By: Eric Rosenberg
Updated: March 21, 2019
Tax season comes around every April whether we’re ready or not. Rather than waiting until the last minute, the best approach is to start filing your taxes early so you have plenty of time to get everything wrapped up without the stress of a looming deadline.
Using the little computer in your pocket — aka your smartphone — or any laptop or desktop computer, you can do your taxes yourself online. Here’s a look at the best online tax filing services in the U.S. so you can choose the best option for your needs.
Best Online Tax Filing Service for Features: TurboTax
TurboTax is the leader in online tax preparation. With roughly 70% of the market, it’s popular for good reason: This is one of the most robust and fully featured tax preparation suites out there. You can file personal and business taxes online for just about every possible situation with only one notable exception: You cannot file S-Corp taxes online with TurboTax if you own that kind of business. Otherwise, it has pretty much every situation covered.
TurboTax also has an easy and intuitive interface, great online and phone support options, and added support for audits if you have a need. Some filers may be able to file their federal returns free with TurboTax as part of the IRS Free File program; even your state tax return can be free.
While it isn’t the cheapest, TurboTax is the best. If you want the most features and the best user experience, TurboTax is the winner.
Best Online Tax Filing Service for Value: TaxAct
TaxAct is tax filing software with a great reputation and long history. It long held the third slot in the online tax filing wars for market share, but that doesn’t make it a third-class product. TaxAct does a great job balancing features and price to offer the best value when it comes to paid online tax filing services.
TaxAct can handle most filing scenarios for personal and business needs and is the only major online tax filing platform to offer S-Corp support. The app recently underwent a major update that makes filing easier and faster and can help you feel more confident that your taxes are accurate.
As with TurboTax, some filers may be able to file their federal returns free as part of the IRS Free File program, but state filing fees still apply.
If you want to get a luxury experience with a more affordable price tag, TaxAct is a great choice.
Best Online Tax Filing Service for In-Person Support: H&R Block
Best known for its storefront tax preparation services that dot cities across America, H&R Block also offers a great platform for online tax filing on your own. The software is generally easy to use and comes with a competitive price tag. The biggest benefit over others is the option to get an in-person tax review before submitting.
Most people should be able to do their own taxes online without any issues. If you worry about getting stuck or just want an expert review before you click “Submit,” H&R Block is best. It offers an upgrade option to work with a human tax specialist at a local office as part of your online tax filing service. That hybrid option is a nice backup plan for people to have… just in case.
H&R Block also offers free federal income tax return filing as part of the IRS Free File program, and even your state tax return can be free.
If you want to do your taxes online but want the option to work with a human at a physical office as a Plan B, H&R Block is your best bet.
Best Free Online Tax Filing Service: Credit Karma
Credit Karma is known as a site to get a free credit score, but a few years ago it added a free tax preparation service as well. Credit Karma Tax is free for your personal tax filing at the state and federal level for all users. Yes, you read that right: Credit Karma Tax is completely free.
It doesn’t support some less-common scenarios, such as filing your taxes for multiple states in the same year. But for most people, including investors, landlords, and small business owners, Credit Karma Tax can do everything you need just fine.
If your primary concern is price, Credit Karma Tax is the best option.
With These Services, You Can Do Your Taxes Yourself
I always thought my taxes were complicated, and I hired a professional accountant from the time I was 16 until about five years ago. Then I got to the point where I realized that even someone with multiple businesses, multiple banks and investments and a handful of credits and deductions could still easily do their own taxes online.
While an accountant can take a lot of the work off of your shoulders, no one knows your finances better than you. If you want to save money and do your taxes on your own, any of these online tax filing services has you covered.