What Are the Ten Best Tax Prep Software for Advisors?
TurboTax by Intuit is the easiest to use and passed all of our tests. TurboTax costs a bit more than others for eFiling, but it is the easiest to use and even inexperienced tax filers can be assured that they will receive all deductions and credits that they are eligible for. They also have a new way to file a 1040EZ with your iPhone or Android phone called SnapTax, you just simply take a picture of your W-2 with your phone and answer a few questions to verify your information and instantly file your state and federal return for $14.99. This is the easiest way by far for 1040EZ filers to prepare their returns. TurboTax is offered as boxed software or you can use their online eFile services for State and Federal returns.
2. H&R Block
In addition to their stores, H&R Block also offers online and boxed software versions. The advantage to H&R Block is that the software is easy to use or if you are more comfortable talking to a tax preparer than preparing taxes on your own, they have over 11,000 tax offices across the United States that you can visit. H&R Block passed all of our tests and we like the fact that they have over 100,000 tax professionals available to answer your questions.
TaxACT is a great product. It is easy to use and offers low cost state filing and free 1040 filing. This tax service passed all of our tests. TaxACT can guide you through 30 life changes that can affect your tax status and it can calculate cash value for noncash charitable donations. There really is very little keeping this product from one of the top spots, we just found that TurboTax and H&R Block offer a bit more in terms of tax preparation instruction and guidance.
CompleteTax is on online tax service that can prepare all personal state and federal returns. This product has greatly improved but missed one of our top spots since it is a bit harder to use than the top three products and it missed one of our built-in errors. However, they do have some interesting price options that can benefit some. For example, if you used one of the top three products last year you can use CompleteTax to file your federal for free. If you received unemployment in 2010 you can file your federal for free. Or if you end up owing the IRS, you can file your federal for free. When we spoke with CompleteTax they said they really didnt want to add to someones burden, so they offer free federal filing to many.
TaxSlayer has moved up our list in the last few years and has greatly improved. They are an online service that can handle personal and small business taxes. TaxSlayer offers the lowest price for state eFiling and all active duty military can file their federal and state return for free using this service. This tax service caught all of our intentional errors, but we would like to see them offer a few more support options for those that might need it, such as free telephone or chat support. However, if you are comfortable with preparing your own taxes, this is a good low-priced option.
This tax service missed one of our top spots since we found it harder to use and it offers less guidance than its competitors. This service passed our tests but it does not explain everything as clearly as others and if you are not familiar with current tax law, you may miss some of the credits and deductions your are eligible for.
This service offers software and online versions and barely skated in under the wire, in that they updated their software with the new tax laws last minute. But we did look at their service before and after the tax law changes to make sure they made the updates they needed to make. OnePrice Taxes offers flat fee pricing, which is nice at only $7.95 each for state and federal filing. However, we found this online service harder to use than others and they offer very little online instruction or support.
8. OnLine Taxes
This tax service has just recently implemented some changes based on our review. They updated some of their help and support information and we anticipate some improvements in their user-ability soon. Though they are improving, they are not quite there yet, we would like to a few more helpful tools such as a refund meter, so you can see your estimated refund amount while preparing your return and free 1040EZ efiling would be nice to see.
9. Express Tax Refund
We ran into a few issues with this service, the first is that we noticed that some of their tax instructions were dated 2008 or 2009 rather than 2010 and they charge a lot more for filing, since they charge extra per form. They charge an extra $10 for things like itemized deductions and education tax credits. They also offer few support op