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Best Tax Software and Services

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Preparing your own taxes doesn’t have to be complicated with the right do-it-yourself tax software. With so many different tax situations — from side-hustle income to multiple write-offs — there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But all of these tax software choices can help you save time and money.

We’ve detailed five of the highest-rated tax software services on our site — both ones that are completely DIY and others that come equipped with tax expert assistance so you can set your tax anxieties aside.

To make our picks for the best tax software, we considered 11 popular options to narrow it down to the top five. Our picks for the best tax software are based on factors including customer reviews, cost, number of plans available and how much in-person or tax expert help is offered. 

Our picks may be Authorized Partners who compensate us. This does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear.

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Compare our top 5 choices for tax software

Intuit - TurboTaxIntuit - TurboTaxTaxActTaxActTaxSlayerTaxSlayerH&R BlockH&R BlockJackson HewittJackson Hewitt
# of reviews3,3898392062,8451,441
Our pick for Tax expert help Single-owned business taxes Best guarantees Refund choices In-person services
Cost $0 to $359 for federal; $0 to $54 for state $0 to $64.95 for federal; $39.95 to $44.95 for state; up to $199.95 for business and home bundle $0 to $49.95 for federal; $0 to $39.95 for state $0 to $110 for federal; $0 to $37 for state; tax professional filing fees start at $85 for federal $25 for federal and $0 for state for DIY; prices start at $65 for in-person
Number of plans 12 13 4 11 3
In-person services Virtual Virtual None Physical and virtual Physical and virtual
Read reviews Read reviews Read reviews Read reviews Read reviews
All information accurate as of time of publication.

Our top 5 choices for tax software

Before comparing any tax software, create a list of your unique tax preparation requirements, including the type of return you need to file, the complexity of your tax situation, and your budget. With this list in mind, you will be able to narrow down which program is right for your specific tax needs.

Best tax expert help
$0 to $359 for federal; $0 to $54 for state
Number of plans
In-person services

Intuit TurboTax offers 12 different options for tax preparation, from completely DIY to virtual assistance to full service.

For a limited time, filing a simple tax return is free with live assistance or with the full-service option. Those with itemized deductions like real estate tax or charitable contributions will not qualify for the free service, but DIY pricing starts at $59 for federal and $54 for state, though the company offers promotional pricing sometimes to make these prices $15 to $20 less.

The live full-service option connects you with a tax expert to do your taxes for you. You can choose your tax expert, upload your tax documents using a guided checklist and meet virtually with the expert through a one-way video. Your tax expert will not sign off on your taxes until you are ready. This option gives you the benefits of using a tax expert and online filing, but it is costlier than the other options.

The deluxe full-service option costs $259 to file federal and an additional $59 to file state; even with promotions, the service will still cost you over $200.

When filing online directly from the TurboTax website, you do not need to pay for the service upfront. Instead, you can pay from your federal tax refund without paying additional fees.

All services come with a maximum refund guarantee and 100% accurate calculations guarantee; if the company makes an error, it will pay any IRS penalties.

Features we liked for Intuit TurboTax include the following:

  • Virtual tax expert option
  • Past tax information saved

Before choosing Intuit TurboTax, consider the following

  • More expensive than competitors
  • May not be able to connect with your tax expert year round

Many customers have trusted Intuit TurboTax for years and love how convenient it is to have previous years of taxes stored and easily accessible through your account.

One Nevada reviewer said: “Our experience with the software has been great. The live support we received was just the normal live chat that is available online — we did not pay extra for support. It is possible that closer to April 15, they are harder to reach, but most of the year they are there very quickly.”

The most recent complaints are from customers who have used and loved TurboTax for several years, with one reviewer even using it for 35 years. However, these regular customers have since experienced issues with refund problems or have complained that the programs cost too much.

Best single-owned business taxes
$0 to $64.95 for federal; $39.95 to $44.95 for state; up to $199.95 for business and home bundle
Number of plans
In-person services

TaxAct offers four different tax filing levels for individuals, including the free basic, the Deluxe version for filers with loans and/or children, the Premier version for those with investments, and a self-employed version. For a limited time, each level will come with free and unlimited tax expert help, which TaxAct calls Xpert Assist.

