Best Tax Software for Procrastinators

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Taxes are due in about a month. Sigh.

It’s fitting to review some of the more popular online tax programs, so you’ll know what’s available, and how to make an educated choice that best fits your needs.

The Advantages of Using Online Tax Software

1. Price

This is the biggest reason to utilize online tax programs. I already have to pay taxes. I’d like to save as much money as I can on the actual preparation of them. If you have someone to prepare your taxes, it begins at $100 to just walk in the door, and goes way up from there.

On the other hand, most online tax programs range between $10 and $100, with some online tax services filing your Federal taxes for free.

2. Speed

Once you’ve collected all of your tax related documents, sitting down and inputting everything into the online tax program is quick. Most can complete their taxes and e-file within a couple of hours. This can save you precious time.

3. Ease of Use

Great online tax software is extremely user friendly, making your preparation fast and easy to input information, complete and file.

4. Maximum Refund, Accuracy Guarantees and Audit Protection

The big online tax preparation programs like TurboTax and TaxACT offer “Maximum Refunds” and “Accuracy” guarantees, which state that they will cover any penalty on interest fees that could occur from any calculations errors. They also offer “Audit Protection” as an option, in case anything happens after filing.

Tax Software Reviews

Now that we are aware of the benefits of using online tax software, here are some of the highlights for the best programs currently available on the market.

1. TurboTax

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You’ve probably heard of or seen TurboTaxas it is one of the most popular online tax programs available. It also has a very polished and user friendly interface.

- If you’re filing just one W-2, then your Federal filing price is free, as TurboTax only charges fees for State filings

- Otherwise, Federal return filing price starts at $29.99, and combined with State returns, price for filings starts at $36.99

- TurboTax has the best support in automatic import of your W-2 and 1099 forms from payroll providers and financial institutions

- Audit support is average, in so far as you get downloadable help through the Audit Support Center, but no live help

If the majority tax return is close to last year’s return, then TurboTax will save you a lot of time, especially with the automatic import of your W-2 and 1099 forms.

Here’s where you can sign up: Turbo Tax

2. TaxACT Online

- Cheapest tax preparation overall with Federal filing starting at $9.99

- Audit support is average, in so far as you get downloadable help through the Audit Support Center, but no live help

- Even with the lower price, it is just as accurate as other online tax software

- Limited automatic import support

- Limited audit support

If you are simply looking for a cheap, but reliable online tax preparation software with no bells and whistles, then TaxACT is a good choice. If your taxes are complicated, then I’d go with another program, as TaxACT doesn’t offer a great amount of support.

Go here to sign up: TaxACT

3. H&R Block at Home Online

- Federal return filing price starts at $29.95, and combined with State returns, price for filings starts at $34.95

- Moderate import support for 1099s and W-2 (not as robust as TurboTax’s import options)

- Best free audit support, as this online software includes an H&R Block Enrolled Agent who will actually attend your audit in-person

If you’re one of those people that likes to “be sure” to sleep well at night, then H&R Block is a good option as you’ll know that you have a federally authorized enrolled agent who will help guide you through in the unlikely case that you are audited.

If you want to try out H&R Block you can sign up over here: H&R Block