There’s just something about calculations, tax returns, deductions, and other financial jargon that make most people break a sweat. It doesn’t help that traditional tax offices charge high to review and file taxes, making it near impossible to love filing taxes.
Lucky for you, online companies offer free and paid tax services for all sorts of taxes. The catch is these tax softwares will not cripple your finances when using them. Instead, they will aid you in finding new tax deductions, credit karma tax, and maximum refunds. Also, you can file from anywhere at your convenience.
There’s no shame in feeling unsure and anxious when filing taxes for the first time without professional guidance. Uncertainty can creep up, but that’s normal. Even old-timers still feel like they are missing something and filing their taxes wrong online.
So, don’t give up. Keep at it and follow the step-by-step guide the best tax software provides to navigate tax refunds’ preparation and filing. Furthermore, contact an agent on the website to aid you if the instructions are confusing.
Online brands offer free tax services primarily to individuals who have simple returns, in other words, average-earning people. Examples of simple returns are dividend income, W-2 income, standard deduction, unemployment income, etc. The IRS has a free filing program for simple returns.
The IRS program allows you to file your tax returns, granted your gross income is less than $73,000 when adjusted. Further, filing your tax will cost more if your earning or deduction is complex and not categorized under simple returns.
Whichever tax software brand you choose will notify you if you are not qualified to file tax under simple return. In which case, the next best option is to upgrade to the paid version and benefit from more deductions. In addition, hire a pro if your business earns you an enormous income.
Though, more expensive, an expert will help put your tax filing in order in ways tax softwares can’t. They know better ways to find deductions, and it saves you the time to figure out your income and expenditure. On that note, let’s talk about tax softwares’ features and pricing to choose the brand that suits you.
Best 4 Tax Software For Online Tax Filing In 2022
- Taxhub: Overall Best Tax Software Online, Editor’s Choice
- Tax Slayer: Tax Software For Self-employed Individuals
- H&R Block: Most Preferred Free Online Tax Filing Service
- Taxact: Tax E-filing With Free Agents Consultation
#1. Taxhub: Overall Best Tax Software Online, Editor’s Choice
Taxhub is first on our list, and the brand prides itself as innovative, offering its users more quality services other brands don’t. The company brings their clients the professional expertise of an accountant without them paying through their nose for the service.
Taxhub offers services to individuals and businesses that need help with tax prep. Once you create an account, you will get paired with a CPA (certified public accountant) based on your needs. Furthermore, the CPA will work with you year after year and familiarize themselves with your account to aid you better.
They charge $49 per fifteen minutes for CPA business coaching. The package comes with bookkeeping assistance, maximum deductions, and tax estimates for next year. Also, they will review your self-prepared tax return and give you feedback.
After creating an account and getting matched to a CPA, upload your tax documents or email the tax picture to the company. Additionally, schedule a phone or video call session with your CPA to discuss your uploaded tax document. The CPA will ask you viable questions which you’re to provide the correct answers to so they will help you better,
Informative Blog: Taxhub publishes tax content on its blog section. The contents vividly explain what tax softwares can do and the benefits to reap from it. Also, it talks about how to file cash app taxes and the differences between simple returns and complex returns. If you’re confused about how tax filing works, go through the blog and read the contents there to familiarize yourself.
Friendly Website Interface: Their website interface is user-friendly with excellent and pleasing aesthetics. The links are not confusing, and it doesn’t take so much time to fill out the form because uploading your document fills some parts by default. Furthermore, it’s aptly labeled, and visitors can go through the site’s reviews to know what other users are saying about their service.
Different Packages To Choose From: The company has a paid and free version, allowing users to choose which offering is better for them depending on their earnings. We recommend choosing the paid version to access every feature the site offers.
That aside, purchasing a plan with Taxhub will not cripple your finances. The cost for Personal tax prep starts at $159, and for business tax prep, the price starts at $459. So, choose the plan that serves you better.
- Completely free to use for simple returns earners
- A dedicated CPA will be matched to you after creating an account
- Maximum refund is guaranteed
- 24/7 live chat
- A Lifelock Membership ID Protection that lasts for 30days
- Consultation with an expert is only free for five minutes
#2. Tax Slayer: Tax Software For Self-employed Individuals
Tax Slayer is another platform that offers seamless and good-quality services. It’s affordable, and their pricing model sets them apart. They provide free service for simple returns called simple free and three paid levels: classic, premium, and self-employed.
The brand charges based on your level of need and the support you seek. One positive attribute of Tax Slayer is the cheapest package can handle the same form and tax situation the brand’s expensive package offers.
To use Tax Slayer’s simple free package, your taxable income must be below $100,000. If you don’t itemize or have investments or rental income, the plan will accommodate you. Furthermore, you’re entitled to free state returns with the package.
