6 Best Tax Software Programs of January 2024 – Newsweek Vault (2024)

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Best Online Tax Software of 2023

Best Tax Software Overall


6 Best Tax Software Programs of January 2024 – Newsweek Vault (1)


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Why We Chose It

Intuit TurboTax offers a robust selection of tax preparation services, including do-it-yourself plans for taxpayers with all levels of complexity, live assisted tax filing help and full-service tax preparation. The range of plans available through TurboTax help consumers choose the exact level of service and tax preparation assistance they need or want to pay for.


  • Broad selection of tax preparation help
  • Affordable plans starting at $40
  • Guaranteed to maximize deductions and refunds


  • Full-service plans can be costly
  • State tax returns add additional costs
  • Free version is limited

Best Guarantees


6 Best Tax Software Programs of January 2024 – Newsweek Vault (2)


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Why We Chose It

TaxAct offers a range of tax preparation services geared to consumers who want to do most of the work themselves with the option for live expert help. Not only does the company guarantee you’ll get the maximum refund amount you’re legally entitled to, but its accuracy guarantee is backed up with $100,000.


  • Broad selection of plans
  • TaxAct pledges $100,000 to fix mistakes
  • Lower cost than some other software companies


  • No full-service option available
  • Expensive per-state filing
  • No audit guarantees

Best Free Option

H&R Block

6 Best Tax Software Programs of January 2024 – Newsweek Vault (3)

H&R Block

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Why We Chose It

H&R Block’s free tax filing software includes both federal and state tax returns at no cost. The free version even incorporates easy W-2 importing, child tax credits, the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and the student loan interest deduction.


  • Broad range of services available
  • Affordable plans for do-it-yourself filers
  • 100% accuracy, maximum refund and audit support guaranteed


  • Potential for high costs for full-service help
  • Full-service plans require an extra fee for state taxes
  • Minimal online assistance with DIY options

Best Budget Option


6 Best Tax Software Programs of January 2024 – Newsweek Vault (4)


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Why We Chose It

TaxSlayer offers lower cost tax preparation options than most of its competitors, including a completely free option with both federal and state returns included. A free federal state tax return option for military members is also available.


  • Low-cost and free tax filing services
  • Maximum refund and 100% accuracy guarantees
  • Option to pay for software from your tax refund


  • Lower tier plans do not include online support
  • No full-service option
  • Free version for basic returns only

Best for Early Refund Loans

Jackson Hewitt

6 Best Tax Software Programs of January 2024 – Newsweek Vault (5)

Jackson Hewitt

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Why We Chose It

Jackson Hewitt is easy to use and has an option for an early refund loan, which is accessible before your taxes are even filed. It also offers just one option for do-it-yourself tax preparation, which costs $25 for both federal and state returns. Full-service tax preparation is also available to those who want to drop off their forms or work with a tax professional in person.


  • Early refund loan option
  • Just $25 for federal and state returns
  • Maximum refund and 100% accuracy guarantees


  • Early refund loan charges a high interest rate
  • Can’t import a prior year’s return from a competitor
  • Full service tax preparation requires a branch visit

Best for Simple Returns

Cash App Taxes

6 Best Tax Software Programs of January 2024 – Newsweek Vault (6)

Cash App Taxes

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Why We Chose It

Cash App Taxes (formerly Credit Karma Tax) is a good option for simple returns. It’s free to use for both federal and state taxes. This option can work well for people who are comfortable using a mobile app to file their taxes, but it’s best for simple returns based on W-2 income without any major complications.


  • Federal and state taxes included
  • Maximum refunds and accuracy guaranteed
  • Get your refund six days sooner in the app


  • Can only upload previous year’s returns from Credit Karma Tax
  • Must have a Cash App account
  • For basic returns only

A Closer Look at the Best Tax Software

Best Tax Software Overall: Intuit TurboTax

Intuit TurboTax software plans include a Basic product with step-by-step instructions for preparing a tax return ($40), a Deluxe plan geared to people who want to maximize deductions ($70), a Premier plan for taxpayers who have investments and rental property ($105) and a Home & Business software package for self-employed individuals who need to file both personal and business taxes ($120).

