7 Best Tax Preparation Software for the 2024 Tax Season

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    Feeling anxious about tax season? You’re definitely not alone. But don’t worry, because there are excellent tax preparation software options that can make this overwhelming time a breeze. This blog post will simplify the process and introduce you to the top-rated tax software choices available.

    Whether you’re a first-time filer or looking for ways to maximize your deductions, we’ve got you covered. Join us as we explore user-friendly solutions that simplify the filing process and ensure you receive every cent you deserve. Get ready to transform tax season from a burdensome task into a triumphant experience with the help of the perfect tax preparation software sidekick.

    >> Consider TurboTax >>

    7 Best Tax Preparation Software

    TurboTax – Best Tax Software Preparation Overall 

    Intuit TurboTax logo

    For numerous years, TurboTax has consistently ranked as one of the top tax preparation software options due to its ability to simplify and make the tax process more accessible than any other competitor. 

    By providing clear explanations on both basic and intricate tax matters conversationally, TurboTax ensures users can easily understand and navigate through IRS Form 1040 with multiple layers of help available. TurboTax offers an exceptional user experience, setting it apart from other tax software.

    TurboTax caters to a wide range of taxpayers by offering different versions tailored to their needs. Whether you belong to Gen Z or millennials who prefer doing everything on their smartphones or have complex financial profiles requiring the expertise of an online tax specialist, TurboTax has got you covered. 

    Moreover, self-employed individuals can benefit from a dedicated version that’s suitable for both long-time sole proprietors and newly-emerging gig workers who may struggle with understanding Schedule C.

    • Exceptional user experience
    • Comprehensive and conversational interview Q&A
    • Delves into tax topics with remarkable depth
    • Outstanding help resources and virtual support alternatives
    • Excellent mobile applications
    • Costly
    • Certain assistance replies are sourced from community members rather than Intuit


    • TurboTax Premium: $129, state additional
    • TurboTax Premium Live: $219, state additional
    • TurboTax Premium Live Full Service: $409, state additional

    >> File Your Taxes Online With TurboTax >>

    TaxSlayer – Best Affordable Software

    TaxSlayer was originally created over 50 years ago as a tool specifically designed for accountants and professional tax preparers. Since the 1990s, it has expanded into online DIY tax preparation. 

    TaxSlayer offers convenient walk-throughs on a variety of common Form 1040-related topics and an extensive searchable database of help files that have been enhanced for the current tax year. Users can find helpful guidance throughout the platform.

    One notable aspect of TaxSlayer is its competitive pricing at the Classic level, which is lower than most competitors (excluding Cash App Taxes and FreeTaxUSA). The platform caters to individuals and small businesses with more complex financial profiles who may require Schedule C filings. 

    TaxSlayer aims to assist these users in identifying all eligible deductions and credits to maximize their potential refunds.

    • Economical
    • Quick
    • Sleek interface with user-friendly navigation
    • Compatible with all major IRS forms and schedules
    • Solid data import choices
    • Limited context-specific assistance on Q&A pages
    • Improvement is required in the quality of help content


    Right now, TaxSlayer is offering its Self-Employed plan for an incredibly low cost of $47, with the state filing an extra $32.

    Even more amazing is that this price includes access to a tax pro with self-employed expertise, as well as audit assistance and priority-level email and phone support.

    By far, the biggest benefit of using TaxSlayer is its low cost. While it doesn’t offer the bells and whistles found in some of its competitors, it offers everything needed to complete a tax return for your small business at a fraction of the cost. TaxSlayer also works on all iOS and Android devices.

    >> File Your Taxes Online With TaxSlayer >>

    H&R Block – Best for Variety of Support Options

    H&R Block, a well-known name in face-to-face tax preparation, maintains its reputation with its impressive DIY tax prep software. The wide range of products and services offered by H&R Block includes user-friendly interfaces, comprehensive coverage of various tax topics, and helpful guidance tailored to your specific needs. What sets the company apart is its ability to explain complex tax issues easily and understandably.

