Best Tax Software [2024]

Updated March 11, 2024
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There are plenty of online tax filing programs that can help you take care of your taxes. Tax planning can be a yearlong process, but it’s an essential part of managing your money. And if you have to file quarterly taxes or want to employ the best tax strategy to save on your IRS bills, then the process can be even more complicated. 

Each of these programs has its own strengths and weaknesses, and some of them are better for certain taxpayers than others. Some programs work best for people with simple tax returns whereas others can help self-employed people or those who own multiple properties. Check out our guide to the eight best tax software companies to find the right one for you.

In this article

Best tax filing software companies

Company Best for... Why it’s special
TurboTax Beginners An incredibly easy-to-use interface
TaxAct Quick, hassle-free filing File your return quickly without jumping through a lot of hoops
H&R Block In-person tax support Get help at locations nationwide
TaxSlayer Multiple pricing options More flexibility in how much you'll pay to file
CashApp Taxes Free tax preparation Formerly known as Credit Karma Tax. Returns are free, even with more complicated tax situations
Jackson Hewitt Complicated tax situations In-person and online support makes dealing with complicated situations simpler — including if you need help resolving tax debt
LibertyTax Best for online tax support Online tax support 360-degree customer service offers multiple options for online help
FreeTaxUSA Best for simple returns Simple returns with few bells and whistles, but those with simple returns can file for free

TurboTax: Best for beginners

TurboTax is part of the Intuit family of products, which also includes QuickBooks, Credit Karma, Mailchimp, and Mint. Intuit was founded back in 1983, and in 2022 its total revenue had grown to $12.7 billion. Intuit has provided software services to over 100 million customers around the world. And TurboTax offers a maximum refund guarantee.1 

TurboTax Free Edition Benefits

  • File for free with TurboTax Free Edition, ~37% of taxpayers qualify, form 1040 + limited credits only2
  • 100% accurate calculations, guaranteed for the biggest refund possible
  • Personalized answers with AI-powered Intuit Assist
  • Start in minutes by adding your tax docs — it’s as easy as snapping a photo

This tax software is an ideal choice for beginners because TurboTax's interface is the simplest, and it provides the most user-friendly experience and functionality of any tax prep software we've seen. TurboTax also has a mobile app that helps make it easy to track potential deductions throughout the year. 

When it's time to file your taxes, you can just snap a picture of your W-2, and the app will auto-fill much of your information for you. TurboTax will then help you identify tax savings by asking you a series of simple questions in plain language.

You can also use TurboTax Live if you want live tax assistance while you do your taxes. This live-assisted service could be useful if you generally know what you're doing, but could use some help with more complicated situations.

TurboTax offers several different tax software packages at different prices, including the following:

TurboTax Free Edition

The free edition allows you to file federal and state tax forms for free if you have only a simple tax return. Roughly 37% of taxpayers qualify. This version covers Form 1040 and limited credits only. You can also claim only a few deductions, such as the earned income tax credit and child tax credits, with the free edition. You won't be able to claim most other deductions and credits. 

TurboTax Deluxe

TurboTax describes its Deluxe Edition as its most popular. You can get the Deluxe edition for $59 for federal returns plus an additional $59 per state return, and includes the following:

  • W-2 and 1099-MISC income without business expenses
  • Mortgage and property tax deductions
  • Deductions for charitable donations
  • Deductions for student loan interest and other educational expenses
  • Contributions to a health savings account
  • Contributions to a retirement savings account

TurboTax Premium

TurboTax Premium costs $119 for federal returns and an additional $59 per state return. It includes all the Deluxe version does, as well as:

  • Auto-imports of investment information
  • Stocks, bonds, robo-investing, cryptocurrencies, and rental property income
  • A scan of your return to ensure all your documents are complete
  • Help for contractors (on-demand workers), freelancers, and small business owners
  • Industry-specific deductions
  • The ability to import information from your 1099-NEC or 1099-K form via picture
  • Import from QuickBooks Self-Employed
  • Business expense deductions
  • Mileage and vehicle tracking

Visit TurboTax

...or read our TurboTax review

TurboTax Premium Benefits

  • Great for stocks, crypto, bonds, ESPPs, and more
  • Searches over 500 deductions & credits
  • Uncover self-employed industry-specific deductions
  • Snap & auto-fill your 1099-NEC and 1099-K

TaxSlayer: Best for multiple pricing options

TaxSlayer filed more than 10 million federal and state returns in 2022 alone. It provides a maximum refund guarantee and a 100% accuracy guarantee that entitles you to a refund of federal and state penalties or interest charges if the program's calculations are incorrect. The company has been in business for 58 years, and it makes tax filing easy as you can do your taxes using any device.

