Best tax software for 2023
Explore tax software programs featuring auditing support, integrations, and reasonable prices.
If you’ve missed the April 18 deadline or have extended your deadline to October 16 and are ready to start the filing process, here are top five software to consider. The best tax software will helps you file your taxes online with little hassle or frustration. They offer a competitive price, ease of use, multiple filing options and support.
The 5 best tax software programs
The best tax software depends on your specific tax situation. Here are the top tax software programs if you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or have a simple or complicated return
Best overall: Intuit TurboTax
Best for freelancers: Keeper
Best for complex taxes: TaxSlayer
|Federal starting price||$34.95|
|State returns starting price||$39.95|
|Free options available?||No|
Best free tax software: Cash App
|Federal starting price||$0|
|State returns starting price||$0|
|Free options available?||Yes|
Best for small businesses owners: H&R Block
|Federal starting price||$35|
|State returns starting price||$37|
|Free options available?||Yes|
Finder’s banking experts researched 13 tax software to find the top options for free filings, complext taxes, freelancers and small business owners. When choosing the best accounts we consider the following factors:
- Money-back, maximum refund and 100% accuracy guarantees
- Federal and state price
- Unique features
- Ability to include dependents
- Audit support
We know that having access to all the deductions and tax credits you qualify for is important, especially since they can lower the taxable income in your highest income tax bracket. But we didn’t make it a deal-breaker when comparing tax software since every person’s tax situation is different. Instead, we narrow down the field with different types of income in mind.
How to choose a tax software
Here are some major factors to consider when narrowing down the best tax software for your situation:
- Cost. Some tax software programs are sneaky and will let you start out on the free version, then bump you up to a paid tier as you go. Read the details for each tier so you know how much you’ll pay for your situation.
- Ease of use. Choose a tax program that’s easy to understand, so you can make sure you’re filling out everything correctly. If an interface looks clunky or confusing, it may only add to your frustration.
- Customer support. Some tax software programs come with live support by chat or phone while others are limited to email support only.
- Compatibility. Consider how you want to access the platform: mobile, desktop, or web browser. Some tax software are only available using one method.
- Integration. Some business tax software don’t integrate with any accounting and business programs, while others like H&R Block or TurboTax do.
Compare online tax software
Narrow down your search for online tax software by comparing price, guarantees and live chat. Select Compare on up to four software to view their features side by side.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
What is a tax software?
A tax software program helps you prepare and file your tax returns. They offer a streamlined process using a series of questions to find the deductions and credits you may qualify for and then it calculates your tax refund or tax bill based on your answers. While many tax software are self-guided, many companies offer on-demand tax expert support to help answer your questions.
What’s the difference between a desktop and online tax software?
Desktop and online tax software cost about the same price and come with the same customer service access. This table highlights how they’re different.
|Features||Desktop tax software||Online tax software|
|Can use on multiple devices|
|Works on all computers|
|Can use without internet access|
|Has more features|
|Better for complex returns|
How much do they cost?
Prices vary depending on the tax filing company you choose, whether you want access to a tax expert and your specific tax situation. The more complex your taxes are, the more expensive your software likely costs. This table highlights the average price based on the type of filing you need to do.
|Type of tax return||Average price|
|Individual simple tax return|
|Individual complex tax return|
|Small business tax return|
What documents do I need to get started?
You don’t need any information to sign up for a tax software other than your name, email address and phone number. But you should have these documents on hand when you start the filing process.
- 1099s for earned interest, self-employed income, dividends, retirement distributions and more
- Receipts for child care, educational expenses, medical bills, charitable donations, property taxes and mortgage interest, state and local taxes and any other expenses you’re claiming as a deduction
- Proof of retirement contributions
Are online tax software services safe?
Yes. Registered tax providers and the IRS take security precautions to ensure that your financial information is handled safely. If you still prefer to do things face to face, consider a service like H&R Block, which offers branches for paperwork drop-off. You can also print and mail in your own Form 1040.
What are the benefits of an online tax software?
Using an online tax software has these benefits:
- Fast. Filing your taxes online can typically be done in one day and takes less time than going to someone’s office and waiting on them to do it for you.
- Cost-effective. Using an online tax software is generally cheaper than hiring a tax preparer, and those with simple returns can file for free in most cases.
- Accurate. Most tax software programs have an accuracy guarantee and will give you a refund if their software calculates your return incorrectly.
- Highest refund guaranteed. Most tax software programs also have a refund guarantee where they’ll pay you the difference if another platform calculates a higher refund.
What should I look out for?
Here’s what to look out for when filing your taxes with an online tax software.
- May not be best for complex returns. If you have a complicated tax situation with multiple income streams, deductions and credits, it may be easier to hire a tax preparer to do the work for you.
- Varying customer service. Some platforms like TurboTax offer live support if you need help quickly, while others only help via email.
- Upselling. Platforms like TurboTax are notorious for upselling you during the filing process, resulting in you paying more to file your taxes than you thought you would.
- May lack a human touch. Unless you choose a platform that offers help from a tax professional, you may have trouble getting your questions answered if they’re too complex.
2 tax software alternatives
You have two main alternatives if you don’t want to use a tax software:
- Tax professional. Hiring a CPA may be a good option if you’re a high net worth individual or business owner with a complicated and confusing tax situation. Otherwise, a business tax software can help you create an accurate return
- DIY. Doing your taxes yourself is the most laborious option — and it also has the most room for error. Unless you’re a tax preparer, you may not have the expertise to go this route.
Choosing the right tax software from the start will save you a lot of time and headache come tax season. As always, explore your tax filing options and learn which steps you should take to file your taxes this year.
Frequently asked questions
Can I apply for the ERC using a tax software program?
Yes, your business can apply for the ERC tax credit using a tax software program.
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