The Best Tax Software of 2023
Believe it or not, the best tax software of 2022 isn’t the same for everyone. Ideally you’ll get the same tax return regardless of who you file with, but how you get there, the look, feel, level of support, and price will all be different.
Considering all these things and a few more we’ve picked the best tax software for common categories.
The Best Tax Software By Category
The Top Tax Picks of 2023: TurboTax & FreeTaxUSA
With so many filing options it can be hard to pick the best tax software. Almost like a dating app, your options seem endless, but unlike a dating app you have to pick one and you have to file your taxes, or else, you know, jail, fines, sadness, and general anxiety. When it came to picking the best tax software we picked TurboTax for it’s incredible support and smooth filing process, and FreeTaxUSA for it’s ability to file any return at an affordable price.
Truthfully, TurboTax and FreeTaxUSA get you to the same place – a completed tax return. The TurboTax experience offers glam and guidance. The process is intuitive and partner integrations (i.e. Robinhood) make filing a breeze. At times you might not even feel like you’re filing taxes, except, you are. The FreeTaxUSA experience is more bareboned and simple, yet surprisingly capable. You’ll have to enter forms manually and there won’t be as many pretty graphics, but filing a complex tax return won’t cost anymore than a simple one. So, pick your poison.
A Premium Tax Solution
When it comes to picking the best option for filing taxes online, you pick TurboTax. Simple, complex, or somewhere in between, TurboTax gets the job done almost effortlessly.
They offer quality on-demand support, and countless partner integrations and features that simplify even the most tedious and complex parts of filing. If you’re nervous about filing or know you’re accident prone, do yourself a favor, file with TurboTax.
Worried about price? Yes, TurboTax will cost more, but you’re paying for greatness. You’re paying for peace of mind, and when it comes to taxes that might as well be priceless. Even without TurboTax Live (on-demand live support) TurboTax is a fantastic choice. You’ll still get most of the bells, whistles, and support with the standard TurboTax. Plus, you’ll always have the option to upgrade to live support if want extra help as you go.
A Budget Heavy-Weight Hitter
FreeTaxUSA is our other top choice of 2023. If you’ve never heard of FreeTaxUSA let us introduce them. Yes, they’re real. Yes, they’re legit. If you’re looking for credible tax software that won’t break the bank, start here.
FreeTaxUSA can file simple or complex tax returns, and for only $14.99 per state return it’s hard to ignore. Their federal return is completely free! (No, it’s not a trap). Their email support is surprisingly responsive (typically less than 30 minutes during business hours) and for $7.99 you can get “Deluxe” for live chat.
Some fancy features and partner integrations are missing from FreeTaxUSA, but those features aren’t essentials. If you’re willing to do some extra work like entering your W-2 manually (come on, believe in yourself) you could save some cash.
The Best Budget Friendly Tax Software: FreeTaxUSA
We could be wrong, but having more money is typically a good thing, right? When it comes time to file taxes, FreeTaxUSA can help you have or keep more money. Like other tax programs they’ll help you get the biggest tax refund, but you’ll only pay $14.99 per state return. The Federal Return at FreeTaxUSA is 100% free (yes, really) and includes all major tax forms. You can even file self-employed, investments, real estate, and more for free, which typically require an upgrade elsewhere. (Other tax companies can cost over $100 between a federal and state tax return!)
Even if you’re not getting a tax return, FreeTaxUSA can significantly lower the cost of filing. Popular companies like TurboTax and H&R Block offer free editions, but only for the most simple tax returns. If a supported form you need to file isn’t covered you’ll have to pay more. With FreeTaxUSA, every supported form is included, meaning you won’t have to pay any upgrade fees.
Sometimes Less Is More
Not sold? If you want to try out FreeTaxUSA, you can start for free and pay when you file. You can even email their customer support without having to pay. We don’t want to overstress it, but taxes don’t always have to be scary, and you’re probably more capable than you think. If you’re sick of paying a lot to file taxes, or this is your first time filing, FreeTaxUSA might be what you’re looking for.
If you really want to read more, check out our full length review of FreeTaxUSA, or visit their website by clicking the link below.