TaxSlayer Benefits

  • Get the biggest refund possible
  • Pay as little as $0
  • Find every tax deduction and credit you qualify for
  • Free, unlimited phone and email support

Those who want a good selection of different pricing options will be happy to see that TaxSlayer offers four different pricing structures, each of which has a starting cost below several other programs on this list. These include the following different programs:

Simply Free

Simply Free costs nothing to file a simple return only for federal or state taxes. It includes:

  • W-2 income
  • Student loan interest
  • Education expenses
  • Free support via phone or email


Classic charges $34.95 for a federal return and an additional $39.95 per state return. It includes:

  • All tax credits including the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit
  • All deductions and adjustments to income
  • All types of income
  • W-2 import


The Premium program comes at a cost of $54.95 for a federal return plus $39.95 per each state return. It includes everything in the Classic version as well as:

  • Up to three years of IRS Audit Assistance
  • Priority support through Ask a Tax Pro or live chat.


The self-employed program has a $64.95 cost for a federal return and charges an additional $39.95 per state. It includes all that the other programs offer as well as:

  • Assistance from a tax professional with expertise in self-employment
  • Help with 1099 income
  • Assistance maximizing deductions if you have business income and expenses
  • Reminders about quarterly tax payments
  • Personalized guidance for self-employment taxes
  • Year-round tips and advice as needed

Visit TaxSlayer

...or read our TaxSlayer review

TaxAct: Best for quick, hassle-free filing

TaxAct has helped users file more than 90 million federal tax returns since its founding in 1998. It provides a $100,000 guarantee that its software will be accurate and a guarantee it will help you to secure the maximum refund. Its program assists you in claiming more than 350 credits and deductions, all with the goal of getting your maximum refund ASAP.

TaxAct Benefits

  • Over 65 million federal returns filed since 2000
  • Guaranteed to be 100% accurate
  • Scans a database of over 350 credits and deductions

TaxAct doesn't offer all the bells and whistles of TurboTax, but it gets the job done and its user interface is actually a little quicker and more straightforward. It also offers some basic tax planning tools, including details about your tax bracket as well as a tax calculator, allowing you to easily estimate what you owe or what your potential refund might be.

TaxAct provides three different pricing tiers, including the following.


TaxAct's free version (for simple tax returns only) costs $0 for federal returns but $39.99 per state filing, so it isn't really free for everyone. However, it provides more features than some of the other free versions. It includes:

  • W-2 income
  • Dependents
  • The earned income tax credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Retirement income
  • Importing prior year returns
  • Unlimited account support


Deluxe costs $49.99 for a federal return, plus an additional $59.99 for each state return. It includes everything in the free version as well as:

  • Itemized deductions
  • Child and dependent care credits
  • Mortgage interest deductions and property taxes
  • Interest on student loans
  • Health savings accounts
  • Tax credits for adoption
  • Phone support from a tax specialist


The Premier version has a price tag of $69.99 for federal returns and $59.99 for each state return filed. It includes all the features in the other two versions as well as:

  • Investment gains and losses from stocks and other assets
  • Investment income and expenses
  • Income and deductions for rental properties
  • Foreign financial accounts, including foreign bank accounts
  • Income from Schedule K-1 as well as income from royalties
  • Prioritized customer support, including screen sharing

TaxAct also offers a Self-Employed package for $99.99 (plus $59.99 per state filing) that is ideal for freelancers, contractors, and small business owners.

Visit TaxAct

... or read our TaxAct review

H&R Block: Best for in-person tax support

H&R Block was founded well before online tax software became an option. It has been providing tax service since 1955 and has franchise locations in all 50 states across the country. H&R Block prepared 20.5 million tax returns in tax year 2021. 

Because of its many retail locations, H&R Block is an ideal choice for those who want in-person help from a tax expert. You can make an appointment to complete your returns with a tax pro for as little as $85, drop off your tax documents for a professional to complete, or get remote help from a live person while completing your returns.

