Tax season is right around the corner. If you prepare your own return this is about the time you’ll need to choose the tax software. To make the job easier, we’re providing this guide to the six best tax software in 2023, for 2022 returns.
The table below shows the most basic features of each of the six best tax software for 2023. A deeper discussion of each software will follow.
|Software||Free Version||Business Returns||Audit Assistance||Price||Support|
|TurboTax||Yes||Yes||Yes||$0 to $359 (+$49 per state)||24/7 online or live|
|H&R Block||Yes||Yes||Yes||$0 to $230 (+$37 per state)||24/7 online or live|
|Jackson Hewitt||No||Yes||Yes||$25 flat fee, including state return||8:00 AM to 1:00 AM, Eastern Time, Mon-Fri during tax season|
|Cash App||Yes, on all returns||Limited||No||$0 on all returns||9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Eastern time, Mon-Fri|
|TaxSlayer||Yes||Yes||Yes, on all plans||$0 to $89.90||Phone, email and live chat, but no hours are given|
|TaxAct||Yes||Yes||Yes||$0 to $109.90||8:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Monday through Friday; 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM weekends, all times Central|
6 Best Tax Software for 2022 Tax Returns
1. TurboTax – Best Overall
TurboTax is the software I used exclusively when I prepared my own returns. It has become the top tax software in the industry, and for plenty of good reasons. It offers five different plans, from their Free Edition to their Self-Employed plan. TurboTax Business is also available for partnerships, S corporations, C corporations, multi-member LLCs, trusts and estates. You can sign up for each of the programs free of charge and pay only when you file your return.
I've personally used customer support this year. I was having trouble uploading a prior year's tax data. I received a phone call within five minutes of making the request, and the customer support personnel (I talked to two individuals) to be very professional and helpful.
TurboTax is available in both the Online and CD/Download versions, each with its own pricing. The Online version enables you to access and prepare your return from any computer or mobile device and requires no software installation. TurboTax provides tax return storage. You can prepare and file one return using this version.
The CD/Download version is downloaded onto your personal computer and does not require an Internet connection. Your tax return will be stored on your computer’s hard drive. You can prepare and file up to five returns using this version.
- 24/7 customer support from the online community of TurboTax specialists, and even customers.
- Download photos of your W2(s) and/or 1099-NEC.
- TurboTax Live Assisted Basic – provides unlimited expert advice to prepare your return yourself.
- TurboTax Live Full Service – you’ll be matched with a dedicated tax expert who will prepare your return for you.
- Both TurboTax Live Assisted Basic and Live Full Service are available in Spanish.
- Audit Support Guarantee – provides free step-by-step audit guidance if you are contacted by the IRS, plus the option to connect with a tax expert.
- TurboTax Audit Defense – provides live representation during an audit, requiring payment of an additional fee.
- Can be used for W-2 income, limited interest and dividend income, standard deduction, student loan interest deduction, the earned income credit, and child tax credits.
- You can also include hobby, personal property rental or personal items sales reported to you on Form 1099-K.
- Comes with a TurboTax Audit Support Guarantee.
- The plan itself is free, and you can file both federal and state income tax returns for free (limit one state return).
- You can file your return using the mobile app.
- Price: Free (of course!)
Basic (CD/Download version only)
- All the features of the Free Edition but allows you to download the software and store your returns on your own computer.
- Price: CD/Download version: $40 + $40 per state return; $0 (1 state included) for Live Assisted Basic; $169 (+$49 per state) for Live Full Service.
- All the features of the Free Edition.
- Itemized tax deductions.
- Over 350 deductions and credits.
- One-on-one help on-demand.
- Price: Online version: $39 + $39 per state return; CD/Download version: $70 – includes one state return, then $40 for each additional state return; $89 for Live Assisted Basic (+$49 per state); $219 (plus $49 per state) for Live Full Service.
- All the features of the Deluxe Edition.
- More than 450 deductions and credits.
- Accommodates stocks, ESPPs, bonds and other investments.
- Import your investment income information.
- Covers rental properties.
- Price: Online version: $69 + $39 per state return; CD/Download version: $105 – includes one state return, then $40 for each additional state return; $139 (+$49 per state) for Live Assisted Basic; $329 (+$49 per state) for Live Full Service.
- All the features of the Premier Edition.
- Designed specifically for the self-employed.
- 500+ tax deductions and credits, including industry-specific deductions.
- Calculates asset depreciation, as well as mileage and vehicle deductions.
- Import financials from QuickBooks Self-Employed.
- Import Rideshare and UberEats data.
- Unlimited employee forms, including W-2s and 1099s, even if you’re not using payroll.
