Although the market is full of outstanding solutions, to this day there are only two tax prep software providers that are synonymous with the term: TurboTax or H&R Block. This is not surprising at all, though, since both companies have been providing their services for decades now, helping taxpayers prepare tax returns with the utmost accuracy. But while nobody can question their experience, when it comes to their individual online tax prep programs there are plenty of differences that makes the choice between either of these companies a bit harder. As such it’s appropriate to compare these differences and finally put an end to this decade-long debate.
|Free Versions||Free Versions||Free Versions|
|Filing for Deceased|
|Previous Years' Returns|
|Covered Tax Topics|
|Forms & Attachments|
|Email Confirmation||Filing only|
|Software & Platforms|
|State Tax Price|
|IRS Audit Assistance||Free (Deluxe, Premier, Self-Employed)||$19.99|
|ID Theft Protection||Free (Deluxe, Premier, Self-Employed)||$14.99|
|Available Payment Methods|
TurboTax is often considered to be one of the best tax preparation solutions on the market – and seeing what it’s capable of, it definitely deserves that title. Not only does the software have a beautiful interface but it is also pretty intelligent too, down to the point that it conducts thorough interviews and takes time to explain everything as simply as possible. Granted, its data importing capabilities are far from ideal – particularly when it comes to processing returns created with competing services – but this issue is more than made up for it by including nice extras like its bookmarking tool, the ability to review multiple returns, or the built-in knowledge base that is complemented by a chatbot.
TurboTax also makes sure to maximize the total of the tax refund by examining all possible credit options, even going so far as to decide whether you’re better off with standard or itemized deductions. To make the deal even sweeter, TurboTax is extremely safe when it comes to data security thanks to features like the activity logger, two-factor authentication and, most importantly, the SSN validator.
While the insufficient live support options are an issue, the only real bummer is the fact that TurboTax’s services are one of the priciest on the market, ranging between $59.99 and $179.99 per product. Thankfully, however, there is a free version of TurboTax that not only provides the most essential features necessary for dealing with 1040EZ and 1040A forms, but it also comes with typically pay-only extras like IRS audit assistance.
Despite being one of if not the oldest tax preparation solution on the market, H&R Block has managed to stay on top by adapting to different needs, and there is no better proof of that than its online tax prep software. While the main features provide no surprises at all – although some of them are admittedly a little overcomplicated – it’s actually the smaller details that really sell this program. For instance, H&R always provides in-depth summaries of both federal and state returns alongside a brief and simple explanation of how the program came up with the refund amount. It’s the software’s data importing capabilities that are particularly useful, however, especially since it can accurately pull the necessary data out of any tax form that is uploaded to the MyBlock account and insert the information it gains into its appropriate place within the current form you’re working on. And it’s also possible to capture and process a W-2 form with a phone’s camera with the H&R Block app.
Thankfully H&R provides a free version, but in order to truly enjoy the software’s best features – including the deduction maximizer or unlimited tax expert support via chat – it’s necessary to upgrade to one of the paid solutions, its cheapest being Deluxe costing $49.99. Unfortunately, the prices of the main programs are fixed but some of the extra services can be unlocked at a discounted price.
The good news is that no matter which company is chosen in the end, both solutions are perfectly capable of putting together accurate returns in no time. As such, when it comes to picking one of them, it’s best to focus on the details that matter the most to you. For instance, if you’d rather have a program with a pleasant interface that is not only safe but also provides clever additional tools, then go for TurboTax. This company is also the best option for those who are looking to maximize their refunds or just simply want to be the interview process to be as straightforward as possible. However, if you prefer a cheaper solution that reduces manual input to the minimum and is capable of providing detailed feedback to taxpayers through its return summaries, then you should considering preparing your taxes with H&R Block’s online software.
Best Tax Software of 2020