E-filing also comes with TaxAct’s “$100k Accuracy Guarantee,” which says that if TaxAct makes an error, it will pay you the difference in the refund or liability up to $100,000.

TaxAct is also a good choice for filers who own their own business but don’t fit under the self-employed classification. With TaxAct, single-owner businesses can file as sole proprietors, partnerships, S corporations, C corporations and tax-exempt organizations. There is also an option to bundle business filing with home. The free Xpert Assist is only available for sole proprietor filing, but all businesses have access to unlimited free tech and account support.

Many competitors will waive the state filing fee if you qualify for a simple file, but TaxAct charges $39.95 to file state for the basic file.

It is important to note that TaxAct is not fully available in all states. In some states, it does not offer select forms, such as a 1041 state form in Vermont. In other states, like Washington, Wyoming and South Dakota, no services are available at all.

We love TaxAct for the following reasons:

  • Free Xpert Assist for a limited time
  • Business and home bundles
  • $100k Accuracy Guarantee

Make sure you consider these factors when choosing TaxAct:

  • State filing fee with free service
  • Not all forms available in all states

Customers choose TaxAct because it is easy to use and has great customer service. One North Carolina customer has been using TaxAct for around five years and says they always get the return TaxAct says they will. “Takes you step by step whatever tax forms you use. They ask you question after question to make sure you are getting every tax break possible.”

However, many loyal customers complain that TaxAct changed its platform in 2022, which made filing harder and caused some users to skip important questions or get stuck while entering information.

Best guarantees
$0 to $49.95 for federal; $0 to $39.95 for state
Number of plans
In-person services

Headquartered in Georgia, TaxSlayer offers cloud-based tax preparation software. It has four online versions, with free options for basic 1040 filing. Active-duty military can file federal and state for free with no restrictions.

The paid versions of the tax software range from $19.95 to $49.95 to file your federal return, plus $39.95 for each state return. You can choose to have these fees deducted from your federal refund and not pay anything upfront to start.

TaxSlayer offers a 100% accuracy guarantee and a maximum refund guarantee, though qualifying for the guarantee requires submitting the right documents and meeting the refund deadlines.

While the software is accessible through the website and mobile app, there isn't a downloadable desktop version. One-on-one tax expert support is only available for the top two tiers of software: premium and self-employed.

Here are the top pros of TaxSlayer to consider:

  • Free for active-duty military
  • 100% accuracy guarantee

Before choosing TaxSlayer, consider the following:

  • Limited one-on-one tax expert help

Customers say they chose TaxSlayer because they wanted a tax software service that was affordable and timesaving. Some wanted to try something new after past frustrations with other popular programs.

One New York reviewer said that after running into some calculation errors, they called them in the “heart of tax season,” saying: “I was able to speak with a rep in under an hour. They pointed me to a worksheet I didn't know about. Including it allowed me to increase my refund slightly. In sum, TaxSlayer is not fancy, but it is straightforward, has good customer support, is truly free and may save you a bit of time and money.”

The same reviewer pointed out some common complaints that others have with TaxSlayer, saying that the system was “kludgey.” Other reviewers expressed similar sentiments, saying that the site was slow and cumbersome and not an enjoyable user experience.

Best for refund choices
$0 to $110 for federal; $0 to $37 for state; tax professional filing fees start at $85 for federal
Number of plans
In-person services
Physical and virtual

H&R Block offers a variety of tax options, from DIY software to in-person or virtual appointments with a tax expert. You can choose between having full control of your taxes, having a bit of help or being completely hands-off and letting a tax pro do the work.

Prices start at $0 for federal and state and can go up to $110 for federal and $37 for state when you file yourself (promotions are available). Filing with a pro starts at $85 for federal, with additional fees for state. You won’t see the actual price for your choice until you meet with a professional.

H&R Block offers a “No Surprise Guarantee,” which promises that clients will pay only the amount that H&R Block quotes them before they start their tax preparation. If the client's tax situation changes during the preparation process, H&R Block will adjust the quote, but the client will never pay more than the original quote.

Most tax companies allow you to file online and choose direct deposit for your return. H&R Block has additional options for those who need their money quickly. The Refund Advance allows you to get up to $3,500 with 0% interest minutes after you file. This is not your refund, but instead a loan from Pathward (a financial institution), and fees can apply.