The free tax software is upfront about their fees. You will benefit greatly from the platform if you detest other brands baiting to upsell their service. They do so by not mentioning the need for an upgrade until you’ve gone far with the filing and can’t withdraw. In addition, the downside of Tax Slayer is the interface is not quite as excellent as other platforms.
Mobile App: Tax Slayer has an online tax software mobile app interface that’s clean and easy to use, like the desktop version. Furthermore, it allows you to upload 1009, W-2, and other tax documents. The beauty of the app is it orders your uploads, putting them automatically where they should be. Also, you can switch from the app to the web version effortlessly.
Live CPA Support: As humans, we are prompted to do things ourselves most times to prove we can do it. But when the going gets tough, you can count on Tax Slayer’s live support to help clarify things for you. It costs extra to have them on board, but it’s worth it, especially if you know what questions to ask.
Attractive Pricing: Tax Slayer offers reasonable prices for their services. The costs for the federal level are classic edition $24, premium $44, and self-employed $54. The state return for all the plans goes for $39. With these cheaper offerings, users on a strict budget can file their taxes.
- State filing fees are low
- Varieties of ways to file your tax
- Audit support guaranteed
- 100% calculation accuracy
- It’s affordable
- Low student loan interest
- You can only speak with experts if you upgrade to a higher plan
#3. H&R Block: Most Preferred Free Online Tax Filing Service
H&R Block software allows you to claim loan deduction fees free of charge for college tuition and student loans. Additionally, the platform has two forms for students: loan interest deduction and tuition and fees statement.
These forms can reduce and increase the tax amount you owe regardless of taking the standard deduction. Furthermore, the guide is unambiguous and will help you fill out the form. During the interview process, the software alerts you when selections are odd or uncommon to aid you in checking the right boxes.
It also explains why your selection is odd, providing a better alternative. Additionally, the software programming summarizes what you’ve entered after each significant section. If you’ve paid a student loan or have a simple return, file your taxes free with the platform.
H&R Block is a good fit for people that seek educational tax breaks. It costs $40 for the brand’s deluxe online assist and $60 for the self-employed and premium plan. During the online assist, the tax professional assigned to you can share their screen with you to identify where you’re stuck.
Physical Offices: H&R Block has about nine thousand offices in fifty states. The office is an added insurance, and people can walk in to discuss their taxes physically. So, if you’re stuck and need expert opinions, the doors to their office are open to you. But if you do not see a need to visit, you can chat with their virtual assistant.
Tax Education: The brand offers courses on business income, income tax to teach people how to calculate and become tax experts. Individuals with tax calculation experience can take an assessment test that helps measure their ability. Further, there’s a likelihood of becoming an H&R tax professional if the individual performs well.
Buy or Market Your Tax Business: Another feature H&R Block offers is an exit strategy for individuals that wish to retire from the tax business. The brand helps you sell the business, so your staff and clients are left in good hands. So, if you’re seeking a viable way to grow your tax business, purchasing an H&R Block business is an avenue you can explore.
- Transparent pricing before tax prep
- Save your spot and continue when you return
- Physical offices in fifty states make it easy to meet a tax expert
- Company will refund you for penalties or interests
- Education section to train and make users tax experts
- It costs more to speak with an expert
- You can’t itemize deduction with the free version
#4. TaxAct: Tax E-filing With Free Agents Consultation
TaxAct works like other online tax softwares. You pay the price to file federal tax returns and an additional fee to get state returns. The catch is TaxAct charges you when it’s time to file the taxes and not while filling the form. So, if at any point you wish to stop the process, you can do so without getting charged, provided you have not filed.
The platform will guide you through a series of questions to determine the best package for you. Questions like whether you have rental income, own a business or a home and have outstanding student loans.
The interface is different for each plan, giving filers of simple return income or self-employed a different experience. Furthermore, TaxAct helps you discover deductions and credits that you otherwise would not take notice of. Also, the software provides an easy guide and ensures maximum tax refund.
One of the advantages of using TaxAct is contacting an expert free of charge. However, you will pay for their services if you wish for the expert to file your taxes for you. Additionally, you can use your tax refunds to pay for tax prep services. But bear in mind, TaxAct will charge you a significant processing fee.
Shopping Cart: There’s a shopping cart icon on TaxAct’s website, and the purpose is to detail which package you’re purchasing. The shopping cart lets you know if you’ve selected add-ons and gives you the total of your bill. This way, you won’t be caught by surprise by the bill when the time comes to pay.
Audit Defense: TaxAct has tax professionals that will handle audit defense with the IRS. The company partners with Protection Plus, a third-party company, to offer audit assistance. Further, the insurance covers your tax return for three full years. That aside, they will pay for any penalty or interest arising from the auditing.
