Tech

Best online tax-filing software 2021: TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxAct compared

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It’s tax time again, not that you needed reminding. It shows up at the same time every year, ready, willing, and able to escort you down a financial memory lane.

When it comes to filing income taxes, this year, more than any other, is likely to throw some curveballs. There were stimulus payments, and employment payments; you may have made more or less income than you did in the previous year. Sad to say, but bankruptcy, the death of a loved one, or the loss of job may factor into your financial situation more this year than at any other time in your personal history. Your tax software needs to be up to the task of getting every tax break possible.

We’re going to look at the Big Three of online tax filing: TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct. All three offer a standardized set of features that will get your taxes done quickly and easily, but they each offer unique benefits that could be more suitable for your particular set of filing needs for the 2020 tax filing season.

What’s more, all three of these tax prep services offer options for you to “sit down” with a tax consultant without ever having to leave your house. This feature is new for TaxAct this tax season, but both H&R Block and TurboTax have offered this option for a couple of years now.

Note that all the prices listed for each of these products was the price at the time this article was written and every company charges more the closer you get to April 15. So don’t wait!

TaxAct review

TaxAct is inexpensive, easy to use, and is the product I’ve used for both my business and personal taxes for the last several years. It is the only online tax filing program that allows you to file corporate taxes and it can also import information from your K1 directly into your personal income tax filing.

TaxAct’s initial interview begins at the sales screen where you pick the package you need to file your taxes. TaxAct offers four tiers for personal taxes, from a free filing option, which costs nothing for qualified filers, to a self-employed option that costs $65. Additionally, TaxAct now offers a feature called TaxAct Xpert Help, which you can use to consult a tax professional for an extra $35 per return. No matter what, if you’re in a state that requires you to file taxes, you’ll need to spend an additional $20 to file your state return.

taxact01 TaxAct

TaxAct joins the competition in offering live assistance as an option of its online service.

The process

If you’ve used TaxAct in the past it will import your prior year’s tax return into your new return and then ask you to confirm that your personal information is still correct. First-time TaxAct users need to go through the process of adding personal information before they can begin a return.

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