Best Tax Software for 2020

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.

Lending Partner
E-File State Return
Deluxe Plan
Mobile App Rating
  • HR Block
    E-File State Return
    $44.99
    Deluxe Plan
    $159.98
    Mobile App Rating
    4.5/5
  • TurboTax
    E-File State Return
    $50.00
    Deluxe Plan
    $170
    Mobile App Rating
    4.6/5
  • TaxAct
    E-File State Return
    $54.95
    Deluxe Plan
    $109.95
    Mobile App Rating
    3.95/5
  • TaxSlayer
    E-File State Return
    $39.00
    Deluxe Plan
    $76.00
    Mobile App Rating
    4.6/5
In this article

    The 4 Best Tax Software of 2020

    Best overall free filing options – HR Block

    H&R Block is a close runner up to TurboTax and has been a direct competitor for many years.

    E-File State Return
    $44.99
    Deluxe Plan
    $159.98
    Mobile App Rating
    4.5/5
    SimpleScore
    3.4 / 5.0
    close
    SimpleScore HR Block 3.4
    Mobile App Rating 5
    Deluxe Plan Price 2
    State E-File Price 2
    Self-Employed File Price 3
    Support 5

    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.

    Best for maximizing refunds – TurboTax

    TurboTax is one of the most well-known and reputable tax programs available.

    E-File State Return
    $50.00
    Deluxe Plan
    $170
    Mobile App Rating
    4.6/5
    SimpleScore
    3.2 / 5.0
    close
    SimpleScore TurboTax 3.2
    Mobile App Rating 5
    Deluxe Plan Price 2
    State E-File Price 2
    Self-Employed File Price 2
    Support 5

    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.

    Best budget option – TaxAct

    TaxActis another leading provider of digital and download tax programs that provides much more affordable options than pricer solutions like TurboTax and H&R Block.

    E-File State Return
    $54.95
    Deluxe Plan
    $109.95
    Mobile App Rating
    3.95/5
    SimpleScore
    2.8 / 5.0
    close
    SimpleScore TaxAct 2.8
    Mobile App Rating 3
    Deluxe Plan Price 3
    State E-File Price 2
    Self-Employed File Price 3
    Support 3

    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.

    Best overall pricing – TaxSlayer

    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.

    E-File State Return
    $39.00
    Deluxe Plan
    $76.00
    Mobile App Rating
    4.6/5
    SimpleScore
    3.8 / 5.0
    close
    SimpleScore TaxSlayer 3.8
    Mobile App Rating 5
    Deluxe Plan Price 4
    State E-File Price 3
    Self-Employed File Price 3
    Support 4

    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.

    Best Tax Software of 2020: Summed Up

    CompanyFree Filing Option?Starting Federal Filing PriceState Additional Filing PriceCustomer Service
    H&R BlockYes$37.49$44.99Live chat and phone support
    TurboTaxYes$120$5524/7 live support
    TaxActYes$54.95$44.95Email and phone
    TaxSlayerYes$17$39Email and phone

    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.

    Methodology

    SimpleScore

    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best tax softwares of 2020.

    Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

    To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

    However, it’s also possible for brands to have multiple SimpleScores. For example, when we apply our methodology to Chase’s stock trading product, it scores a 3.6 out of 5. On the other hand, when we compare Chase checking accounts, it scores a 4.4 out of 5. this is because we each criterion for every category is different to account for different industry standards and product offerings.

    Questions about our methodology?

    Email Hayley Armstrong at hayley@thesimpledollar.com.

    Mobile app rating

    We took an average of Google Play Store and iOS Apple App Store ratings of each tax preparation company’s app and assigned aspect scores accordingly.

    Deluxe plan price

    Taxes are already not fun in the United States. What makes it worse is if you have to dish out hundreds of bucks to file your taxes. That’s why we award higher scores to brands with lower deluxe plan pricing.

    State return e-file price

    While most tax preparation softwares have free federal tax return filing, many more charge for each state e-file. While users can just print their state return and mail it in, that’s annoying. We award brands that charge less for state return e-filing.

    Self-employed price

    If you own a business or survive solely on freelancing, every dollar counts. That’s why we give out higher scores to brands that charge less for self-employed tax filing.

    Customer support

    Like we said, tax season is hard. That’s why we award brands with higher SimpleScores when they have multiple channels of support. When customers need help filing, it’s important to be able to reach out.