Tax programs make doing your income taxes a breeze. These programs do all the heavy lifting, removing the need to do math, examine tax tables, fill out tax forms and search for possible tax credits. You can either buy software versions of these programs or use Web versions from each company’s website. Simple filers can often use these products for free; otherwise, you don’t pay until you’ve finished your taxes and have had a chance to review your return. According to many reviewers, the best overall program is TurboTax. The best budget software is TaxAct, and the one with the best customer support is H&R Block. Each of these programs is intuitive and easy to use, and yet each has its differences. Read on to learn which tax filing program is your best option.
Top 3 Tax-Filing Programs:
- H&R Block
The online version of TurboTax is free for many people. If you only need the short form to file, it will probably be free for you. For more than that you will need to upgrade, but the time savings and stress savings will be worth it. TurboTax has a step by step approach that leads you through the process. It has a simple deductions tool to help you find your deductions. You may submit your W2 by taking a picture of it with your smartphone. Another nice feature for the self employed is that you can allow TurboTax to go through your bank account to find expenses that might be deductible. The software can also help you spot things that might result in an audit, so there is help in this area as well. The upgrades are not cheap, but there is no high pressure to buy them if you don’t need them. TurboTax is also the largest company of this type, and is a pioneer in the field of do it yourself filing software.
- Free for many users
- Very easy to use
- Deduction and expense finder programs
Most people know H&R Block for its tax preparation offices in cities throughout the country. However, this company also offers its own digital tax services. The great thing about H&R Block’s program is its personal touch. You can talk to a live person and get help, though there is a cost for that service. There’s a free version of this software for simple tax filers, and you can purchase this program either at stores or online. The software’s interface is easy to use, with logical checklists that track your progress. The only drawback is you cannot look ahead at all the tax forms, or look beyond the one you are working on at the moment. There is phone support, as well as email support. The softawre also has an instant chat feature.
- Human help always available
- Free filing is available
- Easy to use, logical progression
TaxAct is the cheapest software out there, and it’s good for people who are filing very simple returns. The software is good, guiding you through the process step by step. It is similar to TurboTax in that regard, but does not provide the same level of feedback to let you know you are doing it right. If you use the free filing option, you may access your return free for seven years, which is something most companies charge for. It does have some limited business applications, but this software is designed more for individuals without a lot of needed forms.
- Free access to returns for seven years
- LImited capability for state returns
- Cheapest system on the market
There are about 131 million tax returns filed yearly, and more than 50 million of them are filed electronically. Computers can easily do what it used to take a long time to do by hand. If you have simple needs, such as just one or two forms, you can easily do this yourself with one of these tax programs. As your needs get more complex you will need more help. There is plenty of software out there that can make what was once a hard job a fairly simple task.