H&R Block offers multiple pricing structures, including the following:

Free Online

H&R Block's free online program costs $0 for simple federal and state tax returns only, and it includes:

  • W-2 income
  • Unemployment income
  • The earned income tax credit
  • Student loan interest deduction
  • Tuition and fees statements for students
  • Child and dependent care expenses
  • Technical support via chat

Deluxe + State Online

The Deluxe + State Online program starts at $55 for federal returns, plus an additional $49 per state filed. It includes:

  • DeductionPro to optimize donations
  • Tax credits and deductions, including the home mortgage interest deduction and real estate taxes
  • HSA contributions
  • The ability to store returns for six years
  • Technical support via H&R Block Online Assist chat
  • Freelance and independent contractor income

Premium Online

Premium Online costs start at $75, plus an additional $49 per state return. It includes everything the Deluxe + State Online edition does, as well as:

  • Stocks, bonds, and other investment income
  • Cryptocurrency sales
  • Retirement account contributions
  • Income from rental properties and tax deductions for real estate
  • The ability to import expenses from some expense tracker apps

Self-Employed Online

The Premium & Business Online version costs $115, plus an additional $49 per state return. It includes everything the less expensive versions do, as well as:

  • Small business expenses
  • Business deductions
  • Asset depreciation

Visit H&R Block

...or read our H&R Block review

Cash App Taxes: Best for free tax preparation

Cash App Taxes was formerly known as Credit Karma Tax. Cash App announced its intention to acquire Credit Karma Tax in 2020, but the core features of the service remained the same, namely free tax filing.

Of all the programs on this list, Cash App Taxes is the only truly free option for most users. There aren't different pricing structures because there's only one price: $0. Cash App Taxes' free service includes:

  • State and federal tax returns
  • Itemized deductions using Schedule A
  • Business profits and losses using Schedule C
  • The child tax credit
  • The earned income tax credit

For a full list of the tax situations Cash App Taxes supports, see its forms and situations support page

Read our Cash App Taxes review

Jackson Hewitt: Best for complicated tax situations

Jackson Hewitt has been around for more than 40 years. It has almost 6,000 locations across the U.S and offers a Lifetime Accuracy Guarantee as well as a guarantee it will help you to get the biggest refund (or pay you $100 if it doesn't).

Jackson Hewitt is ideal for those with more complicated tax situations because it provides a choice of online or in-person filing and you get real-time access to customer service. Assistance is available even to those who have tax debt and need someone to work with the IRS to help find a resolution. 

Jackson Hewitt used to offer three different pricing tiers for its online tax service, but now they have simplified their program. Now you get federal and state filing for $25 flat, which is affordable compared to many other options out there.

Read our Jackson Hewitt review. 

Liberty Tax: Best for online tax support

Liberty Tax has been providing tax services since 1997, and it has more than 2,500 locations in the U.S. and Canada for those who want in-person help and support. It offers a maximum refund guarantee, promising to refund tax preparation fees if a competitor helps you get a larger refund with the same return. It also reimburses you for penalties and interest assessed by the IRS if its math is inaccurate.

If you're interested in online tax preparation but also getting support during the process, Liberty Tax is an ideal choice because of its 360 customer support promise. You can choose to get help via chat, email, or through social media. You also have the option for a seamless transition to the office if you get stuck and need in-person help.

You'll have a choice of three different products with Liberty Tax's online service:


Basic is best for single or married tax filers with no dependents who have W-2 income. It costs $45.95 for federal filing and $36.95 for state.


Deluxe costs $65.95 for federal returns, plus $36.95 for state returns. It's best for those who have children, investments, college expenses, or child care costs.


Premium comes at a cost of $85.95, plus $36.95 per state. It's best for self-employed workers or others with less common forms of income.

Read our Liberty Tax review.

FreeTaxUSA: Best for simple returns

FreeTaxUSA is an IRS-approved e-file tax service that has filed more than 50 million user tax returns. It offers a maximum refund guarantee as well as a 100% accuracy guarantee. With FreeTaxUSA, you get instant accuracy checks as you enter information, double-checks at the end of each section, and final checks before your return is submitted.