Another option is the Emerald Prepaid Mastercard, which gives you convenient access to your funds in advance. The card can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Some fees can apply, but this is a helpful solution for individuals who do not have bank accounts.

We recommend H&R Block for the following reasons:

  • In-person services
  • No Surprise Guarantee

Keep these factors in mind when considering H&R Block:

  • Professional filing prices not posted
  • Fees for optional refund choices

People choose H&R Block because they think the program is easy to use and they get the greatest refund back.

One Tennessee reviewer has used H&R Block for over five years and chooses to pay the additional fee to have past years’ tax return data available. The reviewer said: “I always get confirmations when my tax filing is accepted by the IRS, and I do not get an excess amount of email solicitations from them. Very professional and respectful company.”

However, some reviewers had issues with the online filing to the point that customer service could not figure out the problem either. These reviewers had to print and mail their returns, which was an added hassle.

Best in-person services
$25 for federal and $0 for state for DIY; prices start at $65 for in-person
Number of plans
In-person services
Physical and virtual

Jackson Hewitt charges a flat fee of $25 no matter how complex your tax situation is for the do-it-yourself tax software. Note that this $25 fee covers tax prep fees only; additional add-on services such as eCollect or Protection Plus will cost extra.

There are over 5,500 Jackson Hewitt in-person locations, including many in Walmart stores. Most locations are open evenings and on the weekends in the heart of tax season. You can choose your location based on factors such as availability or Spanish-speaking assistance. In-person tax prep costs start at $65.

Jackson Hewitt also offers a drop-off service for individuals who want to leave their documents for a professional tax preparer to go through. In-person tax costs apply, but there are no additional fees for drop-off services. The pro will then schedule a 15-minute call to go over your return and answer any questions.

Features we like for Jackson Hewitt include:

  • Flat $25 fee for DIY
  • Drop-and-go option

The following should be considered before moving forward with Jackson Hewitt:

  • Unclear pricing for in-person services

Many customers choose Jackson Hewitt because of how convenient the locations are. One New Jersey customer said they have used Jackson Hewitt in their local Walmart store for three years: “Their representative is fantastic — extremely knowledgeable and professional. Friendly and courteous. I am extremely satisfied with his services.”

However, other reviewers felt they were overcharged for in-person services and that the individuals who prepared their taxes were prone to mistakes.

Compare Top Tax Software and Services

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What to consider when choosing tax software

Whether you are a seasoned tax pro or are feeling nervous about preparing your taxes for the first time, knowing the following information about a tax software company will help you feel more at ease. Here’s what to look for when choosing a tax software.