The Best Tax Support: TurboTax & TaxSlayer
Sometimes having a little bit of help can make a world of difference. This is especially true when it comes to filing taxes. Wouldn’t you rather ask a tax pro what to do with a random IRS tax form than Aunt Bertha? Bless her heart… TurboTax offers the best in class support with TurboTax Live, which connects you with a tax pro on your screen. (They can’t see you though). If you’ve been working from home in your pajamas, you can get tax help in your pajamas now too.
TaxSlayer, who wins bonus points for the coolest tax company name, prices their product based on the level of support you want, rather than what forms you need to file. This approach allows you to get the right level of support at reasonable prices. And, like TurboTax, you can get one-on-one help from a tax pro.
Like A Friend, That's Smart
General support from a TurboTax Specialist is included with all products except the free edition, which requires an upgrade. These specialists can provide general help and support, along with SmartLook on-screen help on supported devices.
If you want to kick it into turbo, TurboTax Live lets you get answers and advice from Tax Experts, like CPAs, as much as you need. You’ll also have the option to review your tax return with a CPA before you file. This year, TurboTax is also offering a Full Service upgrade where a dedicated expert will prepare, sign, and file your tax return for you.
If these support options sound like more than you need, filing taxes on your own without the extra support on TurboTax is a breeze. The level of guidance, explanations, and tools built into the tax prep process make filing taxes like working with an old friend.
Helps You Slay Your Taxes
TaxSlayer offers quality support at budget prices compared to popular competition. Even the Simply Free Edition includes unlimited phone and email support. If your tax return isn’t so simple, you’ll need to pick between TaxSlayer’s filing options: Classic, Premium, and Self-Employed. Remember, all supported tax forms and situations are included in each filing option. What you’re paying for is improved support.
If you have a few questions and want to skip the line, Tax Slayer Premium gives you priority support. Premium also includes one-on-one help from tax pros and IRS Audit Assistance for up to 3 years.
New to freelancing or started a business? TaxSlayer Self-Employed includes the benefits of Classic and Premium, but also gives you access to tax pros with self-employed expertise. This tax pro support is a bargain, especially if you’re filing a 1099 or Schedule C for the first time.
The Best Tax Software for In-Person Help: H&R Block & Jackson Hewitt
This is a safe space, we’ll go ahead and say it. Not everyone enjoys filing their taxes online. Some people probably hate it. The good new is alternatives to online tax help and filing exist, even if a global pandemic has changed day to day living.
Both H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt offer convenient tax filing solutions. If you prefer an out of sight, out of mind approach you can drop your tax documents off at an office, where they’ll be prepared for you. You can also upload your tax documents online if you want to avoid a visit to the office. If you want to be more involved in the tax filing process you can make an appointment to work 1-on-1 with a tax pro at your local office.
Between H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt you can find an almost computer free solution that’ll leave you feeling comfortable and confident.
Dedicated Tax Professionals
If you distrust all things computers then H&R Block is for you. Before filing taxes online they built a solid reputations filing taxes at store locations throughout the United States. Since starting in 1955, they’ve expanded their tax services to include online filing, but still offer tax services at their local branches.
If you choose to file with an H&R Block tax pro you can take comfort in knowing they have an average of 10 years of experience. I don’t know about you, but that is a long time to file taxes. Whether online or in person, H&R Block brings year of industry experience to the table to get the job done.
Convenient Tax Filing
Jackson Hewitt can help you do it. Maybe that should be their tag line?
Like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt has physical stores where you can file taxes with a tax pro, or drop your tax forms off to be filed for you. Their stores are also conveniently located, with multiple popup locations in Walmart during tax season.
In addition to one-on-one help from a tax pro, Jackson Hewitt also offers a refund advance tax loan to qualifying customers. Depending on the time of year and your tax situation you can qualify for up to $4,000.
