Best Tax Software for 2020

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Tax season is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to get organized and ready to prepare this year’s taxes. Many people have mixed emotions about this time of year, however. While some people look forward to receiving their tax returns each year, others stress about ensuring they’ve calculated their deductions properly to minimize how much they owe each year.

Regardless of how stressful or care-free preparing your taxes may be, using tax software to organize your income and expenses is a great way to ensure you’re filing correctly and minimizing the amount you owe each year. The great thing is that there are many tax software solutions to choose from, each of which has its own unique benefits.

Below we’ve reviewed the top four best tax software options available and have given you the information you need to pick the right solution for you.

Turbo Tax
Turbo Tax
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H&R Block
H&R Block
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TaxAct
TaxAct
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The 4 Best Tax Software of 2020

TurboTax: Best for maximizing refunds

H&R Block: Best overall free filing options

TaxAct: Best budget option

TaxSlayer: Best overall pricing

Company Free Filing Option? Starting Federal Filing Price Starting State Filing Price Customer Service
TurboTax Yes $39.99 $39.99 24/7 live support
H&R Block Yes $29.99 $36.99 Live chat and phone support
TaxAct Yes $29.95 $9.99 Email and phone
TaxSlayer Yes $17 $9.99 Email and phone

The 4 Best Tax Software of 2020

TurboTax: Best for maximizing refunds

TurboTax is one of the most well-known and reputable tax programs available. For years now, taxpayers have relied on Intuit TurboTax to provide them with easy step-by-step instructions on how to prepare and file their taxes. Although it comes with a hefty price point when compared with other tax programs, TurboTax is hands-down, one of the most comprehensive options available when looking to maximize your deductions and ensure your taxes are done right. Another unique feature of the program is known as TurboTax Live, which allows filers to receive live on-demand video support during every aspect of the filing process.

H&R Block: Best overall free filing options

H&R Block is a close runner up to TurboTax and has been a direct competitor for many years. H&R Block is another great tax software program that offers a variety of special benefits and features that help filers maximize their tax deductions and returns. H&R Block offers one of the best free filing options available and includes several high-level features at no cost. H&R Block also makes it incredibly easy for filers to use whatever method they prefer when filing their taxes, whether online, in-person, through software or on their mobile devices.

TaxAct – Best budget option

TaxAct is another leading provider of digital and download tax programs that provides much more affordable options than pricer solutions like TurboTax and H&R Block. TaxAct uses a more straightforward design when navigating tax forms and implementing planning tools. While TaxAct may not be as flashy as competitive products, it’s preparation steps are more responsive and, in some cases, easier to use. Another unique feature of TaxAct is its Price Lock Guarantee. Many tax software programs employ a “bait and switch” pricing format that sells you one set of costs at the start of your return and a different set at the end of your filing process. TaxAct guarantees that you will pay the product price, including any options you’ve selected at the start of your return, and will reimburse you the difference otherwise.

TaxSlayer – Best overall pricing

TaxSlayer is another tax software program and is one of the best solutions available for any user wanting an affordable pricing option for their tax filing services. TaxSlayer offers a basic free program along with four other filing solutions depending on how complex your filing needs are. TaxSlayer lets tax filers choose one of two different ways to file — quick or traditional. Traditional filing is a more guided user experience and walks you through every aspect of your tax preparations. Quick filing is an excellent solution for users who have very minimal filing requirements and few or no deductions to factor in. Each plan comes with TaxSlayer’s 100% accuracy guarantee on your return and will protect you in the event you’re required to pay federal or state penalties.

What is a tax software program?

Filing taxes can be a complicated process, especially if you are self-employed or run a small business. Understanding your filing requirements and finding the right forms to file can quickly become challenging, especially when many of them change yearly. A tax software program significantly reduces the amount of time it takes to prepare and file taxes year after year by walking you through every step of the filing process and automatically downloading and using the most current government tax forms. Tax programs also use intelligent processes to identify your unique tax requirements and find ways for you to maximize your tax deductions and give you the very best tax refund possible.

How should I choose the right tax software program?

While all tax software programs follow the same procedure when filling government-specific tax forms, the methods used and features offered vary among programs. When choosing which tax software program that’s right for you, it’s important to understand your own unique tax situation. In most cases, users who have very basic filing requirements should feel comfortable looking for more affordable solutions without the need for many bells and whistles. However, if you own your own business, have investments, have recently purchased a home or have dependents, it’s important to analyze the benefits and features the program offers to help you maximize your deduction year over year. In many of these cases, it may also be beneficial to find a tax software program that offers a suite of support services to ensure you’re fulfilling all filing requirements while minimizing the chance of penalties or fees.

The bottom line

Tax preparation and filing doesn’t have to be a complex process. In fact, by investing in the right tax software programs, completing your taxes could lead to a much higher return than you thought you would be eligible for. While TurboTax and H&R Block lead the charge as the most popular tax solutions available, there are several other options available with a variety of cost structures and benefits to choose from. By doing an assessment of your tax needs and researching the different features of multiple tax software programs, you can find the solution that’s right for you and one that streamlines your tax filing process.

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