Best Tax Software

February 12, 2011

The best tax software for your tax return depends on a variety of factors but the big three of tax prep software (Turbo Tax, Tax Act, and H&R Block at Home) remain some of the best choices this year. They’ve all been around for a while so they have a lot of experience handling new tax rules and finding deductions for their users. If you are planning on filing your taxes online this year, anyone of these services should meet your needs.

Turbo Tax, Tax ACT, and H&R Block offer free filing options to cover the basics and they all offer more sophisticated versions to help you take advantage of tax credits and deductions. Before we get into an overview of their services and what they have to offer, I’ll also mention two additional tax software packages that I’ve heard about recently but haven’t had a chance to evaluate – Citizen Tax and Complete Tax:

Turbo Tax Free e-File

  • Free tax file for 1040EZ and other simple returns
  • Turn around time for tax return in as little as 8 days if signed up for direct deposit
  • Audit Support Center included

If you’re filing needs are simple you might be able to use the Free Edition or the Basic Edition of TurboTax.  If you’re filing the 1040EZ and don’t have a mortgage, childcare or medical expenses, or charitable donations then these might be all you need.  Keep in mind they don’t cover tax schedules C, D, E, or F and don’t include state filing. 

TurboTax Deluxe

Turbo Tax Deluxe ($29.95) helps you maximize your deductions. Good for people who qualify for a lot of tax deductions such as home owners. State filing is an additional price. – Click Here to Learn More

TurboTax Premier

Turbo Tax Premier ($49.95) helps you with investments and rental property. If you have more than average investments and one or two rental properties, this package takes a look at their tax implications. – Click Here to Learn More

TurboTax Home Business

Turbo Tax Home and Business ($74.95) designed for people who own a small business. If you’re dealing with business taxes its smart to hire a CPA but if you don’t then this software is designed for sole proprietors, contractors, or single owner LLC’s.  I know Ben used this package for a year or two before hiring a CPA for business taxes. – Click Here to Learn More

TurboTax Businesss

Turbo Tax Business: ($129.95) built for corporations, parnterships, or multi-member LLCs to help file business taxes. Again, it might be wise to hire a CPA rather than trying to do it yourself unless you are very savvy with federal tax returns. I am sure the product is great at helping you identify many deductions, but there are a lot of tax implications to consider when dealing with corporations. – Click Here to Learn More

Tax Act Online

Tax Act is the program I have used for the past three years. I think it’s the best value for people with simple returns, but want help with tax deductions and credits.

Free e-File

  • Offered through Tax Act with a tax deduction helper and walk-through videos
  • Prepare, print, and e-file federal returns for free
  • State filing costs $14.95

Tax Act Deluxe ($9.95) I have purchased this each year, because the extra tax tools included are worth the $10 bucks. State fee is reduced to $8.00. – Click Here to Learn More

Tax Act Ultimate ($17.95) This includes all of the free and premium services, and also it includes your state filing. – Click Here to Learn More

Tax Act Business ($39.95) Tax Act has seperate federal and state editions for business tax forms 1065, 1120S, and 1120. – Click Here to Learn More

H&R Block at Home (formerly Tax Cut)

H&R Block e-File H&R Block at Home has no free e-file that we can see. They offer a basic service for $19.95 that gives you up to 5 federal e-filings. They also allow unlimited free printing for filings. – Click Here to Learn More

H&R Block at Home Basic ($19.95) Gives you 5 free e-files, a state file is an extra $19.95. This package is designed for simple returns, the 1040EZ form. – Click Here to Learn More

H&R Block at Home Deluxe ($44.95) This version is designed for people that need to handle the tax details of owning a home (mortgage interest), selling investments (stocks, bonds mutual funds), or make charitable donations.. – Click Here to Learn More

H&R Block at Home Premium Federal ($64.95) for the self-employed or people that own rental property. It also includes an “Ask a Tax Advisor” session where H&R Block will help answer a tax question via a 1-on-1 phone or e-mail consultation.  For an extra $15 also get state filing. – Click Here to Learn More

Home & Business ($79.95) This version offers includes everything from H&R Block Premium and also addresses business tax needs such as vehicle deductions, depreciation, business expenses, payroll and employer tax forms. Its designed for corporations, S corporations, partnerships,  or LLC’s. – Click Here to Learn More

Erik

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Erik
Erik Folgate is a husband and father living in Orlando who's been writing about money online for 6 years. Digging himself out of $20k of debt after college and his former experience in the insurance industry give him some useful insights into personal finance issues.

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Comments

23 Responses to Best Tax Software

  • Daniel Grow

    Interesting article. I glad to know about this information is really fantastic. Here are many types of softwares which you can use it easily. TurboTax Deluxe is the best and one of the nicest software. It is hard to find and easy to use. It is god for people and it helps you maximize your deductions.

    • Ben

      Hey Daniel, TurboTax Deluxe is one of the most popular versions of the software. It’s not hard to find though, you can actually access the TurboTax online products on their website for free.

  • Scott Anderson

    I found taxhead the best for me. I file 1040A and they specialize in this form. Very easy to use and excellent customer service. They rock!

  • Anne

    Sorry to be popping in late, I’m over from a Carnival. H&R Block Tax Cut does have a free version but from what I can tell it is ONLY available if you go through the link on the IRS’ free e-file list of links. It’s a nice, comprehensive list. I make under $56k and was able to file a pretty basic return for free with H&R Block and then a free state version via my state’s department of revenue site (each state will be different). The key is to not take H&R Block up on their offer to file your state return at the same time. They wanted something like $30 to do it.

    This link might work but when I try to go back it gets a little wonky and I have to re-choose “e-file” from the list on the left.
    http://www.irs.gov/app/freeFile/jsp/index.jsp

  • Hannah

    I finally got fed up with Turbo Tax and switched to TaxAct this year. Here’s why:

    http://monogamoney.wordpress.com/2009/02/07/why-we-switched-from-turbotax/

  • Grant Baldwin

    I’m a self-employed business owner and did my taxes this year on Turbo Tax Home & Business. Super simple and easy to use.

    Teaches you to keep good records throughout the year…great resource.

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