The Best Tax Software for 2019


– Tax time is upon us,
and though it can be painful for many, it doesn’t have to be. Online tax services make the process of figuring out what you owe Uncle Sam easier, faster, and
more accurate than ever. If your income situation is simple, there’s a good chance you won’t need to pay anything to use an online service such as H&R Block, TurboTax, or TaxAct. The key differentiator is whether you need to itemize deductions or
take the standard deduction. If you have to itemize, you generally need to pay for the service. If you have investments, self-employment, or rental income, you may
have to pay even more. Our Editors’ Choice H&R Block starts free, goes to $29.99 if you need to
itemize, and then to $49.99 if you’re a freelancer,
contractor, or investor. It then goes to $79.99
if you’re self-employed. TurboTax, which had the
most stylish interface costs a bit more, starting at $59.99 and going up to $119.99 for self-employed. Cheaper options include
TaxSlayer, starting at $17, and TaxAct, which starts at $9.95, with itemized deductions you pay $30.95. But even for complex tax situations, a completely free option
is Credit Karma Tax. It does make you sign up for
its credit-monitoring service and doesn’t offer the
handholding that can be critical while figuring out your taxes. FreeTaxUSA is free for federal returns though you’ll pay $12.95
for a state return, far below what most
services charge for state. Don’t forget state tax returns, these usually cost
significantly more than Federal. That’s because the company has to make one Federal software system for everyone but multiple state systems. It also pays not to wait
till the last minute. Most services don’t charge
you until you actually e-file, and may raise the fee as you
get closer to the tax deadline. Tax software works by
simulating the interview you might have with a
human tax professional. There are large topic categories like Income, Deductions,
Investments, and so on, and major life events like
moving, home purchase, or marriage that the
software asks to determine what questions it needs to
ask you during the interview. After it knows about what
topics you need to address, the software takes you through
a page-by-page questionnaire, all the while filling out
the official tax return forms in the background with
information you supply. One of the most important
aspects of tax software is the amount and quality of
help and support it offers. It may be the number one differentiator, and it’s the biggest reason why H&R Block won our Editors’ Choice, along with being priced lower than runner-up TurboTax. The better products translate government mumbo jumbo into
understandable English. They also offer
context-sensitive help panels as you go through preparing your return. Links to deeper tax help are included in the better products, too. For some real hand
holding, H&R Block offers live tax experts, and
TurboTax offers TurboTax Live, which video conferences
you in with tax experts. Both offer screen sharing
so that the expert can see where you are in the process. For a full rundown of this year’s tax-preparation sites, visit PCMag.com.

3 comments on “The Best Tax Software for 2019”

  1. M ZK says:

    educational and useful , thank you robot tax man.

  2. [T]urboTax Support Phone Number says:

    very useful..

  3. TheBoxingReport says:

    Can I use any of these as a tax preparer?

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