The Easiest Tax Software to Use: TurboTax
Whether you’re filing taxes for the first time, have a complicated tax return, or dislike numbers in general, TurboTax makes tax filing easier, if not easy. How? Glad you asked. TurboTax takes most complexities out of the IRS tax code and asks questions in simple, easy to understand English. You could compare the filing process TurboTax uses to a conversation with a knowledgeable tax friend. Natural. Easy. Not intimidating. They’ll ask a question, you answer. Don’t know the answer? TurboTax provides on-screen help, prompts, pointers, and explanations throughout the software.
Even complex tax returns can be filed quickly and easily with TurboTax. Robust tools and features simplify the more tedious parts of online filing. For example, you can upload certain tax documents, like your W-2, by taking a picture with your smartphone. Partner integrations with banks and investment platforms save time and prevent mistakes by importing the information for you. If you’re self-employed and use QuickBooks, filing with TurboTax is the smartest thing you’ll do since quitting your job.
For Peace of Mind
If you really want to kick tax filing into high gear try out TurboTax Live. You’ll have access to on-demand tax support from tax pros. Not everyone will want this level of support, and the price can be off-putting, but if your tax situation has changed, or you’re stuck, the extra help may be worth the upgrade.
Regardless, with out without TurboTax Live, TurboTax wins our recommendation for the easiest tax software to use of 2023. Their software is intuitive and makes DIY tax filing accessible to most everyone.
The Best Tax Software for Nervous Filers: TurboTax & H&R Block
For a lot of people tax filing is scary. Have you tried reading tax code? Who comes up with that stuff? What happens if you answer a question wrong when filing? Or even worse, what happens if you get an IRS audit notice? If these questions make you nervous or tax filing has you worried this year, we recommend you file with TurboTax or H&R Block.
Both have a long history of successfully filing taxes, they offer live support from tax pros, and they have a 100% accuracy guarantee. The software itself has built in checks that’ll let you know if something doesn’t seem right. If you’re especially worried about your tax situation this year, both TurboTax and H&R Block offer additional support that will handle an IRS audit or notice for you.
Personal On-Demand Help
Everything about TurboTax is designed to make tax filing less stressful and is ideal for those looking to file on their own. IRS tax language has been translated into simple English, questions include explanations or examples to help you answer correctly, and in addition to standard support options TurboTax offers TurboTax Live, for on-demand support from tax pros.
You can also purchase TurboTax Audit Defense and let TaxAudit (TurboTax’s partner) deal with the IRS and state tax authorities for you. This tax season TurboTax can help replace your nerves with peace of mind.
Experienced Tax Pros
H&R Block talks the talk and walks the walk, after all they’ve been around the block…since 1955. Their expertise lies with their army of tax pros who have on average 10 years of experience. You can use the H&R Block software to file on your own, but if you upgrade to Online Assist you’ll have on-demand access to these tax experts, enrolled agents, and CPAs.
Alternatively, you can file with one-on-one guidance from a tax pro at an H&R Block office, or drop your taxes off to be filed for you. H&R Block also offers Tax Audit Protection and Representation through Peace of Mind, and is valid through the life of the tax return.
The Best Tax Software for Confident Filers: FreeTaxUSA
What do we mean by confident filer? Someone who is comfortable filing taxes on their own, but might have a few questions along the way. For anyone willing to try it, FreeTaxUSA is a steal. Their federal return is completely free and supports complex tax situations related to business income, rental income, investment income, and more. You can check out their complete list of supported forms here. State returns are only $14.99.
Similar to TurboTax, you’ll be asked questions, provide answers, enter information, and let the software do the heavy lifting. They’ll check for errors and have a 100% accuracy guarantee on filed returns. However, FreeTaxUSA requires a bit more effort when entering tax forms and working through longer sections. Premium features such as taking a picture to import your W-2 (do you really need it anyway?) aren’t available on FreeTaxUSA. Even without these features FreeTaxUSA is a great software at an exceptional price.
You can try them today risk free, since you’ll only need to pay when it’s time to file.
Free Federal Tax Returns
Support at FreeTaxUSA is primarily handled through secure account messaging and email. During business hours the typical response time is less than 30 minutes, and is completely free. If you want priority support, live chat, and unlimited amended returns you can upgrade to Deluxe for $7.99.
If you’re looking for a new tax software or are filing for the first time we recommend you try FreeTaxUSA.