FreeTaxUSA is an ideal choice for simple tax returns because it comes at a very low cost. If you can stand a little less hand-holding as you go through the filing process because your return is a simple one, you can use FreeTaxUSA to file a free return regardless of the complexity of your tax situation. There are two pricing tiers with FreeTax USA:


The free version costs $0 for federal returns and $14.99 for state returns and it includes:

  • Itemized deductions
  • Dependent care costs
  • Self-employment income
  • Income from rental properties
  • Education deductions


The Deluxe version costs just $7.99, and it includes all the features of the free version, plus the following:

  • Live chat
  • Priority support
  • Unlimited amendments

Read our FreeTaxUSA review.

Doing your taxes online vs. in person

Using tax filing software to do your taxes online can make submitting your forms to the IRS and to your state relatively simple. That's because most tax filing programs walk you through the process step-by-step using plain language and asking simple questions to help you fill out your forms.

But, you also have the option to work with a tax preparer in person such as a tax attorney or a certified public accountant.

There are pros and cons to both filing online and working with a professional.

Pros to doing your taxes online Cons to doing your taxes online
  • Many online tax filing programs come at a relatively low cost, or are even free
  • You can do your taxes on your own schedule, including outside of open business hours
  • You can do your taxes in multiple sittings instead of having to complete the process all at once
  • You can select a reputable tax filing program, many of which come with audit defense and other guarantees
  • You won't have in-person support to guide you through the entire filing process
  • Tax filing programs may not be well suited to complicated situations
  • Your ability to ask questions will be limited

Even though it’s cheaper and more flexible, it’s important to consider the downsides to doing your taxes online. Taxes are complicated and often confusing, so it’s a big disadvantage to not have the ability to have someone help you who knows the tax system really well.

Some online programs do provide the chance to ask a tax professional for help. Still, being able to ask some questions online or via phone isn't the same as having a person supporting you and taking care of each step of the filing process for you.

In-person tax prep has pros and cons of its own.

Pros of doing your taxes in person Cons of doing your taxes in person
  • Comprehensive personal assistance throughout the process
  • The ability to ask any questions you want
  • Advice from a qualified professional
  • The added cost that usually comes with in-person assistance
  • The need to work on someone else's schedule
  • The risk that you will end up with a tax prep professional who isn't very experienced or well qualified

When you should see an accountant

Hiring an accountant or other tax professional for full-service help with your taxes can be the best course of action in a few different situations.

When to hire an accountant for tax preparation:

  • Your tax situation has changed dramatically from prior years.
  • Your taxes are especially complicated.
  • You’re not comfortable doing your own taxes with an online program.
  • You recently got married, divorced, had a child, or became a homeowner and you want to understand the tax implications of this major life change.
  • You’re buying or selling a business.
  • You’re a business owner whose business is organized as an LLC, partnership, or corporation.
  • You’ve recently become a landlord, or if you own one or more rental properties, have rental income, and want to take full advantage of special tax rules for real estate investing.
  • You're invested in cryptocurrency.
  • You received an inheritance.
  • You are settling an estate.

You can also see an accountant if you simply want the peace of mind of working with a tax professional who can be there for you during the process.

When you should do taxes online

Although hiring an accountant makes sense for some people, there are a number of situations where doing taxes online is a better option.

When to use an online program for tax preparation:

  • You have a relatively simple, uncomplicated tax situation.
  • Your taxes haven't changed much from years prior.
  • You're comfortable navigating an online software program.
  • You want to keep your tax prep costs down.

When you're doing taxes online, it's critical to take the time to find the right program well suited to your needs based on your specific tax situation. Don't just choose the cheapest program — choose the one that offers the features you need to do your taxes correctly. 

Cost comparison: online vs. in person

According to the National Society of Accountants, the mean cost of preparing an itemized 1040 tax form ranges from $282 to $767 depending on the type of accounting practice. A typical firm charges $323 on average.

For a non-itemized 1040 form, the mean cost is between $151 and $336. A typical firm charges $220 on average.

By contrast, using online tax software can cost as little as $0 if you qualify to file for free based on your income and the software you use. And even if you pay for deluxe or premium versions of the tax software, the cost of a federal return is usually under $100 for an individual federal return (often, but not always, with add-on fees for state returns).

It undoubtedly costs less to complete the tax filing process online. But, if you aren't comfortable doing so or aren't sure you can submit a mistake-free return, spending the extra money for in-person help may be worth it.

What about IRS Free File?