    With H&R Block’s family of tax preparation websites, there’s something for everyone. They offer a free version for simple returns and also have top-tier sites specifically designed for handling the complexities of Schedule C (for self-employment). 

    Their exceptional help resources are always provided in context, making them valuable not only for those new to filing taxes but also for experienced filers who want to determine whether they owe money or will receive a refund.

    • Continuous context-sensitive assistance
    • Comprehensive, clear explanations of tax topics
    • Superb user experience
    • Tax professionals provide free answers to tax inquiries
    • Exceptional mobile applications
    • Some sections necessitate excessive clicking for navigation
    • The Federal Accuracy Review could consistently focus more on error-fixing


    • Free Online: $0. Includes support for W-2 income, unemployment income, interest and dividend income, retirement distributions, student loan interest deduction, tuition and fees deduction, child tax credit, and earned income tax credit (EITC). Itemizing deductions isn’t allowed, typical of free versions from any tax preparation software provider. Unlike others, H&R Block’s free version includes student deductions.
    • Deluxe Online: $55. Offers everything in the free version, as well as the mortgage interest deduction and health savings accounts, with the option to itemize deductions.
    • Premium Online: $85. Provides support for everything in the Deluxe version, along with rental property income and freelance/contractor income below $5,000. It also allows the importation of mileage and other expenses from common tracking apps.
    • Self-Employed Online: $115. H&R Block’s highest-tier online package, suitable for self-employed individuals, including small business owners, partners, and contractors earning more than $5,000.

    >> File Your Taxes Online With H&R Block >>

    TaxAct – Best for Accuracy Guarantee

    TaxAct, a do-it-yourself personal tax preparation solution with a long-standing presence, stands out for its simplicity. The user interface and navigation system of TaxAct guide users through the intricacies of the IRS tax code effortlessly. 

    Notably, its final review feature is one of the most impressive among similar solutions in the market. It goes above and beyond by delving deep into your financial situation and asking pertinent questions that ensure all deductions and credits you’re entitled to are accounted for.

    While TaxAct can handle complex tax returns, it’s beneficial for taxpayers with simpler financial scenarios. It caters excellently to W-2 employees who wish to itemize their deductions to maximize their chances of receiving a refund. These individuals may not necessarily require the specialized help TurboTax or H&R Block provides. TaxAct provides an extensive walkthrough for Schedule C submissions.

    • Great user experience
    • Outstanding mobile accessibility
    • Easily accessible context-sensitive assistance
    • Cost-effective professional tax assistance
    • Fantastic final review
    • Certain help links direct to IRS documents
    • Search results may lack precision at times
    • Costly state-specific filing fees


    >> File Your Taxes Online With TaxAct >>

    Jackson Hewitt – Best User Interface

    Jackson Hewitt offers an online tax preparation service, although its primary reputation lies in providing in-person tax help at over 5,500 locations. Approximately 3,000 of these locations can be found within Walmart stores. The company’s online service boasts extensive coverage on various tax topics and is backed by its financial expertise. 

    Remarkably affordable at just $25, this fee covers both federal and state returns. Should you encounter any difficulties while filing your return independently, Jackson Hewitt professionals are readily available to step in and assist.

    For individuals who have previously used the product and were satisfied with it or those who prefer to trust a well-known brand, we highly recommend Jackson Hewitt for your tax needs. 

    This option is also suitable for anyone seeking a straightforward tax preparation experience with the added security of backup support if required, aiming to maximize your potential refund. However, it should be noted that their online help tools may need improvement to support individuals who require significant guidance throughout the process adequately.

    • Affordable cost
    • The price covers unlimited state returns
    • Options for online filing, local branch submission, or filing at participating Walmart locations
    • Unable to import forms
    • The online platform lacks the user-friendliness found in competitors’ offerings
    • Limited online tax filing assistance
    • Inability to file online with a tax professional, unlike other services


    Jackson Hewitt offers a comprehensive package that caters to all tax scenarios at a lower cost compared to TurboTax and H&R Block’s least expensive packages, even before factoring in any discounts.

