Tax season is a stressful time of year, but there is help available for those who want to file returns themselves.
Online tax software simplifies the filing process without costing you a lot of money.
But choosing the right software for your needs can be a challenge, so we’ve broken down each of the best tax software options for you.
Each of the tax products on the list has unique features and packages to choose from.
The best pick for you depends on how much you want to spend and how complex your filing needs are.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the top software picks so you can file your taxes with confidence this year.
Top 15 Best Tax Software Programs in 2019
- H&R Block
- Liberty Tax
- Tax Slayer
- Credit Karma
- Jackson Hewitt
- eSmart Tax
- Community Tax
- DIY Tax
This software features intuitive tools to help you find deductions, notify you of errors, and help you file your state return.
One of the most significant drawbacks of this software is pricing, and you can expect to pay a premium when you use TurboTax when compared to others.
There is a free option, however, but it is limited and more suitable for filing simple returns.
TurboTax is free in the following situations:
- W-2 income
- Limited interest dividend reported on 1099
- Standard deduction claim
- Earned income tax credit
- Child tax credits
If you’re filing a basic 1040EZ or 1040A, the Free version will be sufficient.
However, when it comes to itemized deductions, like business and side-hustle income, stock sales, rental property, Schedule 1 to 6, credits, deductions, and income, you will have to upgrade to the Deluxe version.
This version offers high-end features to ensure your tax filing experience is as quick and painless as possible.
2. H&R Block
H&R Block produces popular software for filing taxes that features straightforward imports and 24/7 customer support via chat.
Another benefit of using H&R Block is it offers complete integration with many mainstream business apps, including Uber.
H&R Block employs a so-called “semi-guided” navigation system to guide users through the process of answering questions, entering income, and importing forms. Upon completion of each guided session, you get the opportunity to review all the information to ensure that there are no mistakes or omissions.
Like TurboTax, H&R Block is user-friendly, especially when it comes to importing forms. The software is also geared towards reducing the time and effort typically associated with tax prep.
H&R Block also offers “knowledge articles” that are easy to understand and provide sufficient information to help users file their taxes in accordance with the new laws. This software is ideal for traders, dividend investors, and landlords.
If your tax returns are simple, the free version of this software may be more than sufficient.
Take a look at our full review of H&R Block for more info.
TaxAct is a basic, high-performing tax software that mostly offers the same features as its competitors, including importing last year’s returns and W-2 as well as donation assistance and planning tools.
The software is online as well, so you can log into your account from different devices and locations.
If you need advanced tax software, TaxAct’s products may be the better option as they are, generally speaking, more affordable than packages from H&R Block and TurboTax.
There is also a free version that you can use if you qualify to file the 1040EZ.
If you have to file a 1040 or 1040A, however, you will have to upgrade to one of the paid versions.
TaxAct’s interface is relatively simple in comparison with its higher-end competitors.
If you prefer a straightforward design and value low pricing, TaxAct may be the more suitable option for you.
Get all the insight into this tax software in our TaxAct review.
Many users prefer E-file not because of its user-friendliness, but rather because of its low pricing. E-file is one of the most affordable tax software products available.
What’s more, if you qualify for a 1040EZ, you may be eligible for free federal tax returns.
In addition to the Free Federal E-file plan, you can also opt for the Deluxe Plus E-file or the Premium Plus E-file.
The paid versions are affordable in comparison with similar versions and offer the ability to deduct mortgage interest, receive support for form 1040A, and file with dependents.
In addition to all the features of the Free and Deluxe plans, the Premium plan also offers support for all deductions and credits, itemized tax deductions, and all personal and business income.
Another feature that users love is that they can pay for E-file tax preparation services using a portion of their refund, in addition to the usual debit and credit card options.
Read more about E-file’s tax software.
FreeTaxUSA, like E-file, is one of the most affordable tax preparation and planning services available. From the name, you may be forgiven for thinking that it is a free service, but this is not entirely the case.
FreeTaxUSA offers two online filing options: Free and Deluxe. While both of these plans allow for free federal filing, you will have to pay for state filing.
The Deluxe plan is affordable, and the price remains the same, regardless of the complexity level of your taxes. The software navigates you through a straightforward interview process and allows you to import your tax return from competitor software.
In addition, you can access tax and technical support via web chat.
With the Deluxe option, you get Audit Assist to answer your questions and help you prepare in the event of an audit.
Read our FreeTaxUSA review.
6. Liberty Tax
Liberty Tax features a user-friendly interface and is a popular choice for tax software, especially since it allows you to import your W-2 through ADP, which saves time by auto-populating your personal information.
Another feature that users love is that this software shows your risk of being audited.
One of the most significant differences between Liberty Tax and most other tax preparation and filing software products is that it doesn’t offer a free version.
As a result, if you want to file a basic 1040EZ return, you will have to pay.
For itemized deductions or filing a 1040A, Liberty Tax’s basic version will be sufficient, but if you have investment income, you will have to opt for the premium version. With Liberty Tax, you can receive your refunds via direct deposit, prepaid card, or check.
With Liberty Tax, you can receive your refunds via direct deposit, prepaid card, or check.
Not convinced yet? Read our in-depth discussion of Liberty Tax.
7. Tax Slayer
Tax Slayer has an interface, features, and support that are comparable to that of their higher-end competitors like TurboTax.
There are several options available, including:
- Free package for 1040EZ filing
- Classic package for landlords, itemizers, etc.
- Premium package for audit assistance and access to tax professionals
- Self-employed package if you have a state return to file
- If your tax preparation and filing needs are relatively basic, the Free plan may seem like the best options. Keep in mind, however, that this plan only allows you to file a 1040EZ. You also will not be able to access free tax support.