- Comes with personalized audit risk assessment and self-employed tax guidance.
- Price: Online version: $89 + $39 per state return; CD/Download version: $120 – includes one state return, then $40 for each additional state return; $169 (+$49 per state) for Live Assisted Basic; $359 (+$49 per state) for Live Full Service.
2. H&R Block – Best for Those Wanting Physical Locations
The name “H&R Block” is practically synonymous with income tax preparation. The company has been in business since 1955. Though they offer the full range of online tax-preparation software products, the company also has more than 12,000 local tax-preparation offices staffed by employees with an average of 10 years of experience.
That makes H&R Block the perfect tax software for particularly complicated returns. You can start out preparing your own return and switch over to a live tax pro to finish the job any time you feel overwhelmed. And with so many local offices, you can take advantage of face-to-face contact if that’s your preference.
Be aware that if you choose to have your return prepared by an H&R Block tax professional the pricing presented below will not apply. The fee you will pay will be based on the type and complexity of your return.
H&R Block Features
- Import or snap a photo of your W-2.
- Audit support guarantee.
- Maximum refund guarantee.
- Real-time refund results.
- Six years storage of tax documents for up to six years if you use Deluxe e-file.
- Refund Advance loan of up to $3,500 within minutes of filing your taxes.
H&R Block Plans
- Available for simple returns, including students, and those with W-2 income, retirement income, unemployment compensation, the earned income credit, and child tax credits.
- Price: $0 to prepare and file both federal and state returns; $40 (no additional fee for a state return) with unlimited, live help from tax pros.
- All the features of Free Online.
- Accommodates contract, freelance, gig work, and other small, self-employment income; itemized deductions, child and dependent care expenses, and HSA contributions.
- Price: $35 + $37 per state return; $70 (+37 per state) with unlimited, live help from tax pros.
- All the features of Deluxe.
- Covers stocks, bonds, and other investment income, crypto currency sales, rental income and deductions.
- Price: $55 + $37 per state return; $115 (+37 per state) with unlimited, live help from tax pros.
- All the features of Premium.
- Designed for small businesses, including all business deductions and asset depreciation.
- Price: $85 + $37 per state return; $145 (+37 per state) with unlimited, live help from tax pros.
3. Jackson Hewitt – Best for Multiple State Returns
Much like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt also has a large network of tax-preparation offices across the country. As the second-largest tax-preparation service (after H&R Block), the company has more than 6,000 local offices, including more than 3,000 located in Walmart stores. It’s also one of the most popular online tax software services, but with the option to shift your return over to a live tax professional at any point during the process.
The single flat fee structure used by Jackson Hewitt makes it an excellent choice if you have multiple state returns to prepare.
And again, like H&R Block, there is a separate pricing structure if you have your return prepared by a tax professional in a Jackson Hewitt location.
Jackson Hewitt Features
- File online, or in-store (standalone offices or Walmart locations).
- One price for all tax return types – $25 includes both federal and state returns.
- Accommodates both simple and complex returns.
- Online customer support.
- If you are due a refund you may not need to pay the fee using a credit card.
- 100% accuracy guarantee.
- Maximum refund guarantee.
- Satisfaction guaranteed.
- Transparent pricing guarantee.
- Three-year price lock guarantee – fee structure applies to this year, next year, and the year after that.
4. Cash App Taxes (formerly Credit Karma Tax) – Best Free Software
Credit Karma Tax is now Cash App, offering the same, simple and free income tax-preparation. That’s free as in free to file no matter how complicated your tax situation is. It’s also convenient; you can file your tax return from either your computer or your smartphone. And if you have your refund deposited into your Cash App, you’ll get your money up to five days faster. The company claims the service has been used to prepare more than 3.8 million returns.
To use Cash App Taxes, you will need to download the Cash App. It’s an app that provides banking services, including the ability to send and receive money free of charge. You can also use the app to buy and sell stocks and bitcoin. And when you download Cash App Pay and Cash Card you’ll have access to exclusive discounts. Cash App is free to download and to use.
Cash App Features
- One plan for all tax situations.
- Free tax software that includes both your federal and state return.
- Accommodates simple and more complex tax returns.
- Access returns previously filed with Credit Karma Tax.
- Phone and live chat customer service.
- You must sign up for the Cash App to access the tax software.
- Free, but historically not the best choice for more complicated returns, like, self-employment or substantial investment activities.
5. TaxSlayer – Best for Comprehensive Service at a Low Price
TaxSlayer has come up as one of the most popular tax software services in the industry. What makes it particularly attractive is that its low-cost structure also includes its Ask a Tax Pro and Audit Defense services on all plan levels. And like Jackson Hewitt, you can deduct the cost of the service from your refund (if you’re entitled to one), rather than paying by credit card. The software comes in five versions, including one designed specifically for active duty members of the US military.