    However, Jackson Hewitt doesn’t provide a fee-based option, even for the simplest tax situations. According to the IRS, approximately 70% of Americans are eligible for free online tax preparation services. Therefore, if you don’t need to pay, you shouldn’t.

    For only $25, Jackson Hewitt’s flat-rate bundle includes one federal return and unlimited state returns. This package is suitable for homeowners, parents, freelancers, investors, basically anyone in any situation. In contrast, H&R Block and TurboTax typically charge more as your circumstances become more complex and impose an additional fee per state return filed.

    >> File Your Taxes Online With Jackson Hewitt >>

    FreeTaxUSA – Best Free Tax Software

    FreeTaxUSA stands out as a top-notch platform for preparing federal taxes, with the only cost being $14.99 for state returns. The website boasts a sleek and professional user interface, complemented by an intuitive navigation system. 

    Its remarkable help system and accompanying tools set it apart, which go above and beyond what one would expect from a free product. Notably, FreeTaxUSA now offers the option to connect with a tax professional for an additional fee of $39.99, further enhancing its appeal.

    For individuals who are self-employed and often find themselves burdened by high costs associated with competitors’ tax prep websites (which can eat into their potential refund), FreeTaxUSA serves as an excellent alternative, especially if they have relatively simple income and expense reporting requirements but still need to file Schedule C. 

    It also proves advantageous to those seeking more comprehensive help while adhering to budget constraints, thanks to its user-friendly interface, extensive coverage of tax-related topics, and various guidance options available.

    • Federal e-filing is free, with affordable state filing
    • Supports all primary forms and schedules
    • Numerous assistance avenues available
    • Mobile website is excellent
    • Cost-effective professional tax assistance provided
    • Unable to import the majority of 1099s
    • Help pages make Q&A pages less visible


    FreeTaxUSA’s plans completely undermine the need for tires since they offer free federal returns. All the plans use the same software. Once you begin the tax preparation process, there’s no further mention of different tiers.

    FreeTaxUSA only charges for their paid products, which include:

    >> File Your Taxes Online With FreeTaxUSA >>

    Cash App Taxes – Best for Freelancers


    Cash App Taxes, formerly called Credit Karma Tax, is a free service that we extensively tested for federal and state tax preparation and filing. It covers all the major and most minor tax forms and schedules. 

    The website is speedy and boasts an excellent interface, navigation system, and top-notch mobile apps. It provides almost everything you need to tackle even the most complex returns. However, it lacks a robust on-site help system and access to professional assistance.

    Cash App Taxes are worth considering if your goal is to file your taxes spending no money. It works best for individuals with only W-2 income and a few deductions and credits. While it has additional capabilities, such as self-employment reporting, it offers a different level of step-by-step data entry or guidance in areas like investment sales compared to other tax applications. 

    Therefore, if you have many forms and schedules to deal with in your return process, there may be better choices than Cash App Taxes. As previously mentioned, Cash App Taxes supports most IRS forms and various tax situations. There are just a few exceptions where it falls short. For instance, this platform doesn’t support filing in multiple states or having foreign-earned income.

    • No cost
    • Fast page loading
    • Compatible with major IRS forms and schedules
    • Straightforward UI and navigation
    • Outstanding mobile applications
    • Support isn’t comprehensive
    • Unable to import interest or investment data
    • Some forms and situations aren’t covered
    • Expert tax assistance is unavailable
    • A Cash App account is necessary for use


    Cash App Taxes doesn’t charge any fees and doesn’t have any paid levels or additional services available for purchase.

    But is there a catch? There doesn’t seem to be one other than that Cash App Taxes support Square’s aim of encouraging new and existing customers to use more of its offerings. Cash App Taxes is a great choice if you’re looking for a truly free tax filing option.

