Filing your taxes online can help you get your tax refund faster. Not to mention, you get to enjoy increased convenience, accuracy, and security.
TurboTax is one of the best tax filing software products on the market today, but it’s only one of many—there are alternatives to TurboTax.
This guide to tax software will help you decide whether or not TurboTax is the best call for you.
The Turbotax program offers a simple free version that is ideal for filers who don’t itemize their returns.
The free version can also work well for you if you don’t intend to take any specialized credits or deductions.
However, if your tax situation is a little bit complicated, you may need to invest in any of the three TurboTax’s paid versions:
The price for these paid versions ranges from $39.99 to $89.99. The best thing about them is that they are designed to help you save cash through deductions and charitable contributions.
Moreover, every TurboTax version comes with an Audit Support Guarantee. That means you won’t be on your own if the IRS audits you for any reason.
It’s worth noting that if you find yourself in trouble and need live one-on-one support, you’ll need to get one of Turbotax’s paid versions as the free package doesn’t grant that access.
TurboTax may be an excellent tax filing software, offering valuable functionalities, but one of its competitors might better suit your needs.
Hence, you may need to consider TurboTax alternatives and compare them against each other in a bid to choose the best.
That said, let’s compare TurboTax with its close competitors, TaxAct, H&R Block, and TaxSlayer.
TurboTax vs. H&R Block
Both TurboTax and H&R Block offer a free package for basic returns. These free plans also allow you to file some additional forms and schedules.
However, H&R Block’s free plan allows you to file more schedules and forms than TurboTax’s free plan. You can file several state returns with H&R Block’s free plan without paying a dime.
TurboTax’s free plan, on the other hand, allows you to file only one state return for free.
Overall, then, H&R Block is more cost-friendly than TurboTax if you have to file state returns.
When it comes to ease of use and user-friendliness, both providers perform impressively. However, TurboTax is a little bit superior to H&R Block on both the mobile app and desktop platform.
TurboTax’s interview-style tax preparation method, with its simple and straightforward questions, makes the entire filing process easy. The level of tax jargon used in the software is minimal.
While H&R Block has tried to maintain user-friendliness on its mobile and desktop platforms, its questions and explanations are sometimes unclear for users who aren’t super-familiar with legal terminology.
These two providers hold a great reputation for offering exceptional customer support. However, H&R Block would be a better option if you would like in-person support should you run into a serious problem.
This is because it has hundreds of physical offices spread around the country. However, if you don’t mind getting advice online, TurboTax has a lot to offer. Both TurboTax and H&R Block offer their customers access to real tax experts.
TurboTax vs TaxAct
Both TurboTax and TaxAct offer a genuinely free “free” plan. That means you won’t pay a dime for filing both federal and state return (as long as you only need one state return).
Both providers also have a number of paid packages, which are geared to support more complex tax situations. If you are looking to itemize your deductions, for example, you’ll find great value in TurboTax’s Deluxe package and TaxAct’s Deluxe+ package.
Both providers have designed their high-end plans to meet the tax filing needs of investors, self-employed individuals, and owners of rental real estate.
When it comes to features and user-friendliness, TurboTax beats TaxAct hands-down.
Its interview-style tax preparation method makes things simple and straightforward. In the case of document importations, both tax filing programs allow for importing of W-2s to save time.
When it comes to customer support, Turbotax would make a better option, especially if you prefer to be walked through every step of the tax filing process. TurboTax features a searchable knowledge base, tons of video tutorials, and online forums, which are invaluable for research on the fly.
However, the most remarkable support feature that TurboTax has to offer is TurboTax Live. TurboTax Live gives you access to an actual CPA to help you review your tax return.
You also get to enjoy unlimited live tax consultation. TaxAct, on the other hand, will give you access to unlimited tax support through in-app email, but you must be a paid user to enjoy this service.
If you’re looking to file your own taxes affordably, TaxAct is a smart choice.
You also stand to enjoy unrestricted tax support on the phone if you are a Deluxe+ Premier+, or Self-employed+ user.
If you are a Premier + or Self-Employed+ user, TaxAct entitles you to a dedicated phone line, limited in-app chat, and screen-sharing.
Overall, TaxAct seems to offer a better deal, albeit less user-friendly, as it is less expensive but still boasts plenty of capabilities.
TurboTax vs. Tax Slayer
TaxSlayer offers a few packages targeting taxpayers with varied tax situations.
Its Classic and Premium packages are designed for taxpayers who might have somewhat more complex tax situations compared to the average filer who needs to file only a 1040.
Their self-employed package gives you access to some special features if you need assistance in determining what you can and can’t deduct.
You’ll also get help on issues that affect small business owners to guide your tax filing.
With the Ultimate package, you get to enjoy the best of what TaxSlayer has to offer.
TaxSlayer Ultimate features premier audit defense, identity theft protection services, as well as unlimited email, phone, and chat support.
Overall, TaxSlayer is cheaper than TurboTax. The primary reason is that TaxSlayer offers fewer features and functionalities.
Nonetheless, you can get all the tax forms from their cheapest package. Hence, if you are experienced in tax filing, you may save a lot of money.
Every tax filing software has its advantages and downsides. Some come with features that offer more support to filers in different tax situations.
In the end, the best tax filing software is the one that is easy to use, suits your tax situation, and fits your budget.
You also need a software product that offers reliable customer support, so you can quickly get help whenever you find yourself lost.
TurboTax is very easy to use and provides a wider variety of features and support compared to H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer.
It can work well for both beginners and experienced business owners—provided they can afford the price for paid versions.
However, if you don’t like TurboTax for any reason or find the cost of its competitors to be hard to beat, then the best alternatives would be TaxAct, H&R Block, or TaxSlayer.