides, if you need some audit assistance and support or to make amendments in your filed returns, you will also have to pay and go for a Deluxe package. However, the extra charges are fairly competitive and the total cost of the federal and state package together with all additional paid services would be lower than some classic or standard tier from competitors and is still one of the lowest on the market.

Detailed review of FreeTaxUSA Tax Software Do it right. Do it for free.

 

What Is the Tax Software?

Taxes are a topic that cannot be neglected or overlooked since every working person has to file a tax return on a regular basis, whether you are a freelancer, military, an expat or own a small business. And it is not only to show your incomes and pay taxes relevant to your financial status but also to get some tax refund related to the amount of taxes paid. There are people who choose to complete and file their tax returns by themselves spending tons of time and efforts on that while others prefer leaving this job to professionals and hire a tax expert. It’s worth saying that none of the methods is 100% efficient. Without a certain degree of training and experience or some economic or financial background, completing tax forms all by yourself might turn a real challenge, not to say a nightmare. Delegating this task to an expert will definitely save you the whole form completion process, yet, professional services are often rather expensive. However, there is an alternative. It’s a specialized tax software.

Designed in the format of a physical box software or an online service, it will help both companies and individuals prepare and file tax returns taking into account their tax situations. This helpful tool will guide the taxpayer through all forms and automatically calculate the sum of obligations to be paid. Constantly upgraded to meet all current tax code requirements, tax software and online tax planning services will even help users obtain greater savings by applying deductions they didn’t know about. Online tax services often offer free filing options for simple taxes and payable packages for more complex taxes. Yet, even payable options will be times less expensive than hiring an accountant. And you’ll rest assured that your tax return is accurate and contains no errors.

With a whole variety of tax preparation software and online services available on the market, we’ve made 5 detailed tax software reviews to help you choose the best tax software for your needs and tax situation.

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Publish Date: 2018-05-15 10:19:08