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Tax season is in full swing, and using a tax software to help you file can save you time and money.
If you decide to do your own taxes, you’ll want to choose tax software that is easy to use, affordable and suits your needs. We analyzed and reviewed the top providers to help you find the best tax software for this tax-filing season.
Many of our tax software picks offer both free and paid plans that allow you to file your taxes fast and accurately while ensuring you get all the credits and deductions you deserve — whether you’re a single filer with a basic W-2 form, married with student loan debt, an investor who collected investment income or an entrepreneur with business income.
Bankrate’s picks for best tax software
- Best tax software overall: H&R Block
- Best tax software for beginners: TurboTax by Inuit
- Best free tax software: Cash App Taxes
- Best tax software for freelancers: TaxSlayer
- Best tax software for complex returns: Jackson Hewitt Online
- Slightly lower pricing than other top tax software
- Online assistance or in-person help
- Easy-to-use platform
TurboTax by Intuit
- Plans for all tax filers
- Comprehensive live support
- Helpful tools and add-ons
Cash App Taxes
- 100 percent free with no paid plans
- Mobile app available
- No hidden fees
- Guidance on 1099 income
- Low filing fees
- Tax payment reminders
Jackson Hewitt Online
- Flat filing fee of $25
- Unlimited state returns
- 100 percent accuracy guarantee
Compare the best tax softwares of 2023
|Federal filing fee
|State filing fee
|$0 to $85*
|Best for beginners
|up to $64*
|Cash App Taxes
|Best free tax software
|Best for freelancers
|$0 to $64.95
|Jackson Hewitt Online
|Best for complex returns
*Prices may change if you need additional online support.
What to consider when choosing tax preparation software
When comparing tax software, tax experts say you’ll want to consider cost, ease of use, access to tax expertise and tax form availability.
Look at your budget and figure out a number you feel comfortable spending on your taxes to help narrow down your options. If you’re a W-2 employee with a simple tax return, you can likely file for free or with the lowest-level plans from TurboTax, H&R Block or any of the other choices on our list. You can also file for free through the IRS Free File program if your 2022 adjusted gross income is below $73,000. Some of the providers also offer free state returns.
If your taxes are a little more complicated, you may want to compare the premium packages for the best fit and spend a little more for peace of mind. For example, if self-employment income is your concern, TaxSlayer offers one of the lowest-cost options on the market. But if you don’t need much help navigating your taxes and know which deductions to claim, Cash App Taxes might suit your needs.
Of course, cost isn’t the only factor that matters. Depending on your level of tax expertise, you may also consider how user-friendly the tax software is. If you need more guidance, compare features that make the process easier and faster, such as the ability to import tax forms. It may help if you also weigh the customer support options, such as live chat, email, searchable FAQs and phone support. If your taxes are complicated, it can be worth using tax software with access to tax professionals if you have a question or need more assistance.
The availability of tax forms is another important factor to consider when choosing tax software. Go with a provider that offers all the necessary tax forms and schedules. For example, TurboTax’s free filing option lets you claim certain tax credits — such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child Tax Credit — but TaxSlayer does not.
Important tax dates in 2023
As you prepare to file your 2022 taxes, here are some important dates to mark on your calendar:
- Jan. 23: First day you can file 2022 tax returns
- Jan. 31: Deadline for employers to send Form W-2, Deadline for companies to send various 1099 forms (1099-NEC, 1099-MISC and 1099-K).
- Feb. 15: Form W-4 “exempt” status expires. Last day to update form W-2 to maintain exempt status.
- April 3: Required minimum distribution due if you turned 72 in 2022
- April 18: Last day to file your 2022 tax return (unless extended due to local state holiday), request an extension, make IRA and HSA contributions and pay taxes owed. First quarter 2023 estimated tax payment due.
- June 15: Second quarter 2023 estimated tax payment due
- Sept. 15: Third quarter 2023 estimated tax payment due
- Oct. 16: Due date to file your tax return if you requested an extension
Bankrate began its analysis of the best tax software for 2023 by looking at 10 popular online tax software providers: TurboTax, H&R Block, Cash App Taxes, eFile.com, FileYourTaxes.com, ezTaxReturn, FreeTaxUSA, Jackson Hewitt, TaxSlayer and TaxAct.
We focused on online tax software companies that provide free tax preparation for simple federal and state tax returns to narrow down the list. That’s because an estimated 70 percent of Americans are eligible to file their taxes for free, according to the IRS. Jackson Hewitt was the exception to this because it offers affordable, flat-fee pricing to file federal and state taxes online — even if you have a complex tax situation.
We also spoke to tax experts to help inform the factors we should consider when evaluating tax software. Cost, user experience, access to tax expertise and ease of use were recurring themes throughout our conversations, so we prioritized those factors during our analysis. We excluded tax software with paid plans that cost more than $200 because it costs the average taxpayer around $220 to file their taxes, according to a 2021 estimate from the National Society of Accountants. Our analysis also included a thorough review of each software’s customer support channels. We determined that an online tax software provider must provide at least two customer service channels for support or questions — whether by phone, live chat or email — to be included on the list.
Our best tax software companies include access to a broad selection of tax filing forms and an accuracy guarantee, which reimburses you for any IRS penalties or interest if the software causes an error on your return. They all offer access to expert tax assistance, except Cash App Taxes, which primarily stands out for its free filing service for federal and state tax returns. Some of the tax software programs offer access to tax experts for free, while some offer expertise at an additional cost.