The company also offers live-assisted tax filing help and full-service tax preparation services if you want to hand off your returns to a professional. Plans come with several important guarantees, including a maximum refund guarantee, an accuracy guarantee, an audit guarantee and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. TurboTax also offers a refund advance loan of up to $4,000 after the IRS accepts your return with $0 loan fees and no interest. Other terms apply.

ServiceCostMain Features
TurboTax Free$0Step-by-step assistance
Ideal for W-2 income
Maximize tax credits for dependents
TurboTax Basic$40Step-by-step assistance
Ability to import financial data, including W-2s
Import last year’s data from TurboTax and other tax software
Guides you through latest tax laws
U.S. based TurboTax product support
TurboTax Deluxe$70Everything in Basic, plus:
1 state tax return included
Walk through of 350+ tax deductions and credits
Audit risk meter
TurboTax Premier$105Everything in Deluxe, plus:
Additional help with taxes on investments
Tips to maximize next year’s refund
Additional guidance on rental property taxes
Retirement tax help and IRA tool access
TurboTax Home & Business$120Everything in Premier, plus:
Additional help with small business and self-employed tax deductions
Help with new business start-up taxes
Create and e-file W-2s and 1099s for employees and contractors using Quick Employer Forms
TurboTax Live Assisted$0 to $169Connect with live tax experts who can answer your questions and fix mistakes
Accuracy and maximum refund guaranteed
Final expert review
TurboTax Full Service$169 to $359Tax preparation expert files your taxes for you
Connect with live tax experts who can answer your questions and fix mistakes
Audit support
Accuracy and maximum refund guaranteed

Who this software is best for: Intuit TurboTax can work well for nearly any type of taxpayer, from individuals with basic returns to small business owners and freelancers. The software company’s live-assisted and full-service tax preparation services also help it stand out in a sea of companies that offer do-it-yourself tax help.

Best Guarantees: TaxAct

TaxAct also offers a range of tax preparation services that can work for do-it-yourself filers up to those who want expert advice. The cost of its plans ranges from $0 for consumers who have basic returns up to $64.99 for self-employed consumers and freelancers. Plans that feature live tax advice from tax professionals also follow the same format with higher costs that range from $34.99 to $104.98.

The company also stands out due to its specific guarantees. These include a maximum tax refund guarantee and an accuracy guarantee worth up to $100,000.

ServiceCostMain Features
TaxAct Free$0 ($39.99 additional for state)
$59.99 with live advice ($39.99 additional for state)
Works for W-2 income, retirement income, unemployment income
Incorporates child tax credits
Earned income credits
Free account and technical support
TaxAct Deluxe$24.99 ($44.99 additional for state)
$84.98 with live advice ($44.99 additional for state)
Everything in free plan, plus:
Import tax returns from previous years
Help with additional deductions and credits for dependents, students, adoption, mortgage interest, real estate taxes and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
TaxAct Premier$34.99 ($44.99 additional for state)
$94.98 with live advice ($44.99 additional for state)
Everything in the Deluxe plan, plus:
Help with investments the same of a home
Rental property incomeRoyalty & Schedule K-1 income
Foreign bank & financial accounts
Income reported on 1099-K
1099-K expenses from third party fees & other expenses
TaxAct Self-Employed$64.99 ($44.99 additional for state)
$124.98 with live advice ($44.99 additional for state)
Everything in the Premier plan, plus:
Freelance income, including 1099-NEC
Business & farm income
Personalized business deductions
Calculate depreciation
Year-round planning resources

Who this software is best for: TaxAct is best for taxpayers who want a low-cost way to prepare their tax returns but are willing to do the work themselves, with or without live help.

Best Free Option: H&R Block

H&R Block offers a free tax preparation software option that includes both federal and state returns. Taxpayers can also opt for a Deluxe plan, a Premium plan or a Premium & Business plan for $25 to $89 if they want to take on the work of filing on their own with a program that walks them through the process step-by-step.

H&R Block also offers full-service tax preparation that can take place virtually with the option to work with someone in a local office if you prefer.

