The best tax software you can use to file your taxes online - TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct
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- Gone are the days when you had to go to a tax preparer to ensure that you filed your taxes correctly.
- Now, you can do your taxes at home with tax software online.
- Of all the tax preparing services we've tried, TurboTax Deluxe is the best with its easy-to-use software and helpful explanations.
The old saying goes: Nothing is certain except for death and taxes. These days, you can add one more to the list. It's certain that you're going to be bombarded with advertisements for tax preparation software and services from New Year's Day through April 15, 2019 when the deadline to file 2018 taxes hits.Tax prep software is a big business, and you may hesitate to pay for help with something you could do yourself for free with pencil and paper. But for a process that most people approach with all of the excitement of a root canal, having the ability to calculate your taxes easily without worrying about math errors is well worth the fee you'll pay to use the software. You can even file for free with TurboTax, H&R Block, and other software if your taxes are simple.
How to file taxes online
You can get tax preparation software as a CD-ROM that you stick into your computer (if your computer still has a disk drive, that is) or as a downloadable app for your Mac or PC. Alternatively, you can simply file your taxes online or in a mobile app. That may sound scary, but reputable tax software companies like TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct take your security very seriously, so you can count on these services to protect your information.
You can file your taxes electronically after using tax prep software, which is a far easier process than making printouts and mailing your forms to the IRS. You may have to pay a fee to electronically file, depending on the software you're using.
The software will make all of the calculations for you, ensuring that your poor second-grade math skills aren't exposed for all the world to see … and for the IRS to penalize.
Most tax prep software makes use of an interview style process, where the software asks you questions about your income and expenses. The software then figures out which forms are pertinent to your situation and fills them out, based on the data you enter.
Tax software often can pull data from your past returns, while also downloading your current W-2 forms. This saves time and reduces data entry errors.TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct all offer several different versions of tax software to suit different people's needs. As a general rule, the more complex your tax situation is, the more you'll have to pay for tax preparation software. However, most people will likely be okay with basic software.
Once you start filling out your tax forms, you may hit a snag and have to upgrade to a higher priced tier of software. The upgrade is easy to do, so you won't have to start over entering your data, but you'll have to pay more to finish your tax return.
In our guide, we've chosen the best tax software for three different types of people: your average person, homeowners, investors and rental owners, independent contractors, and small business owners. No matter your needs, you'll find an option for you in our guide.
Here is the best tax software you can use to file online:
- Best tax software overall: TurboTax Deluxe Tax Software
- Best tax software for homeowners: H&R Block Deluxe Tax Software
- Best tax software for investors: TurboTax Premier Tax Software
- Best tax software for independent contractors: TaxAct Online Freelancer Edition
- Best tax software for small business owners: H&R Block Tax Software Premium & Business
Updated on 01/17/2019 by Malarie Gokey: Updated prices and formatting. Added the deadline for filing 2018 taxes.
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