IRS makes Free File with Guided Tax Preparation available if you have an adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less. If you don't qualify for Guided Tax Preparation, you can still use Free File Fillable Forms. However, this is a DIY option where you have to know tax laws because you won't receive any support options or tax help.

In addition to free federal returns, some of these programs also offer free state returns.

IRS Free File partners include:

  • TaxAct
  • TaxSlayer
  • FreeTaxUSA
  • 1040NOW
  • OLT OnLine Taxes
  • ezTaxReturn

Heads up
Some of the tax service providers who offer IRS Free File have different or lower adjusted gross income limits than the IRS requires.

TurboTax used to participate in the IRS Free File Program but no longer does. However, some tax filing programs that are not part of the IRS free file program, including TurboTax, do still offer the opportunity to file no-cost returns for simple tax returns only.

The bottom line on the best tax software

Tax planning can be a yearlong process, but it’s an essential part of learning how to manage your money. As you can see, different tax preparation software programs have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, even among our top picks. Although one taxpayer may do better using a particular tax program, someone with a different tax situation may find filing taxes easier by opting for another software option. 

But thanks to our guide, you can easily figure out which program makes sense for your situation. And there are plenty of online tax filing programs that can help you avoid tax mistakes and get a clear idea of what filing your taxes with different companies will cost you well before tax season arrives. 

Now, you can quickly home in on the software it makes sense for you to use and file taxes with greater ease so all you'll have to worry about is what to do with your tax refund.

FAQs about the best tax software

How much do tax software programs cost?

The cost of tax software programs varies based on the type of program that you choose and your personal finance needs. If you have a simple tax return, you may be able to file your taxes for free with a program like Cash App Taxes. 

However, if you have a more complex tax return, you might be better off with a tax software like Jackson Hewitt, which offers lots of features and real-time access to customer support. Programs can range from completely free to upwards of $120 for federal tax filing, depending on which option you choose. 

What is the best free tax software?

While the IRS Free File service can be a decent option for free tax filing in certain situations, Cash App Taxes is a great filing option for taxpayers who want to file state and federal returns for free. It has several useful features, including:

  • Federal and state tax returns
  • Schedule A - itemized deductions
  • Schedule C - business profits and losses
  • Child tax credit
  • Earned income tax credit (EITC)

What is the easiest tax software to use?

Our pick for the easiest tax software to use is TurboTax. It offers step-by-step tax prep in an intuitive interface, and it helps you identify potential tax breaks by asking you a series of simple questions. TurboTax offers a free edition as well as higher-tier versions that come with added features and relatively low costs. You also have the option to pay an additional fee for live support from a CPA. This means you can get expert help if you have questions or run into any trouble with tax prep. When you file your taxes with TurboTax, it also offers several guarantees, including:

  • Accurate Calculations Guarantee: reimburses you if the IRS finds an error on your return and you need to pay a penalty;
  • Maximum Refund Guarantee: gives you your money back if you get a lower return with a different tax prep software; 
  • Expert Guarantee: reimburses you if the IRS finds an error and you need to pay a penalty on a tax return that a TurboTax expert helped prepare;
  • Audit Support: free IRS audit support and optional help from a tax preparer. 


When compiling our list of the best tax software packages, we looked at eight popular providers and evaluated them according to a set of criteria we consider critical to the consumer, including pricing, ease of use, customer support, and product features.

We did not evaluate all companies in the category. We used editorial judgment to determine what use or type of user each tax software is best for.

TurboTax Free Edition Benefits

  • File for free with TurboTax Free Edition, ~37% of taxpayers qualify, form 1040 + limited credits only2
  • 100% accurate calculations, guaranteed for the biggest refund possible
  • Personalized answers with AI-powered Intuit Assist
  • Start in minutes by adding your tax docs — it’s as easy as snapping a photo

Author Details

Christy Rakoczy Christy Rakoczy has a Juris Doctorate from UCLA Law School with a focus in Business Law, and a Certificate in Business Marketing with an English Degree from The University of Rochester. As a full-time personal finance writer, she writes about all things money-related but her special areas of focus are credit cards, personal loans, student loans, mortgages, smart debt payoff strategies, and retirement and Social Security. Her work has been featured by USA Today, MSN Money, CNN Money and more, and you can learn more at her LinkedIn profile.

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