Tax Software

Best Tax Software of 2021 (Ranked)

There are tons of tax software options available online to assist you in tax preparation and filing. They are designed to make things easier and efficient for you. However, with the abundance of choices, it becomes difficult to take the right decision.

How to ensure that complete online tax return filing provided by the software matches your requirements. To make things easier, I have selected a few best tax software for tax preparers to help you file tax returns without any mistakes.

So let’s get started.

What is the Best Tax Software?

Here is the list of my online tax preparation software for professionals and individuals.

1. Intuit TurboTax

Intuit Turbobox

TurboTax is popular for handling simple tax returns efficiently. It also offers easy navigation along with a free filing option that even a layman can understand.

It is one of the best options for personal tax filing purposes.

Key Features of Intuit TurboBox:

  • Max Assist and Defend – This feature helps users get audit protection for complicated tax filing. It will cost you $44.99 additional if you are looking to purchase it.
  • TurboTax Live – This feature allows users to share their screens and get their returns reviewed directly from EAs and CPAs. Users can connect through four options, including Self-employed live at $169.99, Premier live at $139.99, Deluxe live at $89.99, and Basic live at $49.99.
  • Navigation System – The navigation system guides users using its series of easy-to-understand questions. The process becomes even smoother if users answer correctly to prompted questions at registration.
  • In-Depth Articles – Provides a repository of in-depth articles for users to find answers for frequently asked questions and other related information.

Pros of Intuit TurboBox:

  • It allows taxpayers to file a 1040 and state return free of cost.
  • Users are allowed to import their W-2 if it is from a TurboTax partner.
  • Taxpayers can easily navigate from one section to another using its user-friendly interface
  • You don’t need to install the software and can access TurboBox using its web version.
  • It offers face-to-face, on-screen support for users stuck in process of tax filing.
  • Allows you to take pictures of W-2 file and form directly using your smartphone
  • The Expense Finder feature helps business owners and freelancers to discover every single transaction eligible for deduction as business expenditure.

Cons of Intuit TurboBox:

  • Users can’t determine the final cost until they file the entire return.
  • The price fluctuates on different platforms.
  • Very expensive compared to other software.

Cost Breakdown:

TurboTax offers four pricing plans:

  • Self-Employed TurboTax – Cost: $119.99 + $39.99 for each state return.
  • Premier TurboTax – Cost: $79.99 + $39.99 for each state return.
  • Deluxe TurboTax – Cost: $59.99 + $39.99 for each state return.
  • Free TurboTax – Cost: $0 + $29.99 for each state return.

2. Jackson Hewitt

JacksonHewitt

Jackson Hewitt is considered to be the second-largest tax preparation service in the USA. It offers robust customer support through its brick and mortar stores across the country.

Key Features of Jackson Hewitt:

  • Audit Assistance – It offers a free Audit Assistance service to users.
  • Tax Tools – It offers a ton of efficient and user-friendly tools, including the W-2 locator tool, tax estimator, and refund status checker, among others.
  • Refund Advance – It provides you loans of up to $3,500 for an estimated tax return at as low as 0% APR.
  • Strong Customer Support – They have over 3000 brick and mortar stores located inside Walmart. This allows users to get robust customer support along with the option to file tax returns offline.

Pros of Jackson Hewitt:

  • It offers a smartphone and tablet friendly website.
  • You also get unlimited email and live chat support
  • Users can leverage the software’s free edition for simple tax filing.
  • It provides a guaranteed maximum refund along with maximum customer satisfaction.
  • Users always have the option to contact a physical branch if required.
  • Allows you to import data of previous year’s tax documents and W-2 forms

Cons of Jackson Hewitt:

  • Phone support is not available during certain times.
  • For complex cases, you need to visit their physical office.
  • The knowledge base is not very detailed as it should have been.

Cost Breakdown:

There is no official price mentioned on the website. However, online reviews suggest that the prices start from $29.99.

3. Liberty Tax

LibertyTax

Liberty Tax can significantly cut down your tax filing cost. This affordable online tax software provides a lot of unique features with a user-friendly interface to attract tax filers.

Key Features of Liberty Tax:

  • Tax Estimator – Provides a tax return estimator to give you a rough idea of the amount of tax liability or refund before the tax filing
  • Enhanced Audit Assistance – It is an add-on package you can purchase to get pre-audit aid for the documents IRS may require. It offers post-audit advice and provides assistance in replying to IRS correspondence.
  • Tax Refund Anticipation Loan – This is one of the most promising features offered by Liberty Tax which makes it popular among tax applicants. You can get an easy advance from $500 to $6,050 depending upon the expected federal refund after all the deductions.
  • Maximum Refund Guarantee – Liberty Tax provides a maximum refund guarantee to its clients. When client file through a competitor’s software and get qualified for lesser federal tax liability or a higher refund, Liberty Tax will promptly refund the amount paid for tax preparation services.