The most important feature of any tax software program is accuracy. An inaccurate tax return could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Both errors in favor of the taxpayer and in favor of the IRS can be costly.
  • Error check: Most tax software programs run an error check prior to filing the tax return.
  • Accuracy guarantee: Companies typically offer an accuracy guarantee, which ensures the software’s calculations are accurate. The guarantee doesn’t cover human mistakes, though, so it is important that you verify all of the data entered into the system.
  • Professional review: Some programs allow you to pay an additional fee to have your return reviewed by a tax professional.
Ease of use
Tax time is stressful enough without adding clunky software or mobile apps to the mix. The last thing anyone wants is the challenge of a difficult-to-use program.
  • Online program: Web-based software programs eliminate the need for local software installation, which reduces compatibility problems.
  • Mobile app: A good tax app will allow you to do your taxes on the go and upload important information quickly.
  • Guided process: Look for tax software programs that use an interview approach to gather your tax data; this ensures you don’t miss an important credit or deduction.
  • Table of contents: In addition to the interview approach, many of the more popular programs allow you to pick and choose specific forms. This is a great feature for more experienced users.
Data security
E-filing means you are uploading sensitive documents and information about yourself to the web. You need to work with companies that use the highest level of data security. Hackers, unscrupulous employees, fires and floods are just a few of the ways your data could be compromised or lost. Here’s what to look for when evaluating a company’s data security:
  • Encryption: All sensitive data should be encrypted both in transit (when it is being transmitted over the internet) and at rest (when it is stored on servers or other storage devices). This helps prevent unauthorized access to the data if it is intercepted or stolen.
  • Access controls: The software should implement strict access controls to ensure that only authorized users can access sensitive data. This includes using strong passwords and two-factor authentication.
  • Regular security updates: The software should be regularly updated to address known security vulnerabilities and to ensure it remains secure against new threats.
  • Disaster recovery plan: Companies should also have an adequate disaster recovery plan in place because a fire or natural disaster could destroy your data. In this situation, if you failed to make a personal backup, you won’t have access to important financial records.
Help and support
In past years, it has always been DIY tax filers versus going to an expert. Today, most tax software companies offer the best of both worlds. Depending on how much support you want, you can look for one or more of these options:
  • Live chat support: Companies can provide longer support hours by utilizing a live chat support service.
  • Phone support: Even web-based programs need to have a phone support option because there are some problems that can’t be solved efficiently using text-based interactions.
  • One-on-one expert support: When basic customer support is not enough, many companies have experienced tax professionals available to answer questions, e-file your taxes or check over your documents before submitting. This extra level of support does come with additional charges, though.
Tax refund options
Gone are the days of waiting months for a check from the IRS to arrive in your mailbox. While taxpayers can still opt to receive a paper check, the IRS and most tax software programs offer direct deposit and other refund options, like converting to U.S. savings bonds, prepaid debit cards and more.
  • Direct deposit: All of the major tax software providers offer customers a direct deposit option.
  • Paper checks: The IRS and software companies still offer paper checks to taxpayers expecting a refund.
  • Prepaid debit cards: A prepaid debit card loaded with your refund is an option for taxpayers without a bank account.
Filing options
Look for tax software programs that allow you to choose how you want to file. Having the ability to print out your documents can make them easy to access in your personal records, and programs that store your information make next year’s return much faster.
  • Online: All of the popular tax software programs allow online tax filing, in addition to tax preparation services.
  • Print and mail: Some programs allow taxpayers to print and mail a copy of their returns.
  • Online and print: The best option is to file your return electronically and then print a copy for personal records.

Types of tax software

There are different types of tax software, but many companies offer a combination of two or more of the following.

Online tax software

An online tax software program is entirely internet-based. Most online programs store historical tax return data and allow you to download a copy for your personal records.

Downloadable tax software

Unlike online programs, downloadable tax software can be purchased and downloaded online from the company or bought through a local store and downloaded either through a code or software installation. Tax returns can often be prepared without an internet connection, although connectivity will be required for product updates and electronic filing.

Tax software apps

Smartphones and tablets have opened up a new segment of tax software: mobile applications. Some tax programs allow a return to be prepared and filed entirely through a mobile app, while other companies use apps to supplement an online program.

Professional tax software

Even tax professionals use software to complete tax returns. There are a variety of products marketed specifically to tax professionals, but the vast majority of individual filers will never need to research or use these products.


How can I file my taxes for free?

Many programs will offer a free federal and state return for individuals who meet the basic filing eligibility. This level of filing is best for individuals who do not claim dependents or have a mortgage, since those two factors come with many deductions and credits.

Will my tax software program help me if I owe the IRS?

Some programs, like H&R Block, will help you set up a payment plan with the IRS so that your tax bill is not overwhelming. Whatever program you choose, ask customer service what actions you should take if you do owe. If the company does not offer a special payment plan, you can sign up for payments directly with the IRS.

Are online tax services safe?

Online tax services can be safe if you choose a reputable provider with secure, encrypted connections, updated security measures and a clear privacy policy. Before using any online tax service, research the provider's reputation, double-check the accuracy of the information you enter and carefully review your tax return before submitting.

Do tax software companies offer tax extensions?

Many tax software companies offer tax extension options for individuals who are unable to file their tax returns by the deadline. A tax extension allows more time to file the return, but the estimated taxes owed must still be paid by the original due date. The process of applying for a tax extension is typically straightforward and can be done through the tax software's website or app, though it might cost an additional fee.


To make our top picks, our research team considered four individual features from 11 tax software companies, as well as over 3,000 reviews from ConsumerAffairs readers. Our five choices were selected based on price, number of plans available, type of customer support (in-person or virtual) and any additional features such as accuracy guarantees or free filing for military.

Our choices offers a wide range of plans at varying price points, as well as have free filing options and customer support. Since customer feedback is an important indicator when evaluating companies, this was given higher consideration when selecting our top picks.

Not sure how to choose?

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