You might have been using TurboTax for a while, but are ready to explore other tax preparation software alternatives. Perhaps you’re looking for a more affordable solution, or maybe you feel that it’s time to consider a different tax product.
If you’re a self-filer, you know that filing your taxes online is simple and can help you get your tax refund faster. But people’s tax situations evolve; for example, you may have new tax considerations due to the pandemic. So switching software platforms can make sense and could even help you save.
There are several digital tax preparation alternatives to consider. Our list of the best TurboTax alternatives includes some the most popular names you need to know.
TurboTax vs. other tax software options – free and paid
The table below gives you a brief overview of options and pricing for the popular tax software options we cover in this article.
|Software||Free Version||Paid Version|
The free version of TurboTax works well for filing simple federal and state tax returns. A form 1040 and state return are standard as is free eFiling. With this version, you won’t be able to include additional schedules or itemize deductions.
For those who need more heft with their taxes, TurboTax has the following paid online versions of their product: Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed.
Their prices range from $60 to $120 depending on the tier you choose, and include your completed federal tax return. Your state taxes have a separate cost of $50 per state.
- The Deluxe tier offers searches of 350+ tax deductions and credits, aims to maximize mortgage and property tax deductions and turns donations into deductions.
- Their Premier version covers the features available in Deluxe plus investments and rental property.
- The Self-Employed product includes all the features in Premier plus personal & business income and expenses.
All of the above plans are do-it-yourself. If you need help, you can upgrade your plan to have a licensed tax practitioner (an Enrolled Agent) or a CPA review your taxes. You’ll be able to connect live on your screen when you need advice or guidance as you do your taxes.
TurboTax also offers an audit support guarantee for federal and state returns. This guarantee gives you free guidance from a tax pro to help you understand your IRS notice and answer your audit-related questions. It covers returns prepared starting in 2017.
Here’s the online portal for TurboTax.
H&R Block vs. TurboTax
Both TurboTax and H&R Block offer free federal and state filing of your taxes online. However, H&R Block free offers several additional advantages vs. TurboTax free:
- Child and dependent care expenses
- Student loan interest deduction
- Tuition and fees statement
- Unemployment income (Form 1099-G)
- Technical support via chat
If you have a simple tax situation and earn income from one job, have no children, get one W-2 and no other deductions or credits to claim, then the free versions of both programs will do. However, if you have kids and education costs, H&R Block free will be a better option.
For those with a more complicated tax situation, the paid versions of H&R Block offer a better value than those of TurboTax.
H&R Block’s tiers compare in price with TurboTax as follows:
- Deluxe Online is $49.99 vs. $60 for TurboTax Deluxe
- Premium Online is $59.99 vs. $90 for TurboTax Premier
- Self-Employed Online is $104.99 vs. $120 for TurboTax Self-Employed
You can start using both products for free and pay when your taxes are filed. The paid versions of both tax preparation products have an additional fee of $50 per state filed.
With both products, you can add support from a tax professional at an extra cost.
TaxAct vs. TurboTax
When it comes to digital tax preparation solutions, TaxAct is one of the more affordable options in our list.
While TaxAct offers email and phone support, their wait times with the latter can be longer than expected. But if you’re looking to save and get your taxes done, you’ll like their prices.
TaxAct’s online packages are priced as follows:
- Free: $0. For simple filers with dependents, college expenses and retirement income. One state return is included.
- Deluxe: $29.95. This option is for homeowners with deductions and credits. Each state is an additional $39.95
- Premier: $39.95. For those with capital gains or losses from investments, rental property income and foreign bank accounts. Each additional state is $39.95
- Self-employed: $74.95. For freelancers, independent contractors and business owners. Additional state returns are $49.95 per state filed.
If you need a higher level of customer service and help from tax specialists, TaxAct may fall short of your customer care expectations. TurboTax or H&R Block would be a better fit given their higher levels of customer support.
TaxSlayer vs. TurboTax
A combination of attractive pricing and highly-rated customer support make TaxSlayer one of our favorite digital tax filing solutions. All TaxSlayer package options come with unlimited phone and email support to answer your questions. In addition, the company boasts an ‘excellent’ rating on TrustPilot from satisfied customers:
“I’ve used TaxSlayer for the past several years when filing my taxes. I like the easy, step by step instructions. TaxSlayer walks me through everything I need to do to reduce my tax bill and increase my tax refund.”
TaxSlayer’s tiers are priced as follows:
- Simply free. $0. For those with a simple tax situation (Basic 1040). It includes one free state return.
- Classic. $17. Caters to all tax situations, including all the forms you require. Add $39 per state.
- Premium. $37. This package includes all deductions, credits, and forms you need plus extra help from a tax expert. Each state is an additional $39.
- Self-Employed. $47. A solution for contractors, 1099’ers, side hustlers, and the self-employed. Each state is $39.
How does TurboTax compare to TaxSlayer? The free versions of both products are comparable and when it comes to customer support, both products shine. TurboTax offers free videos, a community of users and tax experts plus free tax calculators and tools.
While TaxSlayer doesn’t have a community of users, it holds its own when it comes to its free tools and a searchable knowledge base. Overall, their customer service and pricing make TaxSlayer a top choice for online tax software.
Other tax software options worth considering
FreeTaxUSA supports all major tax situations for free, whether you have dependents, have itemized deductions or are self-employed. Filing simple or more advanced federal returns is free with FreeTaxUSA.
So how do they make money? They charge you for each state return plus additional options. State returns are $14.99 each. And their Deluxe option gives you unlimited amended returns, priority live chat support and their Audit Assist service for an additional $6.99.
An affordable service like this necessarily has to cut corners somewhere. There’s no auto import of all the required forms and the software isn’t as intuitive as TurboTax. Overall FreeTaxUSA could be a fit if you have a simple tax situation and don’t need much hand-holding.
Credit Karma Tax
In addition to a free federal and state tax return, Credit Karma Tax (soon to be part of Square Inc.) covers all itemized deductions, profit or loss from your business (also known as business income or expenses), self-employment tax, and capital gains and losses.
Credit Karma Tax is 100% free and supports the most common forms and schedules. To use their tax service, you’ll need to open a free Credit Karma account. How do they make money? With this account, you’ll get free access to their other services and receive product recommendations for which they receive a commission.
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