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The Best Tax Preparation Services

The 7 Best Tax Preparation Services

Which Online Tax Preparation Service is the Best?

Not very long ago, taxpayers had to sift through mounds of confusing paperwork to file their taxes, or hire an expensive professional tax preparer. Today, though, things are different. In fact, more than 53 million people use online tax services to prepare and file their returns online.

There are many benefits to using online tax preparation services, including convenience, accuracy, and the ability to easily access and review your tax information. In most cases, using online tax prep platforms is faster and easier than doing your taxes by hand. And it's certainly cheaper than hiring a CPA.

Sunday, April 14th

2024 Tax Preparation Service Reviews

Free Tax USA Review Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating

Free Tax USA

5 Star Rating Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

You really can file your federal tax return at no cost when you use Free Tax USA - and that even applies if you've got self-employment income, investments, or any other situation that typically triggers an "upgrade" fee with rival services. Over 50 million federal returns have been filed using this top-rated service, with more than 350,000 five-star reviews from happy taxpayers. If you're looking for an easy-to-use site that won't cost you a penny - while still getting your return filed accurately - Free Tax USA is the best choice. This online tax preparation service earns our highest recommendation.

H&R Block Review 4.5 Star Rating

H&R Block

4.5 Star Rating

H&R Block offers a wide range of options for online tax preparation, whether you are confident enough to do everything on your own or you decide to get some advice from a professional. From free filing of basic federal and state returns to affordable packages for the self-employed, H&R Block is a logical choice for doing your taxes online.

TurboTax Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating

TurboTax is well-known for its DIY tax preparation services. The company is a market leader and is praised for its user-friendly interface and new features. However, TurboTax comes in third place due to its higher pricing and lack of face-to-face assistance. Despite this, the company is still considered a reliable choice for most taxpayers.

Tax Slayer Review 4 Star Rating

Tax Slayer

4 Star Rating

Tax Slayer has moved up in our rankings since our last review: they've improved access to customer support, and it's included for free with every tier of service. Basic federal AND state returns can be filed at no cost here, though you'll pay more for state filing on other return types when compared with Tax Slayer's rivals. Still, it's nice to have a company that's been around for over 50 years and that has helped millions of people to get their taxes filed online. Tax Slayer is a good choice for online tax preparation.

E-File Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating

E-File won't blow you away with tons of features, but you'll get an inexpensive, straightforward platform to prepare your taxes online. While we'd recommend paying a little more to use a rival service if you've got a complicated tax situation or you're new to filing a tax return, E-File is a reputable company that gets the job done right.

Tax Act Review 3.5 Star Rating

Tax Act

3.5 Star Rating

Tax Act has a lot to offer, with unlimited live tax assistance on every package, a $100k Accuracy Guarantee, and competitive pricing. The site is easy to use and lets you move freely from one topic to another as you answer questions for your tax return. Mixed customer feedback keeps Tax Act from earning one of our top spots, but this tax prep platform has come a long way since our last evaluation and might be worth considering.

Liberty Tax Review 2.5 Star Rating

Liberty Tax

2.5 Star Rating

Liberty Tax has made some improvements to its online tax preparation options over the last few years, incorporating remote filing (that combines the 1:1 help of a professional tax preparer with the convenience of online form uploads) into their repertoire. That's not enough to overcome the downsides, like no free method to file basic returns, lots of negative reviews, and little to no information provided about what to expect beforehand. We recommend looking at higher-ranked online tax prep platforms instead.

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Additionally, many online tax preparation services offer a variety of helpful tools and resources, such as calculators and guides, to make the process as simple as possible. Some even offer live support from tax professionals to help you with any questions or issues that may arise. Overall, online tax preparation can be a convenient and efficient way to handle your taxes.

While online tax services can save you a lot of time and stress by staying up-to-date on each change made by the IRS, not all tax services are the same. The best one for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. It's helpful to research and compare the different tax services to determine which one is the best fit for you.

Here are some criteria that you should use to narrow down the options:

  • Ease of use. Is the website difficult to navigate, or does it clearly walk you through all the steps of preparing your tax return?
  • Multiple filing options. Most online tax preparation services give you several tiers of service, starting with free-to-file and going up to more complicated returns (for example, if you're self-employed). You'll also want to see if there are options for both federal and state filing, if that applies to you.
  • Customer support. Is it important to you to have the ability to meet with a tax preparer in person at some point during the process? How quickly can you get help via phone, online chat, or face-to-face?
  • Value. What will you get for the fees you pay? Are there any extras included that make the service more valuable than its rivals?
  • Reputation. What do other taxpayers say about their experience with the tax preparation service? Did their returns get accepted quickly and without errors?

To help you get your taxes filed accurately and affordably, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked today's most popular online tax preparation services. We're sure this information will make it less stressful to get your federal and state returns taken care of (and hopefully well before April 15th!).

The Best Tax Preparation Services Compare Tax Preparation Services Compare Tax Preparation Service Reviews What are the best Tax Preparation Services Best Tax Preparation Service Reviews

Tax Preparation Service FAQ

Online Tax preparation services walk you through a series of questions, much like you'd get with a human tax preparer: are you married, do you have a mortgage, and so on. The program fills in your tax forms based on the answers you provide, and at the end your return is ready for filing. Tax preparation services allow you to file your returns electronically, but you always have the option to file them by mail.
That's up to you! Almost every tax preparation platform today makes it possible to do your entire return online, no downloads or CD-ROMs necessary. But, if you prefer to do it the more old-school way, you can still find tax preparation services that download to your computer and let you work offline.
That depends on several factors. The more complicated your financial situation, the more likely it is that you'll need a tax preparation service that goes beyond the basics. Most tax preparation services will walk you through the options and recommend the right product for your needs.
Yes, most of the time. Many services will take the information you entered during your federal return and carry it over into your applicable state return. Keep in mind that you may have to pay extra for your state's online tax service. You can opt to file your federal return electronically (often included at no extra charge) and file your state return by mail if you wish.
For the most basic tax returns (those that only have W2 income, no investments, no mortgage interest to deduct), some tax preparation services are completely free. Otherwise, you can expect costs ranging from $19 - $120, with the most expensive packages for those who have self-employment/business income and expenses to report.
You'll often find answers built right into the tax preparation service. Look for a button to click on the page where you're having trouble, for explanations and additional info. If you'd like to get help from a tax professional, you might be able to connect with someone by phone or online (though that may incur extra charges). A few online tax preparation services have in-person options if you get stuck and want a tax preparer to take over or just want to go over your return face-to-face.
The good news is that your tax preparation service will likely have a robust detection method for uncovering any errors you may have made. Of course, it can't tell if you entered the wrong numbers for your income, but if it spots anything obviously wrong you'll get a notification and a prompt to review that part of your return. If you file your taxes and later realize there was an error, you can file an amended return.
Getting an audit notification can be scary! Depending on which tax preparation service you use, you might have audit support and guidance built into your package. Some services also offer full audit representation for an additional fee.
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