Now bear in mind that this this is informational and that these are recommendations: you need to ultimately choose how you handle processing your tax returns by yourself, and in some cases it may behoove you to consult a professional. If you want to be your own professional, though, here are the five programs we think you should consider:
5 Complete Tax
Complete Tax will probably cost you less than $30 for all your filings, assuming you don’t operate a sole-proprietor or LLC business. And they have made it easy to transfer information over from other programs, so you don’t need to type in every single detail from your life over the past year again if you choose to switch to them from another preparation software. Their over the phone assistance service is not free, but it is very good, so if you need expert advice, you’ll get it and you won’t feel so badly about paying for it.
TaxAct swings back to the “largely free” category, with its basic return filing programs yours at no cost, though most individuals or families will end up paying at least $20 or so. Which is, of course, not very much money. TaxACT’s software is simple enough to use and will help you step-by-step as they should, but if you do get stuck somewhere and find yourself with a question you can’t figure out on your own, this is where you’ll find out why they are in the bottom half of the list: their online support leaves much to be desired and their over the phone support is billed. The rate is not high or anything, but paying to talk to someone who can talk you through using their own program is a bit frustrating.
3 OnePrice Taxes
OnePrice Taxes has earned its spot in the middle here thanks to its honesty. You guessed it! All its services? They can be yours for… one price! And at $14.95 for (almost) every type of preparation, from the individual’s simple 1040 or a 1040EZ return or an LLC., etc. there is something to be said for going with a company that lets you know ahead of time pretty much what you’re going to be paying in order to give Uncle Sam his due (oh, and your state, of course).
2 HR Block At Home
Whew, take a breather, we can knock a thousand dollars off the price of the Adobe suite above there. This software package will run you $299. Much more palatable. And for most casual graphic design enthusiasts, a fine bit of software indeed! From photo editing capabilities to layout design and editing tools, Xara is a lighter weight, Jack-of-All-Trades type of program, superlative at nothing, but able enough at most everything you are likely to need.
TurboTax wins top honors. They do this for three reasons. First, their software is excellent. Second, much of their offerings are totally free. And third, they have the legacy of years of doing just what they do best… best. TurboTax is a known commodity when it comes to tax preparation and they deserve to be essentially synonymous with DIY tax filing. Their programs for individuals will hold your hand every step of the way, from a simple Federal return to a state-specific filing to itemized deductions and on and on. Their customer support is also top of the line. You get the convenience of Do-It-Yourself on your own time in your own home with the added support of their expertise if you need it. Yeah, this reads like an ad, but it’s not: it’s just that they’re the tops.
Tax time is closer than you might think, unfortunately, so it behooves you to start considering a program to use now. If you have planned ahead and gotten all your paperwork in order, any of the fine programs listed above will get you through to that magical moment where you give a bunch of money away and turn it into roads and policemen and such. Depending on the ease of your return, the help you think you’ll need, and your specific circumstances (LLC, S-Corp, etc.), we are confident you’ll get the service you need from one of the tax services we’ve talked about today.