Best Tax Software
Updated March 25, 2020

Best Tax Software 2020

Tax Software

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When it comes to doing your taxes, you have three options: fill out the forms manually, hire a tax professional, or use a tax software.

The first option is free but time-consuming (and potentially dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing), and the second doesn’t take you much time but will cost you hundreds of dollars.

The third option — using a top-notch tax software to complete your returns — is a happy medium.

But with the glut of tax software on the market today, how can you know which one will best suit your needs?

That’s what we cover in this article on the best tax software for preparing 2019 returns due in 2020.

Best for Complicated Returns: TurboTax

  • TurboTax
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    TurboTax: Best for Complex Returns
    Start Your Return

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    • Basics: TurboTax is the "household name" of do-it-yourself tax preparation software, and for good reason. See our TurboTax review for a full analysis.
    • Pros: The product itself provides an unmatched user experience, a quality app, and the ability to seamlessly handle complex tax situations.
    • Bottom Line: TurboTax is expensive and has a habit of upselling its customers on products and services they may or may not need. Also, its free version is lacking compared to competitor products.
    • Price Range (Fed + State)

      $0 - $130

    • Mobile App

      Yes

    • Live Support

      Yes

While you could probably get buy with a budget option for a simpler return, if your return is what most people would consider “complicated,” you should probably go with the cream of the crop, TurboTax.

Why?  Well, it’s simply the best laid-0ut when it comes to more complicated tax matters.

Don’t get me wrong — the other tax software will get you to the right answer, but TurboTax makes it easier for you to get there, which is why we call it the best for complicated returns.

Read our TurboTax review.

Best to File for Free: H&R Block

  • H&R Block
    Start Your Return

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    H&R Block
    Start Your Return

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    • Basics: While not perfect, H&R Block is our #1 pick for tax return preparation software because it is accurate and easy-to-use, has a generous free filing option, and puts the customer first. See our H&R Block review for a full analysis.
    • Pros: The interface is top-tier, and H&R Block doesn't try to upsell you nearly as much as TurboTax does. The mobile app and customer support are also on-point.
    • Cons: There were some minor user experience elements that gave me pause.
    • Price Range (Fed + State)

      $0 - $96.98

    • Mobile App

      Yes

    • Live Support

      Yes

Now, if you think your return is incredibly simple, H&R Block is probably the way to go.

Why?  H&R Block’s interface is almost as intuitive and user-friendly as TurboTax’s, but its free option is open to far more people.

Check out this chart we put together comparing what kind of tax situations are covered by H&R Block Free Online and TurboTax Free Edition.

As you can see, far more taxpayers would qualify for H&R Block Free Online than for TurboTax Free Edition, including those eligible for the relatively common student loan interest deduction, childcare expenses credit, and credits for education.

Read our H&R Block review.

Best on a Budget: TaxAct

  • TaxAct
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    TaxAct
    Start Your Return

    We earn a commission on this offer.

    • Basics: TaxAct certainly doesn't feel as luxury as TurboTax and H&R Block, but it gets the job done.
    • Pros: Inexpensive.
    • Cons: The interface is limited.
    • Price Range (Fed + State)

      $0 - $99.92

    • Mobile App

      Yes

    • Live Support

      Yes

I get it.  You’re paying enough to the government in taxes, and you don’t want to spend a penny more than you need to on tax return preparation.

If that’s the case, I would first check out H&R Block to see if you’re eligible for their free filing option.

If not, TaxAct may be your best bet.

While its interface is admittedly not as smooth and user-friendly as TurboTax and H&R Block, it gets the job done, though you may need to do a little bit of research yourself to understand some of its screens.

Best for Military: TaxSlayer

  • TaxSlayer
    Start Your Return

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    TaxSlayer
    Start Your Return

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    • Basics: TaxSlayer lags behind the other tax software on our list, but it can be a good option for military members to save on their tax return preparation.
    • Pros: Significant military discount.
    • Cons: The interface is lacking.
    • Price Range (Fed + State)

      $0 - $76

    • Mobile App

      Yes

    • Live Support

      Yes

We wanted to like TaxSlayer; we really did. But because its user interface is just so unappealing, we just can’t recommend them like we can recommend the other tax software in this list.

That said, TaxSlayer is the most patriotic of all the tax software programs as it lets military personnel file their federal return, no matter how complex, for free while paying only $29.95 for their state return.

So if you’re a veteran who is willing to put up with a bit of frustration while preparing your return, you may be able to save some money by going with TaxSlayer.

Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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