Easy Importation From Other Tax Softwares: The brand allows you to import your information from your previous tax software provider. All you need to do is upload a PDf file of your last year’s tax return. Furthermore, it’s an efficient way of downloading your information into the software instead of the painstaking way of filling in the information line by line.
- Platform mobility
- Pay tax prep with your refunds
- You can import your information from other tax softwares
- Experts will attend to you even with the free package
- They offer complimentary advice on how to boost your tax returns with customized tax plans
- You get charged for paying for tax prep with your tax return
How We Made This List For Tax Filing Software
Before arriving at our top four list of the best tax software, we created a list of some of the most recognized brands. Next, we measured the brands using rigorous guidelines, making it easier to streamline them. After conducting thorough research, we removed most of the brands, leaving those that provide more significant benefits for users. We checked areas like user satisfaction, value-added benefits, and software interface friendliness to compare the brands.
What We Looked Out For
We weighed the company’s reputation and the services they provide to get a list of credible tax software brands that will aid users efficiently. Furthermore, we removed brands with bad and confusing interfaces and those that do not offer free tax services for users with simple returns. The other areas we looked into are:
- Company’s Reputation: Most people consider filing taxes online a tedious task, and the chore becomes more disconcerting when the brand you’re using is not up to par. So, we looked into the brand’s reputation to ensure their services were satisfactory to users.
We checked their productiveness, the number of years they’ve been in the tax business, and services offered by the brands that set them apart from others in the industry. The brands we ended up with offer quality services, and users will get maximum satisfaction when filing their tax forms with zero complaints.
- Top-notch CPA Representative: The entire point of filing your taxes yourself is to cut costs. However, if you’re new to filing taxes online, you might find it somewhat daunting with confusing finance terminologies. You might feel uncertain, wondering if you’re filling in the correct information, which is where CPA representatives come in.
They offer tax services to people who do not know how to do it. Though it costs extra to use their service, it’s an option that provides clarity and ease of mind for uncertain users. So, we checked to ensure the companies on our list have good agents that will answer any questions users might have regarding online tax filing.
- User Experience: We read reviews to determine the experience users had with the tax softwares. We needed platforms that help users get deductions and credits they weren’t aware of before. To that end, we kept platforms users’ credit for aiding them to get their taxes done with no trickery.
- Cost: It’s costly to file taxes the traditional way, which is why people file their taxes themselves online. We checked the cost of filing taxes with the brands to ensure users don’t need to break the bank to use their services. The brands on our list offer varying prices depending on the features available on their websites.
Factors To Consider When Choosing The Best Tax Softwares
Good quality tax software will aid you in calculating your taxes without much hand-holding. The software will explain terminologies that are confusing clearly to enable you to file your taxes without any difficulty. To know such brands, keep an eye out for the following factors
- User-friendly Website Interface
The interface of a website must be easy to navigate and understand with no confusing backlinks. As earlier mentioned, most people are not sure if they are doing the right thing when calculating their taxes and the confusion sometimes borders on the website interface.
A straightforward website will get more satisfied visitors than a busy-looking website. So, check the website interface and see if the brand explains terminologies to aid users to work faster. Check the website interview process and whether the brand guides the filer step by step while filling the form.
Most tax softwares accommodate the previous year’s tax return documents upload, which they use in calculating your current tax. Also, they make it evident how to contact a CPA without you searching for it. So, endeavor to choose a tax software that does all of this. It helps make filing taxes easier and faster.
- Free Simple Returns
Brands offer their service free of charge for individuals with simple returns. However, they restrict the features simple return earners can use on the platform until they upgrade to a plan. It helps people on a budget to cut costs. So, if your earnings are below $100,000, go for websites that offer free simple returns.
The number of websites that offer simple returns is numerous. To decide on one, check how much the brand charges to consult with a CPA. Compare the prices between brands, then proceed to file. This way, if you get stuck while working on your tax, you can pay for the aid of an expert.
- Audit Defense
The best tax softwares offers maximum refund and 100% accuracy. That aside, they have tax experts that handle issues that may arise with the IRS due to inaccuracy with your filing. Furthermore, they pay penalties and interest that will emerge due to inaccuracy. So, before choosing a brand, check to see if they offer an audit defense service. It’s an extra layer of protection, guiding against the scary prospect of auditors.
- Easy Access To CPA
Brands provide tax pros that aid filers by clarifying their questions regarding taxes. Sometimes, it costs extra to consult with a CPA, and other times the service is part of a standard plan. Some brands pair you with a CPA after creating an account with them, like Taxhub. Regardless of which it is, CPAs come in quite handy.
