Here’s why not just any tax preparer will do and how to choose the right professional for you.

5 minute read

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Let’s face it: no one likes doing taxes. Collecting all your information and filling in the forms can be a headache.

Thanks to technology, though, tax preparation doesn’t have to be so burdensome. More people are preparing their own tax returns and filing electronically this year, according to eFile.com, tax preparation and filing software.

In 2020, 72.2 million personally prepared and filed their taxes electronically compared to 57.6 in 2019 – a 25% increase.

That increase is partly because of the growing number of tax software solutions that help people file their returns. Click or swipe through this slideshow to see our top tax software picks.

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1. Community Tax

Community Tax

Community Tax is an online tax assistance site that allows you to work directly with Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). They offer a fair price for this one-on-one tax preparation service, including many ways to make payments.

Community Tax can handle every type of tax filing, even those with complex issues that involve stocks, freelance income, rental income, unemployment, gambling income, and sale/transfer of assets. It can also help you with tax extensions, IRS audit defense, delinquent payroll taxes, wage garnishment and more.

In addition to tax preparation, Community Tax can also assist with tax resolution, bookkeeping, and other financial services.

2. Liberty Tax

Liberty Tax

Liberty Tax offers a competitively-priced online tax service and mobile-ready option to do your taxes. Each pricing tier charges extra for state filing.

There’s a basic version that supports W-2 and unemployed workers, taxable interest of less than $1,500, and the Earned Income Credit. The best plan for self-employed individuals is the Premium version, which can address farm, real estate, and rental income as well as capital gains and losses.

Liberty Tax’s strongest features are its ease of use, attractive interface, and comprehensive security measures.

3. TaxAct

TaxAct

TaxAct is a straightforward and user-friendly tax software solution with multiple pricing plans. With a cloud-based structure and simple user-friendly interface, it will help you get your taxes done quickly. TaxAct is so confident about the accuracy it delivers that it offers a $100,000 guarantee.

The free version is ideal for anyone filing simple tax returns like the EZ-1040. The Basic tier gives you more features, including options for dependents. The Deluxe tier adds features for homeowners, tax credits, adjustments, and itemized deductions. The Premier version is good for those who have investments and businesses, including rental properties.

You can import W-2s and tax returns from previous years. Other features include a mobile app, smartphone camera capture of your W2 form, and phone and chat support.

4. FreeTaxUSA

FreeTaxUSA

FreeTaxUSA is another low-cost option with free federal filing, including the full 1040 form and more complicated federal filings such as the Schedule K-1 or Earned Income Tax Credit. It also offers affordable state filing services.

In addition to the free version, other pricing plans are available, such as the Deluxe plan that includes priority support, audit assist, and amended tax return services. Unlike other tax software where the pricing between tiers can jump significantly, FreeTaxUSA only charges you $6.99 to add the Deluxe plan.

5. TaxSlayer

TaxSlayer is one of the cheapest tax preparation solutions available. The lowest plan option is known as the SimplyFree plan, which comes with access to federal and state tax returns to fill out along with the eFile form.

The Classic plan gives you all federal tax forms and a W-2 import, but you will need to pay around $5 to access state forms. The top plan gives you federal forms and specific help for the self-employed to fill out forms and file their taxes; it also requires an additional fee for the state return.

All of TaxSlayer’s plans include phone and email support with a 24-to-48 hour wait time for a response. At higher tier plans, you can access the live chat support feature.

6. FreeIRSReport.com

FreeIRSReport

If you are looking for a way to find out exactly what you may owe the IRS, then FreeIRSReport.com is for you. It’s a simple and confidential solution for a specific tax need

Simply fill out a digital version of the IRS 8821 tax information form and a quick survey.

In seven to ten business days, you’ll receive an IRS Tax Report that includes a free analysis of what the findings mean, including guidance on what to do going forward. This includes helping you address tax liens, pending audits, and more.

7. Intuit TurboTax

Intuit TurboTax

TurboTax is one of the original tax software solutions that continues to be popular thanks to its connection to Intuit Quickbooks as well as its ongoing feature improvements, including adding cloud-based tools for tax and document storage. For decades, Turbo Tax has been the go-to tax software.

This online tax software gives you free federal tax filing, although it charges extra for state filings. One of its best features is “ItsDeductible,” which helps you get all the deductions possible. It will even calculate the fair market value for donated items.

8. H&R Block

HR Block

The H&R Block online tax filing service provides many pricing options to match your needs and budget. Although there is no free tier, the entry-level plan provides plenty of coverage for most tax needs with a user-friendly interface.

The Basic plan includes federal eFile, but access to state forms and the eFile service will cost you extra. The Deluxe plan includes both federal and state forms, but you will still need to pay about $20 more for the state eFile.

If you are struggling to self-file, you can visit one of the thousands of brick-and-mortar H&R Block locations and get assistance for a small fee. However, you can also take advantage of free online chat support.

9. Jackson Hewitt Online

Jackson Hewitt Online

Jackson Hewitt Online is a good choice if you just need basic tax filing services. However,  they do provide a range of tax services for more complex tax situations. State filing is available for an additional fee at each plan level.

Starting with the free plan, you can get tax assistance for the 1040-EZ filings. However, if you need to claim dependents, you’ll need the Deluxe plan that also covers related factors such as dependent care expenses, student loans, retirement income, and more.

Jackson Hewitt Online’s top plan is the Premier tier made for more complex tax returns. Get this plan if you are self-employed, make more than $100,000, have rental property, address tax credits, or need to itemize your deductions.

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About the Author

John Boitnott

John Boitnott

I am a tech writer and journalist for more than 20 years who contributes to several respected online publications including BusinessInsider, Inc., and Entrepreneur. In addition to journalism, writing about social good companies and in-depth research, I’m also active in my community and enjoy metaphysical book reading groups, as well as hiking on the amazing trails of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Published by Debt.com, LLC