ServiceCostMain Features
H&R Block FreeFreeEasy W-2 importing Federal and state taxes included
Works for students with student loan interest to deduct
Works for those with unemployment income (Form 1099-G)
Covers Earned Income Credit (EIC) and child tax credit
H&R Block Basic$25+Federal taxes only
Includes 5 federal e-files
Real-time refund results
H&R Block Deluxe + State$49Everything in the Basic plan, plus:
One state return included
Federal and state returns in one place
Itemized deductions
H&R Block Premium$75Everything in Deluxe + State plan, plus:
One state return included
Built for complex taxes, like 1099s
Covers rental property income and expenses
H&R Block Premium & Business$89Everything in the Premium plan, plus:
One state return included
Personal and business taxes in one place
Easy expense tracking
H&R Block Full ServiceStarting at $89 + additional fees for state returnsUpload tax information with any device of your choosing
Connect virtually with your tax professional
Works for both personal and business tax returns

Who this software is best for: The free version from H&R Block includes both federal and state tax returns, so it’s the best choice for consumers who want to keep costs down. Paid plans from H&R Block are also highly rated and worth consideration if you want to use intuitive and helpful software.

Best Budget Option: TaxSlayer

TaxSlayer offers a range of affordable tax filing options, including a free version that includes federal taxes and one state return. The software provider even offers a free tax preparation software option for military members, which is identical to its Classic software option for civilians. It also comes with maximum refund guarantee and a 100% accuracy guarantee.

ServiceCostMain Features
TaxSlayer Free$0Basic 1040 tax return
Includes federal and one state return
Upload returns from prior years
Includes student loan interest deduction and education credits
Phone and email support
Military File for Free$0 (+$39.95 for per state)E-file your 1040 with all income types
All credits and deductions covered
Includes IRS inquiry assistance
Import your W-2s and 1099s for fast filing
TaxSlayer Classic$22.95 (+$39.95 per state)E-file your 1040 with all income types
All credits and deductions covered
Includes IRS inquiry assistance
Import your W-2s and 1099s for fast filing
TaxSlayer Premium$42.95 (+$39.95 per state)Everything in Classic plan, plus:
Priority support​Unlimited help from a tax pro
IRS audit assistance included​
TaxSlayer Self-Employed$52.95 (+$39.95 per state)Everything in Premium plan, plus:
1099 & Schedule C support​​Also works for W-2 income
Audit defense
Tax payment reminders

Who this software is best for: Because TaxSlayer doesn’t offer full-service tax preparation, this software is best for do-it-yourself filers who want to maximize their refund while paying as little as possible to file this year.

Best for Early Refund Loans: Jackson Hewitt

Jackson Hewitt offers both do-it-yourself tax preparation and full-service tax preparation from a tax pro. But full-service help from a professional requires a visit to a Jackson Hewitt office to drop off information or work with the pro firsthand. Jackson Hewitt also offers just one do-it-yourself tax preparation option for $25.

The company also offers a maximum refund guarantee, a 100% accuracy guarantee and a satisfaction guarantee. Individuals who need access to part of their refund early can also visit a local office for an Early Refund Advance of up to $1,000. An extra $250 to $6,500 can also become available with a No Fee Refund Advance loan after January 1st.

ServiceCostMain Features
Jackson Hewitt Online Return$25 flatFederal and state returns included
Online chat with a tax pro
Seamlessly download your W-2s and employer info
Automatically checks for errors
Supports all major IRS forms and schedules
Tax tools included
Jackson Hewitt File with a ProVariesDrop off your return and go
Option to file with a tax pro in-office
Supports all major IRS forms and schedules

Who this software is best for: Jackson Hewitt works best for consumers who want to file a fairly basic return (both federal and state) for a flat fee of $25. People who live near a Jackson Hewitt branch and want the chance at an early refund loan can also benefit.

Best for Simple Returns: Cash App Taxes

Cash App Taxes (formerly Credit Karma Tax) is offered through a money transfer and investing app called Cash App and is geared to people with simple returns. Tax filing is free with the app, and it promises the maximum refund amount you are legally entitled to. There are no hidden fees to file state or federal tax returns, and free audit defense is included.

The entire process can be completed on your phone or mobile device, and you can even deposit your refund into your Cash App account and get it up to six days early.

ServiceCostMain Features
Cash App Taxes$0Federal and state returns included
Snap a picture of your W-2
Maximum refund guarantee

Who this software is best for: Cash App Taxes is best for people with simple returns who want to file their taxes for free with the help of a mobile app.

What is Tax Software?

Tax software is a type of software that aims to help consumers prepare and file their tax returns regardless of the complexity of their financial situation. While all the best online tax software comes with different features and functions, these programs aim to walk consumers through the tax preparation process step-by-step to accurately assess tax liability while maximizing available deductions and credits.