The other plans offer a wide range of valuable features, including the ability to take a picture of your W-2 instead of manually typing in all the numbers. There is also a side-banner to help you keep track of the process.
If you need an effective tax planning service but are not willing to pay a premium for high-end software like TurboTax or H&R Block, Tax Slayer may be a viable option.
8. Credit Karma
Credit Karma is well-known for their credit monitoring service, and now you can use their software for federal and state tax filing for free.
Since it supports almost all forms, you can rest assured that it will be able to meet all your basic tax filing requirements.
If you have strict budgetary restrictions, Credit Karma may be one of your best tax filing service options.
Although this software doesn’t feature interview-style navigation, it has a user-friendly interface, and you will be able to see how your income, deductions, and credits affect your tax refund from your dashboard.
There are some drawbacks to this software.
The only forms you can import are W-2 and tax returns from the previous year. Credit Karma’s tech support is also somewhat lacking. If you are, for example, an active trader, this software may not be entirely suitable for your needs.
On the other hand, if you have basic tax filing requirements and a limited budget, look no further than Credit Karma.
9. Jackson Hewitt
Jackson Hewitt is a high-end tax planning service that allows you to file online as well as at its stores. It also offers a wide array of filing options, and you can choose one that fits your unique financial situation.
Another great thing about using Jackson Hewitt is the unlimited email and chat support.
Jackson Hewitt has three different filing options: one is free and two are paid. The free plan includes 1040EZ filing and straightforward tax return import, as well as unlimited live chat.
The paid plans allow you to report dependents, mortgage interest, student loan interest, and simple self-employed income.
Jackson Hewitt may be a suitable tax planning service regardless of your what your financial situation is. The Jackson Hewitt website is not clear on how each option is best for different users, and their services are not the most affordable in comparison with their competitors.
Their pricing and services are, however, on par with those of the market leaders.
10. eSmart Tax
eSmart Tax is Liberty Tax’s online tax software and features a Free and Premium version.
The Free version is suitable for users that want to manage simple tax filings like child and dependent care credit, while the Premium version takes care of business, investment, and real estate income.
eSmart Tax provides a wide range of additional features to make life easier for their users.
These features include accurate creation of 1040 returns with itemized deductions and quick and easy import of prior year return information from eSmart, as well as competitors like TurboTax, TaxAct, and H&R Block.
The tax preparation software also allows you to import your W-2 and 1099 forms to make return creation quicker and to eliminate errors.
If you have extensive experience with e-filing and are looking for an affordable solution, eSmart Tax may be a suitable option for you.
ezTax charges a flat rate for federal and state tax filing regardless of the type of form that is required.
This tax preparation software is straightforward and easy to use for essential tax return preparation.
The software is mainly similar to other mid-range products. Before you complete the forms, you can choose from a guided or do-it-yourself option.
If you have some experience and know how to complete the forms, the do-it-yourself option will allow you to move through the process quicker.
ezTax can manage more advanced tax filing processes, but since this service charge the same fee for every type of 1040 that you are required to file, you will pay for, say, a 1040EZ, where other products offer these services for free.
Check out our ezTax review for additional details.
12. Community Tax
Community Tax specializes in debt relief and also provides a complete tax assistance service.
Community Tax uses IRS tax records to ensure that all your income and expenses are accounted for, and their review team analyses returns to ensure that there are no mistakes.
As their client, you will also receive a dedicated tax preparer that has an IRS power of attorney.
Community Tax can help you with all of the following:
- Rental income
- Interest Income
- Unemployment compensation
- Gambling income
- Revenue out of the sale of assets
If you require assistance with your business’s tax return, Community Tax’s preparation and filing software will be a suitable option for you.
1040.com’s software focuses on simplicity and smart solutions to help their clients spend less time on tax return preparation and filing.
This product offers free help via chat and email, and they also have easy-to-read knowledge articles to provide you with sufficient information on tax filing and the procedures involved.
1040.com is aimed at meeting the needs of simple filers. If you qualify for 1040EZ, this software’s free version will be more than sufficient.
If you are a stock market investor, and itemizer, self-employed, or someone with dependents, you will have to upgrade to one of 1040.com’s paid versions.
If your tax filing needs are complicated, you may have difficulty with this software, however.
This product doesn’t offer the additional features like built-in calculators that real estate or stock market investors may need to file their taxes accurately.
OLT.com offers low-priced online tax services to support the most common filing situations.
There are two versions to choose from:
- Free, and
The Free version supports all significant schedules with free federal filing and paid state filing.
With Premium, both federal and state filings require payment, but with this version, you will also receive full audit support and tax assistance from a professional.
The software also features informative articles to help clients with their tax filing and preparation.
15. DIY Tax
The most prominent benefit of DIY Tax is that this software offers accurate and free state and federal tax filing for everyone.
Also, it also allows you to import your taxes from previous years to save time and eliminate mistakes.
DIY Tax also provides free technical support. However, if you use this software and need support for the actual tax forms, you will have to pay for Liberty Tax’s support.
If you qualify for 1040EZ filing, there is no reason for you to pay for tax software. On the other hand, if your tax filing needs are advanced, it may be worth your while to use tax software.
On the other hand, if your tax filing needs are advanced, it may be worth your while to use tax software.
Just make sure you pick a service that offers a user-friendly interface, complete tax and tech support, simple importing, and comprehensive income and expenditure reporting, even if the price tag is high.
With one of the tax software options on this list, you should be able to handle the trickiest of tax filing situations with ease.