Taxes may be a part of life, but most of us are on the hunt for ways to save money during tax season. From saving on filing costs to maximizing your deductions, most people feel that time spent saving money is, well, time well spent. (Say that ten times fast.) Taxes can also be a pain and most people who do their own taxes dread the season as it looms closer. In order to reduce your stress, invest in some of the best tax software this year.
There’s a good chance American taxpayers will place an even higher premium today on finding the best tax software at the right price. In fact, according to a recent study, Americans’ savings accounts are at an all-time low. The latest data shows Americans are saving just 2.3%, or $2.30 of every $100 they earn after paying taxes, down from 7.5% as recently as December 2021. Historically, that’s very low.
Paying taxes can also be a challenging process for many people. One study in 2022 found that a third of Americans wait until the last minute to file their taxes — and more than half weren’t even sure when the deadline is! What’s worse, a more recent survey in 2023 reports that more than 1 in 5 young adults don’t know how to file taxes at all!
Still, there are ways to save money and get the tax filing software you need for your situation. How do we know? We did the research! StudyFinds put together a list of the seven best tax software programs, according to financial experts’ reviews.
The List: Best Tax Software, According to Experts
A household name already, TurboTax really does deliver when it comes to doing your taxes. “TurboTax ranks No. 1 in our ratings of the Best Tax Software and the Best Mobile Tax Apps of 2023,” writes U.S. News. “Tax filers like it’s easy-to-use interface and question-answer survey when completing taxes. TurboTax offers four versions of its software, from free to Self-Employed.”
They’ve done a particularly nice job of adding tools to help users do their taxes on their own or with assistance, which has been a knock in recent years as competitors try to win their business.
CNET loves this software’s simplicity and writes, “TurboTax guides you deftly through the process of completing your tax return, never asking for information you’ve already given or that doesn’t apply to your tax situation. When questions arise, information is quickly at hand.”
“TurboTax has an interview-style Q&A experience and a wide range of functionality and tools that make entering information easy. Help is easy to access, and explanations are clear and authoritative,” says NerdWallet.
2. H&R Block
The other brand you’ve likely heard of and wondered about, H&R Block does a lot of things really well. Their interface might need some work, though.
“While not as smooth as TurboTax, H&R Block features a well-designed, interview-style system that helps users sidestep potential mistakes. Help screens and FAQs are comprehensive, though not as easy to access,” writes CNET.
Minor criticism aside, it appears you’ll be in good hands if you choose to file your taxes with them. You may even save money when you file.
“H&R Block offers products comparable to those of its main competitor, TurboTax, but at a lower price point,” says Money.com. “As one of the leading tax software providers, it features a streamlined interface that’s easy to navigate, comprehensive explanations on all tax forms and a clear step-by-step guide to help you file taxes on your own.”
Also second on their list, U.S. News mentions, “There are four online versions starting at $0 up to $109.99 for its top tier. State filings are an additional $36.99 each. With over 11,000 offices across the country, H&R Block includes the option of in-person or drop-off tax preparation if you don’t have the time to file on your own.”
Beyond the two tax-filing are several other solid choices for best tax software. TaxSlayer is one that the experts have a lot of good things to say about. For example, according to Insider:
“The pros of TaxSlayer [include]:
- Strong option for self-employed filers
- Low price — comparable self-employed packages at H&R Block and TurboTax are more than 2x the cost
- All packages include phone and email support
- Self-employed package includes on-demand access to a tax professional
- Simple and clean interface
- Ability to set up reminders to pay estimated quarterly taxes throughout the year.”
The company has grown from a niche tool into something most people can do their taxes on successfully. “TaxSlayer started as a tool for accountants and professional tax preparers more than 50 years ago. It’s been in the online DIY tax prep business since the 1990s. The site provides a thorough outline for common Form 1040-related topics and a searchable database of help files—improved for the current tax year—as well as guidance sprinkled throughout,” writes PCMag.
“TaxSlayer’s greatest advantage for self-employed filers is clear: it’s cheaper than the other alternatives out there. For $55 — the most expensive of its three paid online tax prep tiers — you get live chat assistance from tax pros as well as estimated tax payment reminders,” adds Money.com.
4. Cash App Tax
Nothing is better than free. When it comes to no-cost filing, Cash App has everyone beat, according to the pros.
“We chose Cash App Tax as the best free tax software because it’s the only tax software provider that offers a completely free tax filing service for federal and state returns,” writes Money.com.
Forbes, who tested the competition, puts it pretty bluntly. “When it comes to free tax filing options, all products are not created equally. We reviewed the free versions of each of the four platforms and awarded Cash App Taxes as our best free pick because it provides the widest variety of forms for free.”
According to PCMag, “All major and most minor tax forms and schedules are supported. The site is fast. It has an excellent UI and navigation system. And its mobile apps are great. It offers almost everything you need to prepare the most difficult of returns.”
Shoutout to Cash App for helping people save money.
5. Jackson Hewitt
It may not be free, but Jackson Hewitt is another solid budget-conscious option for tax software.
“While not quite as intuitive or flashy as TurboTax or H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt’s price of $25 for one federal return and unlimited state returns is tough to beat. Unlike most competitors that offer different tiers of service depending on your tax situation, Jackson Hewitt Online lets you file for one price, regardless of how complicated your taxes are,” writes CNET.
Even though you’ll save money, the company makes some pretty awesome guarantees about your tax returns if you file with them. “Jackson Hewitt includes a lifetime accuracy guarantee for taxes. You can upgrade for additional audit support and protection, including identity theft protection. If you think you’re probably going to be able to do your taxes yourself but also want the backup option of handing everything over to a professional, Jackson Hewitt is a good choice,” writes Investopedia.
Forbes points out: “An advantage of Jackson Hewitt is that its software doesn’t try to upsell you while you complete your tax return, as some of its competitors do.”
It’s a competitive industry, creating software to help people file their taxes. TaxAct has been doing it quietly for many years, but recent features they’ve added have support from some big names, including Insider, saying they are the best out there. “TaxAct has added free live CPA and tax expert assistance to all of its packages. That’s a huge value-add, especially since prices are already lower than the industry heavyweights.”
One of the biggest newspapers in the world feels similarly about their products and services. “TaxAct peppers helpful tips throughout its program, such as advice to use a Flexible Spending Account to reduce your income for the next year, but working through the program is tedious,” according to The New York Times.
“Services like TaxAct do more. For example, they provide hyperlinks to small help windows that further explain a term or phrase. They anticipate questions you might ask and post Q&As on especially thorny topics. They try to ensure that you understand the question being asked so that you’ll provide the correct answer,” adds PCMag.
Lastly is a lesser-known option that many people overlook. The name might remind you of an early 2000s website, but E-file.com works hard to keep money in your pocket.
As Money.com puts it, “We chose E-File as the best tax software for year-round discounts because of its generous promotions and discounts available throughout the year for filers. E-file is a good choice for budget-conscious filers who just need the basics. Its filing process is simple: once you create an account, enter your taxpayer information and E-file will prepare your return. The standard interface features prior-year import and a support sidebar that guides you every step.”
Sounds pretty good to us.
- Nerd Wallet
- U.S. News
- Business Insider
- Software Testing Help
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