Ohhhh, taxes… just thinking about them conjures up almost as much joy as a root canal.
But according to Ben Franklin, they’re one of just two certainties in life (the other being death), which means that like it or not, you will have to think about them.
Unlike in Ben’s time, however, there are now dozens of websites and software that will do most of the work for you and hopefully reduce your headaches come April.
The Best Tax Software
Whether you’re filing your taxes as a freelancer for the first time or trying to figure out deductions, you can trust these 6 options to make one of life’s most unpleasant tasks a little more bearable.
As the leading name in personal tax preparation software, TurboTax stays by your side through every step of the preparation process so you never have to wonder if you’re making a mistake.
They promise to find every deduction possible, and their “Expense Finder” feature makes this software especially helpful for self-employed filers. The tool will sift through your bank account and automatically take any potentially deductible expense, organize them, and enter them accordingly.
You can even upload photos of your documents, including W2s and 1099s, to ensure that you’re not entering any typos.
- Able to import many employer Tax IDs
- Upload photos/scans of your most important documents instead of inputting data
- Expense Finder for self-employed workers
- Searches over 350 potential deductions
- Chat with experts online
- “SmartLook” feature to chat face to face with experts
- Accurate calculations guaranteed
- Guidance in case of an audit
2. H&R Block (Deluxe)
H&R Block’s Deluxe package is ideal for homeowners and investors, as it supports forms for Residential Energy Credits, Nondeductible IRAs, Health Savings Accounts, and more. The DeductionPro tool will help you make sure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to finding all your applicable deductions.
H&R also has the benefit of many in-store locations across the U.S., which makes in-person support highly accessible, unlike most others on this list.
- Audit support
- Nationwide locations
- Real-time online support
- DeductionPro tool
- Supports Schedule A
- Includes more forms for more deductions
Price: $35.72 (State + Federal)
TaxAct is considered a more budget-friendly alternative to TurboTax. This software allows you to lock in a low price when you start filing early (whereas other leading brands tend to hike up the prices if you haven’t finished filing yet).
Though it offers fewer bells and whistles than TurboTax, you’ll still get great value for your money (which you’ll save quite a bit of).
The software explains key processes as you prepare your taxes through their TaxTutor guidance center, and it’s also well-equipped to handle returns for self-employed users and those with investment income.
- Ability to lock in low prices early on
- Life Events feature to help you identify how your tax situation might have changed since last year
- Live customer support
- TaxTutor guidance center
4. FreeTaxUSA (Deluxe)
FreeTaxUSA offers free services for filing federal tax returns, but if you want a little more support, you can opt for their Deluxe package and also file your state taxes.
Despite its very low prices, FreeTaxUSA is easy to use and comes with just the right amount of support to walk you through the process without any confusion.
You can even chat live with a tax specialist, who can even help you through an IRS notice or audit process.
- IRS-Approved E-File Provider
- Live chat
- Priority support
- Unlimited amended returns
- Audit assist
- Simplified explanation of topics
Price: $6.99–$14.99 (Deluxe)
5. TaxSlayer (Classic)
TaxSlayer’s Classic package makes filing your taxes simple and painless with their Fast Fill and Easy Upload features. When you upload your W-2, they’ll automatically fill in your income, wages, and more; plus, they guarantee they’ll find all the deductions you’re eligible for.
In addition, email and phone support is available to help you resolve any IRS inquiries regarding your returns for up to 1 year after the IRS has accepted your e-file.
- Quick File option
- Covers all tax situations
- 100% accuracy guarantee
- Supports all major IRS forms
- Easy W-2 import from providers
- Prepare your taxes from any device (including mobile)
Price: $24 (Federal only)
6. Liberty Tax (Basic)
Liberty Tax’s Online Basic Edition offers an intuitive user interface that takes the intimidation out of online tax preparation.
You’ll be asked a series of straightforward questions (much like if you were visiting a tax preparer in person), and you’ll record your responses using a combination of data fields, drop-down lists, and buttons.
You can chat live with experts or email your technical questions to specialists to get quick assistance.
- Easy navigation
- Variety of help tools
- Credit Maximizer feature
- Import your info from a competitor for free
- Multi-channel support
- Maximum refund and 100% accuracy guarantee
Price: $35.96 (Federal only)
Taxes Made Easy
Preparing your tax returns is stressful, but you don’t have to face it alone.
Trust one of these 6 software options above to help you through the maze and get your taxes done faster and with fewer headaches. And if you’re a writer, be sure to check out our free printable tax organizer for writers.
Do you have any tax-filing tips? Share them with us in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:
- Expense Tracking for Freelancers: How to Set Up for Tax Season
- Author Tax Prep Checklist: Free Printable Tax Organizer for Writers
- Expense It: 20 Smart Tax Deductions for Writers
- Tax Basics for Authors: 7 Quick Tips for Making Tax Time Easier
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