‘Tis the season, you guys! No, not THAT season; tax season! Before you moan and groan, take a deep breath. We're here to help make filing a whole lot easier (and hopefully cheaper) with a few of the best free tax software options available.
Woo hoo! We can't wait to start filing our taxes… said no one ever. Look, we're friends here, so we won't sugarcoat it. Taxes kinda stink.
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Since there's no way around it, we're doing our part to make your tax season just a bit better. Why bust your budget when you just might be able to file those taxes for free? Whether they're perfect for first-time users or are just literally awesome, here are the top five best free tax softwares you should check out.
CREDIT KARMA: THE BEST FREE TAX SOFTWARE FOR ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS
While many free-file services don't offer the option to itemize deductions, Credit Karma does! So, if you don't plan to use the standard deduction, or you're self-employed, this may be your best bet. Here's what you should know about Credit Karma's tax software:
- Cost to File Federal & State Returns – This service is truly free! It's $0 to file both state and federal.
- Pros – Most tax services charge additional fees for audit protection. With Credit Karma, it's included for free. And they offer a maximum refund guarantee.
- Cons – Credit Karma does not offer live phone support for customer service, so if you encounter any issues, you'll need to connect with them via email and wait for a response.
Out of a possible five stars, Credit Karma earns 4.8 from its customers, so give them a look if you're looking for a new option this tax season!
H&R BLOCK: THE BEST FREE TAX SOFTWARE FOR SIMPLE RETURNS
You're probably already familiar with H&R Block. While they were once known for their brick-and-mortar stores (which they still have), they've branched out to offer all sorts of online services — including a free version of their tax software. If your return is straightforward, this is a great option! Here are a few quick facts about H&R Block's free tax software:
- Cost to File Federal & State Returns – Both state, and federal returns are free to file with H&R Block. If things get complicated, you can upgrade your plan for around $40 and access live support from a tax specialist.
- Pros – Filing is straightforward for most W-2 employees, and if you qualify for a refund, you can track it in real-time on their app!
- Cons – This isn't the best option if you do freelance work or need to add itemized deductions.
H&R Block's free version gets high marks from users, so it's definitely worth considering! Not a techie? Then this next option might be your fave.
TURBO TAX: EASIEST USER EXPERIENCE
If you're filing online for the best time and not the biggest fan of technology, TurboTax is the perfect option! Their free tax software is super intuitive and user-friendly. Here's what you need to know about TurboTax:
- Cost to File Federal & State Returns – Both are free to file with basic returns!
- Pros – The free version is only for uncomplicated returns, but this year, you can add unemployment tax forms free of charge (which is a nice bonus). To fill out your return, you just answer a series of questions, and the software handles all the paperwork. It's so easy!
- Cons – If you need extra help or find your return more complicated than you expected, the upgrade options are a bit pricey.
All in all, if you expect your return to be straightforward, this is an excellent option!
TAX ACT WILL HELP YOU GET THE MAXIMUM REFUND
TaxAct might not get as much publicity as some other free tax software, but users love the bare bones design and simple process. Here's what you should know about filing your taxes through TaxAct:
- Cost to File Federal & State Returns – Federal returns are free to file, but TaxAct charges $4.95 for state returns.
- Pros – If you need to come back to a section later, it's easy to skip around. And if you're a little overwhelmed by the whole process, they offer free tutorials, FAQs, and an easy-to-use knowledge base full of helpful articles. If you decide to upgrade your package, their premium features cost a lot less than the competition. They offer some of the best rates for freelancers looking to file online.
- Cons – Unlike some others, you have to pay a small fee to file your state return.
TaxAct is another excellent free option for straightforward returns and might be the best overall pick for self-employed or small business owners who need to pay to file.
IRS FREE FILE: THE BEST FREE TAX SOFTWARE FOR SENIORS
Okay, one last option, and this is especially for retirees and seniors. For seniors with an income of $72,000 or less each year, IRS Free File is the way to go. Here are the details:
- Cost to File Federal & State Returns – The cost to file the federal return is free. The fees for state filing vary, and some seniors are eligible to file for free.
- Pros – Geared towards older adults, this is a great option because it includes the new Form 1040-SR for seniors over age 65. It's straightforward to use and takes care of all the paperwork and calculations.
- Cons – The site can be a little overwhelming to navigate, which can be offputting to those who aren't tech-savvy.
Here's another quick tip just for the seniors! If you need help filling out or submitting your return, you may qualify for tax assistance through AARP. While you're at it, check out our tons of discounts for seniors!
Hopefully, these tips will help you save a little cash this tax season. Don't forget to file by April 15th!
Which tax software is your favorite? Drop a comment below and let us know!
Looking for more tips to keep your finances in order?
- Get out of debt in three simple steps with our free debt tracker!
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Good luck tackling those taxes!