    >> File Your Taxes Online With Cash App Taxes >>

    How We Rate Tax Software

    Our team conducts comprehensive evaluations of tax software by thoroughly comparing products based on specific criteria. 

    We use the software to prepare personal tax returns, assess the terms and offers provided by different tax products, communicate with software representatives to resolve any product inquiries or concerns, compare feature sets, and analyze how effectively the software handles common tax situations.

    During our assessments, we consider various aspects such as the features and functionality of the tax preparation software, user experience, interface design and performance on websites, quality of help and support services offered by the software provider, and value for money. 

    >> Consider TurboTax >>

    Best Tax Preparation Software – Buyer’s Guide

    What Is Tax Software, and How Does It Work?

    Using online tax software can assist you in submitting your tax returns by providing step-by-step guidance, often for a fee, and ensuring that all necessary tax forms are completed correctly based on your filing status and circumstances.

    Most tax software options offer two types of systems: interview-based filing and form-based filing. With interview-based filing, you’ll be prompted to answer questions concerning your financial situation, which will then be inputted into the appropriate tax forms. 

    This option is particularly beneficial if you’re new to filing taxes or desire help throughout. Prominent examples of tax software utilizing an interview-style interface include TurboTax, TaxSlayer, and H&R Block.

    Form-based filing can be more complex if you lack familiarity with various tax forms. However, some programs allow users to switch between the interview format and filling out forms directly in case they wish to review their calculations.

    Who Should Use Tax Software?

    Tax software can be incredibly beneficial for simplifying the filing process and minimizing errors, according to Andrew Griffith, an associate professor of accounting at Iona University who is also a certified public accountant. He explains that by using tax software, individuals have the advantage of reducing data entry mistakes in the tax authorities’ systems.

    Griffith also mentions that although Americans can file their taxes via mail, this method carries unnecessary risks, such as potential delays in processing or delivering their tax returns.

    When choosing online tax software, it’s important to consider both the advantages and drawbacks of each option. While these tools can help individuals file their taxes faster and receive refunds more quickly, different software options provide varying benefits.

    For those with relatively simple tax returns, for example, those who only need to submit a W-2 form and claim basic credits without itemizing deductions, using tax software can be easy and helpful. It’s useful for those familiar with navigating through the filing process independently and knowing which deductions or credits they plan on claiming.

    Who Shouldn’t Use Tax Software?

    Using tax software alone may prove challenging if you’re dealing with complex tax situations such as self-employment income, itemized deductions, or multiple real estate properties and investments. 

    Even the most user-friendly software can be difficult to navigate. In such cases, seeking assistance from a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or visiting a tax preparer in person would be wise. This approach not only helps ensure accuracy but may also save you money.

    Most CPAs and tax professionals are available until the last minute, but it’s advisable to schedule an appointment as early as possible to guarantee the timely filing of your taxes.

    According to Griffith, having a CPA involved is recommended whenever your tax returns go beyond W-2 and 1099-INT forms. If you have assets or income from multiple states or countries during those years, involving a CPA for preparing your income tax returns becomes highly beneficial.

    Before purchasing tax software, it’s important to check if you’re eligible for free filing options. If your tax return is straightforward, you might be able to use online software without any cost. FreeTaxUSA and TaxSlayer are examples of tax software that offer free filing options for simple returns. 

    If your adjusted gross income is less than $79,000 in 2023, you may qualify for free tax filing through the IRS Free File program. Seniors, individuals with limited English proficiency, and those with disabilities may also be eligible for free filing services provided by the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program or Tax Counseling for the Elderly.

    When Tax Preparation Software Is Worth It?

    Tax preparation software typically functions as an interactive questionnaire, gathering details about your income and expenses before organizing all the information into a digital tax return that can be electronically submitted to the IRS.

