It’s officially not the most wonderful time of year anymore, now, we’ve transitioned into many people’s least favorite time of the year: tax time. Doing your taxes is no fun for anyone but using online tax software can make the process markedly easier. You get your paperwork together, sign-up, follow the prompts and file your taxes. If your tax situation is fairly simple, these online tax software programs can save you time and money.
Here are five online tax software programs to file your own tax return.
One of the most popular online tax software programs out there is TurboTax. TurboTax allows tax filers to file your federal and state tax return for free. That is if it’s fairly simple to process. If your tax return is more complicated, you may have to pay a fee.
Using TurboTax, you answer several questions and can take a picture of your W-2 to get started. According to their site they claim 100 percent accuracy, so you can feel confident filing with them. Additionally, they offer audit support in case you’re in the unfortunate situation of getting audited. Find out more info and get started with TurboTax here.
TaxAct is another online tax software program that can help you file taxes on your own. Similar to TurboTax, TaxAct offers free filing for “simple returns”. They do have three other tiered pricing options as well:
- Basic+: $9.95
- Deluxe+: $29.95
- Premier+ $34.95
The right program for you will depend on how complicated your taxes are, for example, if you have dependents or investments or real estate income. Using TaxAct, you can also get a bonus of up to $100 if you get part of your refund on a gift card. You can also check out their tax bracket calculator and their self-employment resource hub. Find out more info and get started with TaxAct here.
TaxSlayer can help you file your online tax return and also inform you about changes in tax reform. You may have heard a lot about recent tax reform changes but be unclear on what it all means. TaxSlayer offers an estimated refund calculator based on these tax changes.
You can file your federal and state taxes for free with TaxSlayer for simple taxes, but they also have tiered pricing options based on the complexity of your tax return. They offer:
- Simply free: $0
- Classic: $17
- Premium: $37
- Self-employed: $47
- Ultimate: $57
It should be noted that only the Simply Free option includes free state tax filing but the other options add on additional fees for state tax returns. TaxSlayer promises 100 percent accuracy or will reimburse you for any penalties for mistakes. Find out more info and get started with TaxSlayer here.
4. Credit Karma Tax
You may have heard of Credit Karma for offering access to your credit score for free, but did you know they also can help you file your taxes? Credit Karma offers Credit Karma Tax to help you file your own tax return online for free including both state and federal. Credit Karma Tax also offers 100 percent guarantee for accuracy and has Audit Defense, which helps you through the process in the event you get audited.
If you’re already familiar with using Credit Karma, then this could be a good fit and a familiar brand to do your taxes with. Find out more info and get started with Credit Karma Tax here.
5. IRS Free File
You can go straight to the IRS to file your tax return too. If your income is $66,000 or less, you can qualify for free state and federal filing options. Some state tax returns could have a fee.
While it may seem like this is a totally separate option, the IRS actually partners with other tax return programs with IRS Free File. For example, they partner with TurboTax, TaxAct and TaxSlayer but also work with other options as well. Find out more info and get started with IRS Free File here.
Tax time can rough but using one of these online tax software programs can make the process easier. Check out these options and determine what is best for you based on your specific tax situation. Need additional help? Consider getting in touch with a tax professional who can give you personalized advice.
Melanie Lockert is a personal finance expert, the blogger behind DearDebt.com and author of the book “Dear Debt: A story about breaking up with debt.” Melanie paid off $81,000 of debt and is now on a mission to help others do the same.
Feature Illustration: Laura Caseley For The Money Manual