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.
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
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
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
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.
- 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
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 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
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