The tax deadline and start date have been announced, and if you haven’t started filing your taxes already, you’re probably starting to look for the cheapest and best tax software prep program online to e-file with.
If you’re locked in to a particular tax prep program you love, this may be an easy decision for you: find the right version for this year at the cheapest price (more on that below), and start filing. If you haven’t filed your own taxes, or are looking to make a switch, finding the best and cheapest tax software program online can get tricky.
For starters, the paid versions of various programs don’t align – even if they have the same name (i.e. “Deluxe” or “Premium”). You’ll want to review what forms are covered and meet your personal filing needs, based on how complex your filing is. And with free versions, the forms each program covers can be very limited, mostly focused just on basic 1040 only (and watch out for state filing fees!).
Additionally, no 2 programs have all of the same features. Tax advice support differs, audit protection differs, in-person support differs, data import differs, and so on.
So, what I’ve tried to do in this review is give you a quick and easy cost comparison breakdown of all federal and state filing costs, key features, limitations, and even a few special links with the largest available discounts (in the “Link to cheapest price” row below and discount promo codes section below that), so that you can get the cheapest tax software prices available.
Here’s my comparison of the cheapest and best tax software prep programs available online:
Comparison of the Cheapest & Best Tax Software Prep Online:
|Cost of Federal Returns (Standard Price):||Free: $0|
Tax-Pro Review (optional add-on):
"Live" (CPA-supported) versions:
|Simply Free: $0|
|Cost of State Returns (Standard Price):||Free: $0|
"Live" (CPA-supported) versions:
|Simply Free: $0|
|Comparison of Features Per Version:||Click here then "Open online tax filing products comparison"||Click here then "see all product details" and "tax forms"||Click here then "compare online products"||Click here||Review Credit Karma Tax here (1 version)||Click here to review|
|Free Federal Available to:||All filers, limited scope||All filers, limited scope||All filers, limited scope||All filers, limited scope||All filers, limited scope||All filers, limited scope|
|Free Federal Scope Limited To:||1040||1040||1040||1040||Most, but program does not cover many forms||All forms|
|Free State Available To:||All filers, limited scope||All filers, limited scope||All filers, limited scope||All filers, limited scope||All filers, limited scope||N/A|
|Free State Scope Limited to:||1040||1040||1040||1040||Most, but program does not cover many forms||N/A|
|Ability to Have a Tax Pro Review Online:||Yes, with "Tax Pro review" product||Yes, "live" versions||No||Yes, Premium, Self-employed, Ultimate versions||No||No|
|Link to Cheapest Price:||Get 25% off H&R Block here||Get up to $20 off Turbotax here||Get 20% off TaxAct here||Get 20% off Taxslayer here, with code "Offer20"||Create a free Credit Karma account here||Get the $0 or $6.99 version of FreeTaxUSA here|
The Cheapest Tax Software Prep (& Free Tax Software Prep):
If your goal is strictly to find the cheapest tax software available, H&R Block, Turbotax, TaxAct, Taxslayer, and Credit Karma each have at least 1 version that offers both free federal and state filing. The scope of these free offerings are very limited, however, as it usually only includes basic 1040 filing, with no added forms. For example, Credit Karma’s program does not cover many forms, and the other programs only cover basic 1040.
I really don’t recommend jumping at something just because it is “free” on the surface. Make sure you do your homework to find the best fit.
Tax Software Discount Coupon Promo Codes
If you’re looking to buy the best fit, here are some discount promo codes to utilize, in order to get the best price if you need to upgrade throughout the filing process. I have affiliate relationships with a number of these tax software programs, and they have provided me with special pricing that you can access at the links below. You are unlikely to find lower prices elsewhere.
- H&R Block: 25% off at link
- Turbotax: up to $20 off paid online versions at that link – ends 2/18/19
- TaxAct: 20% off at link
- Taxslayer: 20% off at link, with code “Offer20”
- Liberty Tax: 20% off at link
- eSmartTax: 20% off at link
- E-file.com: 30% off at link
The Best Tax Software Prep:
Cheapest is not always best – particularly when it comes to something as essential as filing your taxes.
- the broadest feature sets of all tax programs
- data imports
- prior year returns
- accuracy guarantees
- audit support (usually as an add-on)
- free live chat support
- the ability to have a tax professional personally review your return (for an added charge)
And if things get real crazy, H&R Block even has office locations for in-person reviews and support.
I’ve personally used these programs and highly recommend them. It’s hard to go wrong with them.
Happy filing to all!