Pros of Liberty Tax:

  • To access previous years’ documents the software provides a seamless synchronization.
  • The interface is relatively easy and simple to use for new tax filers.
  • It allows users to import W-2 through ADP.
  • Capable of identifying the best software edition as per the tax situation for greater ease.
  • Its Help Sidebar feature provides a display of real-time refund and tax to help through live chat sessions.

Cons of Liberty Tax:

  • Absence of in-depth knowledge base.
  • Limited options for customer filing.
  • No free version is available for even basic tax filing.

Cost Breakdown:

Liberty Tax offers four paid editions:

  • Simple Edition: State Returns $35.95, Federal Returns: $34.95
  • Basic Edition: State Returns: $39.95, Federal Returns: $44.95
  • Deluxe Edition: State Returns: $39.95, Federal Returns: $64.95
  • Premium Edition: State Returns: $39.95, Federal Returns: $89.95

Now let’s cover the basics

What is Tax Software?

Tax software platforms are designed for assisting organizations and individuals to prepare for income filing or tax returns. Basically, it guides the user through various relevant tax forms and issues. This helps to make the process of filing taxes more efficient and streamlined.

Moreover, tax software is capable of automatically calculating the company’s or individual’s tax obligations. Today many companies have rolled out web-based versions of their tax software tools. This enables their users to access the software easily from any internet-enabled device.

Apart from standard deductions, online tax services help the taxpayer make some extra savings. They also guide to bank on the less popular deductions that are applicable. For example, tax preparers may have complicated tax situations and can find extra savings on :

  • Rental properties and income
  • Child tax credits
  • Student loan interest
  • Home office savings
  • Mileage reimbursement
  • Business phone use

The best part is that almost all of them guarantee audit defense, absolute accuracy, and the highest possible returns.

How Do You Choose the Best Tax Preparation Software?

There are high chances that you might occur a 20 percent error rate during tax season. Taxpayers can eliminate the chances of making any error to 1 percent through online tax filing. Apart from saving money, having the right best tax return software can help you avoid unnecessary mistakes.

Here are a few tips that you should consider before choosing the perfect tax software.

1. Software Version

The most daunting task is to decide which software version meets your online tax preparation requirements. Mostly we get confused on whether to opt for the basic or premium version. is paying extra bucks for the premium version worth it? Is the basic version good enough to meet requirements? There is no clear answer to both the questions.

The basic version may not have all the required features, while the premium version will include those all along with companies USP. open-source tax software generally offers all the base features and charge for customer support in the premium version.

It is advisable to read the features of all the versions and compare them against your requirements to make the right decision. It’s better to go with the premium version if you are confused about what to choose.

2. Help for Tax Deductions

Taxpayers should search for tax planning software that offers an in-depth knowledge base about taxact online. It should offer quick links to all the necessary IRS publications. If you are opting for professional tax software make sure that it provides a video tutorial to assist you. This will help you understand better how to execute the entire process.

Make sure that your income tax software is able to pull out the data of your non-cash donations. This will help you to apply for a tax deduction. Moreover, the tax deduction feature should not miss any details by asking you all the relevant questions. Self-employed professionals should ensure that the best tax websites offer them Schedule C to calculate capital gains efficiently.

3. State Tax Return

Some companies include the cost of the state of return tax in the subscription charges and others separately. If you are not filing for the state tax return, then buy a tax filing software that charges the return separately. This way, you can save at least $20.

4. Customer Support

Make sure that the business tax software offers robust customer support and is equipped with qualified tax professionals. This will ensure efficient assistance during the filing process. Many lead tax software vendors provide online chat support, but you have to wait for several minutes to get answers.

Also, check do they charge any fee for a tax professional on demand for help. Also, do they provide audit assistance or not. Finally, look for email assistance and a toll-free number.

5. Consider Open Source Software

There are several open-source tax software available that can be used for free. Take FreeTaxUSA, for instance. With FreeTaxUSA, you can file your federal return for free and have to pay extra for only state tax returns.

Users who are experienced with tax filing and don’t need spoon-feeding can go for open-source software. This will help them save extra bucks on tax filing.

Best Income tax software – Final Summary

These were my best tax software platforms you can consider for this financial year.

While selecting the right software, there are a few basic points that you must keep in mind, including:

  • Easy to use interface
  • Accuracy of tax filing
  • Robust Customer Support during the filing and audit process
  • Transparent pricing
  • In-depth knowledge base to address queries
  • Maximum return for personal or business finances

Ponder over these points carefully before making the final decision this tax year.

Which tax software do you use? Which one should I include on the list? Let me know in the comments.

More from Smashitbuck: Do refer to my other articles on payroll software, accounting software, data visualization tools.

Authored By Amey Sarode
Amey Sarode is a Lead Web Developer in GOMO Group with expertise in multiple software verticals. Before starting this blog, Amey managed multiple projects for startups and now reviews the best software to run your online business.

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