So, before deciding on a brand, check the ease of accessing tax experts and the cost. Brands like TaxAct do not charge people to consult with experts. They charge when you want the CPA to file your taxes. Furthermore, do not settle for dubious websites with CPA agents that sound unintelligible. If you’re in doubt, choose from the brands above.
- User Experience
You know you’re on the right part when users unanimously agree your product is top-notch. However, experience has taught us that negative feedback for business is essential for business growth. Keep an open mind when checking the reviews to understand the experiences users have while using tax software. Stick to brands that users appreciate for their quality service and avoid brands that have bot reviews.
The cost for filing taxes on different platforms differs, and no one wishes to spend more money on filing taxes than they have to. So, before taking on the endeavor of filing your tax yourself, compare prices between these platforms before deciding. You might need the services of a CPA as you progress or not, depending on your knowledge of online tax filing.
That aside, there’s no telling how your finances will turn out in the future. You might be earning simple returns today and progress to self-employed tomorrow. Then you discover your platform of choice charges high to upgrade. To that effect, you seek another platform and start familiarizing yourself with its features which might take your time. So, ensure you compare prices before deciding on a platform.
FAQs Regarding Free Online Tax Filing
- When Should I Consider Hiring A Tax Expert?
Calculating tax sometimes feels like an unending project. If you’re new to calculating your tax yourself, you will need to be patient and research any confusing terminology. Further, doing your tax yourself is less complicated when earning simple returns. But if your earnings are complex and multiple, hire a tax expert to handle them.
Here’s why. When you earn from multiple sources, it’s somewhat tricky to keep track, and you might miss out on refunds due to miscalculations. Also, you might miss something during the calculation and end up getting audited by the IRS.
Hire a professional if you sold a property, worked in multiple states, or there’s a recent change in your finances like a job change or marital status. Besides getting the job done right and preventing audits, the tax pro will finish in time, avoiding penalties from missing tax deadlines. Also, it saves you time, allowing you to focus on other things.
- What’s The Best Way To Receive Tax Refunds?
You can receive your tax refunds in several ways. For starters, through a direct deposit to your bank account. Direct deposits are the fastest way to receive a refund after filing. In addition, you can have the refund made out in a paper cheque. Another option you can employ is loading the tax refund to your preferred prepaid debit card.
You can also apply the refund to your next year’s tax. If that’s not to your liking, instruct the IRS to purchase a US saving bond with the refund. The least attractive option is paying for your tax prep with the refund. The reason is that you will get charged for it, and the charges are not minor.
- What’s The Best Way To File Taxes?
Filing your tax return the traditional way costs a pretty penny, which you might not have on hand or be willing to spend. Traditional tax companies automatically assign you an expert to help with your tax, accounting for its costliness.
On the other hand, filing online helps cut costs since you’re handling the tax filing yourself. The best tax softwares has experts handy, ready to clarify issues that confuse the flier. And the catch is, it’s not as expensive as filing traditionally.
So, we recommend you go ahead to file the tax yourself to get the hang of it. Consult with a CPA for reviews when you’re done to stronghold your mind that you did a good job. Also, you will get reasonable deductions and credit that you might have missed this way.
- How Do I Avoid Tax Fraud?
Procrastinating the filing of your tax returns makes you vulnerable to tax fraud, and tax season opens the door to more nefarious activities. Scam calls are usual during this period, and if you’re not careful, you will fall victim. A scammer can file for tax refunds on your behalf using your social security number if you haven’t filed already.
The tax refund will then go to them, leaving you with nothing. To be on the safe side, never share confidential details over the phone with anyone claiming to be from the IRS. Note the IRS will not contact you via social media or email to discuss tax. Instead, they will send you a letter. So be on the alert.
Conclusion: Which Software Is Best For Income Tax Return?
The good thing about filing your tax yourself is you can do it from the comfort of your home at your own time. Regardless of how daunting it may seem, you can file your tax yourself and get good returns. How? The best tax software provides a guide on tax returns preparation and filing.
Tax softwares allows you to upload your tax document or email a picture of the tax to the company. This feature automatically saves your time, and you can schedule a phone call section with a CPA to discuss the documents you uploaded.
Do not forget to keep track of your income and expenditure. It’s one way to avoid losing out on deductions. Furthermore, hire a professional to help you achieve maximum returns and file your tax accurately.
That aside, an expert will also calculate your tax estimates for next year and offer you bookkeeping assistance. In addition, they will review the tax returns you prepared and alert you if something is remiss.
Tax softwares will aid you in determining if it’s a better option to itemize or take the standard deduction. Also, you can use tax softwares on your mobile phone. Be patient while filling out the form and research any confusing terminologies. It will aid you in constructing a better tax return.