Which tax software is best?

I’ve been using taxact for a few years which has been ok but am curious if people think turbotax or other software is better. What do you use and why?

I think that depends on how complex your situation is…

This is my kids first tax filing year and we are using Cash App Taxes. Its free for the Federal and State returns and is a perfect choice for his situation.

Mine are not that complicated but i do now have a k1 form i need to fill out due to a trust past down to me when my wealthy grandfather died a few years ago. Its great to have the extra income but its all taxable unfortunately.

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I’ve used TurboTax Premier for years. It’s thorough and easy to use.

If you have investment income and rentals it’s a good choice.

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My taxes are more intricate, usually involving stocks, Schedule C small business, Schedule F Farm and Net Operating Loss Carry Forwards Decades ago I had a Tax guy do my complicated taxes which involved separating my business from personal items and assigning costs to preparation of land for crops, etc. He was from H&R block. I had been using Taxcut which is the same software he used, except he probably had a different version.

Prior to the next years taxes, I bought that years Taxcut and the coming year versions. I was able to easily put all his numbers into that version and then import it into the next year to continue filing myself.

I found one oddity. I was able to duplicate his numbers except one entry he reversed the fractions of a dollar on an item (54 cents vrs 45 cents) so there was a 9 cent difference. The software rounds up and down anyway.

I have not tried other versions of tax software. I like what is now H&R Block software. It has two ways of entering data. You can let the software ask you questions or you can use the shoebox where you take a receipt and tell the software what type it is (1099, donation, form from a stock sale, etc) and it opens up the appropriate form. One year I did my taxes both ways and came up with the same numbers, so I can do the Q&A and if I have some items not asked, I go to the shoebox.

Like some other states, I don’t use software for State filings and the numbers mostly come from the Federal form.

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Essentially no one has enough experience with more than one tax program to give an intelligent answer to this question. It’s the ultimate confusopoly, aided and abetted by your own government, which refuses to provide you with a convenient, accurate, and secure way to determine and pay your taxes.


…or a simplified tax code that would make everyone’s life easier…

That’s one way to achieve those goals (and probably the best way). But even setting up an online tax system like some states offer to their citizens would be ok, too. Telling us to pay someone else to use third-party software is entirely unacceptable, and why I file on paper.

Wait a minute! If we had a simplified tax code these guys would have to pay income tax!

So you are making my point for me…

Yes, it’s the result of our elected officials attempting to appease as many citizens as possible while maintaining a steady stream of incoming special-interest campaign contributions .

In recent years I have used H&R Block software. I really only need it for Federal - my state has a free online filing for most people, so that works for me. And state tax is, most of the time, simpler than federal taxes.

I pay $29.99 at Best Buy for HR Block Deluxe (Federal), or catch it on sale somewhere.

I have also used Tax Cut and Turbo Tax. All are very similar, but I’ve kind of settled on HRBlock.

I did try some of the supposedly “free” tax services listed on the IRS website several years ago. They were clunky and awful, and actually did my taxes wrong, so I never actually filed with them.

I really hope the IRS gets a good online filing system going, which will serve most regular folks!

My taxes are simple enough anymore that FreeTaxUSA works for me. I also do my parents taxes with them. I used TaxCut/HRBlock for decades, but don’t need enhanced features. I don’t have to file state taxes.

I’m glad the IRS is finally starting to roll its own filing system. Although I hear it’s a disaster right now, it will get there. I agree with others that it’s stupid for us to have to pay to file our taxes.

I used one of Free File tax programs you see on the IRS site. I went with OLT and it worked great for me last year. Tried Turbo tax ,“free version” but as I got toward the end of my paper work it kept wanting me to buy their paid version!!!

Yeah…I’m not putting a lot of faith in the IRS to ever do my taxes…

Yeah, maybe that idea isn’t as appealing as it first sounded.

I’m not clear that the IRS system is where they do your taxes – I took it to mean that people can file their own taxes online directly with the IRS – income, deductions, etc, but not that the IRS does your taxes.

My state has online tax filing for most people (within income limits, and for typical tax situations). I just enter all of my income/deduction/paid tax/other information. Based on that, the program calculates my taxable income and tax due. It’s really easy and fast.

If the new IRS system is like that, it’s a good thing for most people who have typical tax situations.

I’ve been doing my own taxes online for 20+ years now. Before that I did my own with the forms and mailing them.

I’ve used Taxact and Turbotax and found them both OK to use. The only complication I’ve had in the past few years is a carryover loss from a stock sale. Two years ago I switched to Free Tax found here https://www.freetaxusa.com/ and I’ve been very satisfied with it.

Two years ago, I moved to a state that has state income tax and I use them to do that as well. The federal return is easy with them. The state is more of a pain and the only one I had to interact with their online chat several times. It was still a pain but I suspect it is due to the fact that the tax law itself is too complicated. They did provide a link to the relevant law and I found it difficult. The only aspect that was an issue was the carryover loss.

Anyway, I found all of them fine to work with but will likely stick with Freetax for the foreseeable future.

NancyM, you said: “I really hope the IRS gets a good online filing system going, which will serve most regular folks!”

Your hope has been granted. Here is the link to the IRS Free-File program for all taxpayers, regardless of income:

You first set up an IRS account. Then you can go to the IRS free-file program and start entering your data. First put in data about you and your spouse(if applicable). Then you start with the forms with question-and answer methods, and also some fill-in forms. This years (2023) forms are much improved from 2022. There are still a few errors on some of the forms.

For example, Form 8995 Simplified Version is used to report Qualified Business Income (Section 199A income). But the online Form 8995 only contains the first 3 lines of the paper version. When.I used it, my return was first rejected by the IRS due to the missing data that would have been on the missing bottom part of that online form. I finally figured out that I would have to use the more complex Form 8995-A, (which was also available in the online package, and had the complete 3 pages of the paper version), EVEN THOUGH the IRS form instructions said to only use Form 8995-A if your joint income is above $362,000.

[quote=“NancyM, post:17, topic:4399”]
If the new IRS system is like that, it’s a good thing for most people who have typical tax situations.[/quote]
Yes, the IRS system is like that. You fill in your data, and the online form does most of the math calculations. Then you can do a temporary save of the entire package, allowing you to come back later to finish the other forms. Each year, the IRS adds more forms to the stable of IRS forms that can be filed on the IRS FreeFile site. Each year, the online forms become, in appearance, more like the paper forms, making it easier to understand where each data item goes. If an error is detected, a message pops up. When you finish all your needed forms, and have them filled in with no detectable errors, you can hit the Submit button and file the package free. The IRS will send a message saying your return has been received. Later when they do a computer evaluation, if no initial problems are found (missing W-2s, 1099-Rs, or empty boxes that should have been filled, or missing forms that should have been filled out), then you get a message saying that your return has been accepted and is under review. If you pass that, then you will either get a refund, or your payment will be deducted from you payment source.