- Comprehensive plans that include service features other software charge additional fees for.
- Special plan just for active duty members of the military.
- One of the lowest fee structures among all tax software services.
- Download the app free and file your return on the go.
- File a basic 1040 tax return.
- Includes student loan interest deduction and education credits.
- Unlimited phone and email support.
- Price: $0 to file both federal and state returns.
- Includes all the features of Simply Free.
- Covers any tax situation and all major IRS forms.
- Import your W-2(s).
- Comes with IRS inquiry assistance for up to one year after your return has been accepted.
- Price: $19.95 +$39.95 per state return.
- Includes all features of the Classic plan.
- Unlimited personal guidance from a tax expert.
- Priority support for both phone and email assistance.
- Certified tax professionals to assist you with an audit for up to three years after your return has been accepted by the IRS.
- Price: $39.95 +$39.95 per state return.
- Includes all the features of the Premium plan.
- Designed specifically for small business owners, contractors, and side hustlers.
- Schedule C preparation, including income from Form 1099.
- Tax tips and resources specifically for the self-employed.
- Tax payment reminders, including printing of 1040-ES estimated tax payment vouchers.
- Support from a tax expert with self-employed tax expertise.
- Price: $49.95 +$39.95 per state return.
- Free federal filing for active-duty military members.
- Accommodates all tax situations, including all major IRS forms, credits and deductions.
- Comes with IRS inquiry assistance for up to one year after your return is accepted.
- Price: $0 +$39.95 per state return.
6. TaxAct – Low-Cost Tax Software
TaxAct is another of the most popular tax software services around, with the advantage of providing lower-cost plans than most competitors. And even with the low-cost fee structure, TaxAct can accommodate all return types, including self-employed and sophisticated investments. They even offer special software for various types of business returns.
- All plans include Xpert Assist, which provides live support calls with tax experts.
- Audit Defense available, with tax professionals to deal directly with the IRS for up to three years. The service is available at an additional fee, which is not disclosed on the website.
- Specialized business plans for partnerships, S corporations, C corporations, tax-exempt organizations, and estates and trusts, each at $124.95 + $54.95 per state income tax return filed.
- Mobile app available.
- Cover simple returns, including W-2 and unemployment income, retirement income, child tax credits, earned income, current students, and stimulus credit.
- Xpert Assist included.
- Price: $0 + $39.95 per state return.
- All the features of the Free plan.
- Can be used for itemized deductions, adoption credits, child and dependent care, student loan interest, and health savings accounts.
- Deduction maximizer.
- Personalized My TaxPlan.
- Price: $24.95 + $44.95 per state return.
- All the features of the Deluxe plan.
- Covers investment income, rental properties, royalty and Schedule K-1 income, and foreign banks and financial accounts.
- Unlimited free account and technical support.
- Price: $34.95 + $44.95 per state return.
- All the features of the Premier plan.
- Designed for business and farm income, freelance income, and personalized business deductions.
- Calculates depreciation.
- Deduction maximizer and year-round planning resources.
- Price: $64.95 + $44.95 per state return.
- Includes access to all online forms, and one state return.
- Filing fees subtracted from refund.
- Audit Defense included.
- Price: $114.95
Tax Software FAQs
What is the best tax software for real estate investors?
I owned investment properties since 2005 (sold my last one in 2018). In my experience, TurboTax was the best option to handle the tax complexities real estate investors face. Most rental property management software works well with TurboTax.
What is the best tax software for small business owners?
I've owned and operated a small business since 2008. For me, TurboTax is the best option. I've found it the easiest to use and its customer service has been exceptional.
What is the best tax software for retirees?
What is the best tax software for independent contractors?
What is the best tax software for investors?
Just about all tax software packages can handle capital gains and losses that investors experience. My personal favorite is TurboTax.
What is the best free tax software?
Most tax software offer a free version for very simple returns. The one software that is free for everybody is Cash App. While I like that option for simple returns, it's not ideal for those with more complicated taxes (itemized deductions, small business, investors, etc.).
What is the best low cost tax app?
Jackson Hewitt is the best low cost option for tax preparation software. That said, I found it not be the easiest to use. If you can overlook the mediocre user interface, you can save some money using Jackson Hewitt.
Preparing your own tax return doesn’t need to be a hassle, that is, as long as you choose the right tax software for the job. Any of the six in this guide will help you get the job done. Just be sure to carefully examine the service levels and features provided by each then choose the one that most closely matches your own tax situation.