The Best Tax Software Programs

You can save yourself some money if you identify your tax-time priorities in advance and find the best tax software to address them. From figuring out tax deductions to taxable income to self-employed tax to capital gains to your tax prep, filing taxes can be complicated. On the other hand, hiring a professional tax preparer can be extraordinarily expensive. Some programs are pricier than others, but they’re still generally cheaper than hiring a professional.

Thanks to technology, there are many tax software providers and filing companies that aim to make filing taxes — from reporting your taxable income or self-employed income to setting up direct deposit, easier and more affordable now.

Following are some of the Best Tax Software Programs of 2020

1. TurboTax:

There’s something for all filers with TurboTax — the company offers a myriad of options, even if your tax situation is complicated. If your tax situation isn’t complicated, i.e. ,requiring lots of itemized deductions or advice on taxes, the user-friendly interface makes it simple to breeze through tax prep and file your taxes. If you use the online version and are stuck, TurboTax offers experts to chat with. The “SmartLook” feature will put you face-to-face with a tax expert. They offer free audit support. Above all, if TurboTax makes a mathematical mistake, they’ll pay all associated IRS penalties on your behalf.

If your tax situation is simple, it will cost you $50 for TurboTax Basic as of January 2020, although this doesn’t include a state return. Free product is also available for certain eligible taxpayers.

2. H&R Block:

H&R Block is a familiar face, it’s the place you see on nearly every corner.
That familiarity creates a well-earned sense of trust that extends beyond H&R Block’s brick-and-mortar operation to its desktop and online tax apps. H&R Block Premium is more cost effective than TurboTax. It’s user friendly and allows you to ask questions. But H&R Block isn’t always as efficient at deciphering your answers. You can then dig for informational answers in the Help window. You can file your taxes online, in-person and via its app or by downloading its software. The Deluxe version costs $29.99 as of 2020, without state returns.

3. TaxSlayer :

TaxSlayer supports all tax forms on its Classic level and above. Even if you use the free version, customers can access tax advice via its educational tools, phone and email support. Higher tiers, such as TaxSlayer Premium, get access to audit protection, assistance from tax professionals and live chat support.

The major perk is that TaxSlayer offers a no-interest advance on your tax refund — you can receive either $500 or $1,000 once the IRS accepts your filing and receive the funds on a Green Dot Prepaid Visa card in as little as 24 hours. Once you receive your refund, TaxSlayer will deposit the rest after deducting your advance and any applicable fees.

4. Credit Karma tax:

This software used to be the new kid on the block. The company first ventured into tax preparation in 2016, and since made some significant improvements.

While some other free tax filing software charge for state returns, Credit Karma Tax doesn’t. Instead, it gives you a user-friendly interface, helpful guidance to explain tax-related terminology and a live chat technical support. Credit Karma isn’t limited to simple returns. It can handle all major IRS schedules and forms, including those related to more complex tax situations. Another major feature is audit defense. And not just that, if you end up receiving a larger tax refund or owe less in federal taxes after filing with Credit Karma, you may be able to receive up to $100 in gift cards.

5. TaxAct Premium:

The web-based program offers 19 icons relating to situations that might currently apply to you. On all paid tiers, TaxAct users can receive guidance from a tax specialist as an add-on option, much like TurboTax offers. Depending on the tier, you could receive unlimited one-on-one phone or in-app chat support.

Where TaxAct shines is its $100,000 Accuracy Guarantee — receive up to $100,000 for any difference in liability or refund, IRS penalties and interest, plus a refund for TaxAct software fees. This feature might make it the best tax software for you if you have a high taxable income or a complicated tax situation where you feel errors may be likely.