    This software simplifies filing taxes and can save you money, especially when compared to hiring a CPA or tax professional. However, experts advise that it’s most suitable for individuals with relatively uncomplicated tax situations.

    According to Rob Burnette, CEO and professional tax preparer at Outlook Financial Center: “If your return is straightforward with just wages from Form W-2 and you’re taking the standard deduction, using tax prep software is often a wise choice.”

    What’s the Best Tax Software for Cryptocurrency Transactions?

    To determine whether or not you’re required to report any activity involving Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, there’s a simple way to go about it. If you have engaged in actions such as using, selling, exchanging, receiving as payment, or mining cryptocurrency during the previous tax year, all of these activities must be reported irrespective of whether you receive a Form 1099.

    TurboTax offers the most comprehensive support for reporting cryptocurrency transactions and seeking help. However, all the websites we tested do allow for reporting such transactions. In fact, TurboTax goes above and beyond by providing a guide specifically tailored towards understanding how cryptocurrencies impact your taxes.

    Can I Do My Taxes From My Phone?

    Nowadays, many of us have become accustomed to the idea of completing our tax returns on our personal computers. However, this isn’t the only option available to us. In fact, all the tax services that we evaluated this year also provide the capability to file taxes using a mobile phone.

    In the past, it was generally only possible to file a simple 1040EZ form using a mobile device. However, times have changed, and now these services offer much more comprehensive options that don’t require access to a full-sized computer.

    So how do these tax services adapt their offerings for smaller devices? Well, they have developed dedicated apps for both Android and iPhone users. TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxSlayer, and Cash App Taxes are among them. Some of these services have created mobile versions of their websites as well. Examples include FreeTaxUSA, Jackson Hewitt, and TaxAct.

    How Can I Keep My Tax Data Secure?

    It’s natural to feel apprehensive whenever you transmit confidential data across an external network. This concern doubles when you file taxes from public places such as coffee shops or airports. It’s advisable not to engage in such activities altogether.

    Thankfully, safeguarding your online traffic can be easily achieved by utilizing a VPN service. The top-notch VPN providers establish a secure channel that encrypts your information, rendering it incomprehensible to any unauthorized party intercepting it.

    How to Choose Tax Software

    To gain clarity on your requirements and the associated costs, it would be beneficial to evaluate various online tax filing providers and the specific services they offer. Here are a few key aspects to investigate:

    • User Experience: Tax software that adopts an interview-style approach, probing about income and relevant life events for potential deductions, tends to provide more guidance than a basic fill-in-the-blank method. Importing forms like W-2s is preferable to manual data entry.
    • Support Options: Most tax software platforms offer searchable FAQ sections or knowledge bases, with some including video tutorials or user forums for help. While audits are rare for most taxpayers, those seeking protection should understand the support their chosen software provides.
    • Tax Pros for Assisted Help: A significant advancement in recent years has been the availability of one-on-one assistance from human tax professionals, accessible live on-screen. Depending on the provider, these professionals can offer tax advice or review entire tax returns before filing, often at an additional cost.
    • Availability of Tax Forms: After identifying a provider that excels in the areas above, selecting a package that encompasses all necessary tax forms and schedules is essential. While individuals with straightforward tax situations may only require a basic 1040 package, those with multiple income sources, itemized deductions, business, investment, or rental income typically need access to additional schedules and forms, necessitating a higher-tiered package.

    >> Visit TurboTax >>

    Best Tax Preparation Software – FAQs

    Best Tax Preparation Software – The Bottom Line

    Save yourself a significant amount of time and annoyance by utilizing online services for tax preparation and filing, rather than going through the hassle of doing it on paper. In fact, these services may even uncover deductions that you hadn’t previously considered, resulting in a larger refund.

    The quality of tax apps and websites continues to improve with each passing year. If you’ve had difficulties navigating web-based tax solutions in the past, now is the perfect opportunity to give them another chance and see how they’ve evolved.

    >> File Your Taxes Online With TurboTax >>