Most tax software programs are available on desktop, and some also come with a mobile application. Tax software providers typically offer a limited free option, but tax returns with added complexity like investment income, real estate income, and self-employment or business income require plans with higher costs. While tax software programs are made to help people file taxes on their own, most offer some type of ongoing support via the telephone, live chat or video.

How Does Tax Preparation Software Work?

Tax preparation software providers can offer different features with each of their plans, but they all work in the same general way. Here’s an overview of what you can expect once you pick the best online tax software for your situation:

Tax preparation software comes in two different formats:

  • Intuitive, interview-based software: The best online tax software typically follows an interview-based format where consumers are asked questions about their finances and personal life. The answers provided are then used to build out completed tax returns while maximizing available credits and deductions. This type of tax preparation software is geared to people who are inexperienced with taxes, yet it can eliminate the need to hire a tax professional to help file basic to complex tax returns.
  • Form-based software: This type of software essentially moves through various IRS forms and has taxpayers fill out their data along the way. This type of program is less intuitive and works best for consumers who are knowledgeable about taxes and the various forms they need to use.

Common features to expect:

  • Access to previous years’ returns: Many tax software providers let users upload tax returns from previous years, even if they filed with a competitor. Since some information may be the same from one year to the next, this feature can help reduce the amount of time required to file.
  • Accuracy guarantees: The best tax software providers offer accuracy guarantees that mean they stand by the returns they create. Some accuracy guarantees are even backed up with a dollar amount, meaning the tax software company will foot the bill for their own mistakes (up to limits).
  • Credits and deductions: Tax preparation software is specifically designed to help consumers take advantage of available deductions and credits they’re eligible for, including child tax credits and deductions for student loan and mortgage interest.
  • Easy uploading of documents: The best software programs let users automatically upload documentation for their returns, including W-2s and other forms.
  • Electronic filing: These programs e-file taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and individual states. This method can help reduce errors while speeding up processing times.
  • Federal and state returns: Tax preparation software is made to file both federal and state returns, although returns for individual states can trigger additional per-state filing fees.
  • Guaranteed maximum refunds: The best tax preparation software 2024 comes with a guarantee that you’ll get the maximum refund amount you’re eligible for.
  • Ongoing support: These software programs all offer some type of support over the phone or via email or live chat. Some premium tax preparation software options also offer live video chat with a tax professional.

Tax Software Pros and Cons

The best tax preparation software can help the average person file taxes on their own without the help of a tax professional. But these plans have their share of advantages and disadvantages that vary by program.


  • Can be affordable: Tax software programs can be free for basic returns. Even plans that require a fee can cost as little as $25 or less to file both state and federal returns.
  • User-friendly formats: Most of the best tax preparation services come in an interview-style format that lets users build their returns by answering questions about their financial situation.
  • Guarantees: These programs tend to offer a range of guarantees for accuracy, satisfaction and maximum refunds.
  • Maximum convenience: Filing taxes with a software program lets you skip visiting an office in person and prepare your taxes at your own pace.
  • Audit support: Some tax software companies stand behind their work and offer guaranteed audit support if you need it.


  • Potential for errors: Computer software may be more prone to errors than having a tax professional prepare your return by hand.
  • Less personalized assistance: Filing online can leave you wishing you had a tax professional in your corner and helping you through the process, even if you have access to assistance via live chat or over the phone.
  • No in-depth tax planning: Tax preparation companies help you file your taxes based on this year’s information, but they don’t look ahead to help you plan for taxes in the future like a CPA can.
  • Software options vary widely: Programs and their features are all over the place. This means you’ll have to compare a range of tax preparation options to find the right fit.
  • Not for overly complex tax situations: Finally, keep in mind that tax preparation software works best for people who don’t have layers of complexity in their financial lives. In those scenarios, working with a CPA or tax professional will leave most people better off.

How to Choose a Tax Software Program

Make sure to compare options based on the factors that matter most. The main features to keep in mind include the following:

  • Cost for federal and state returns: Compare tax prep software options based on their costs, keeping in mind whether you need basic help only or access to a program with more features and benefits. If you only have W-2 income or your return should be as simple as possible, look for the best free tax software options.
  • Complexity of your return: Look at plans that offer the features you need, whether you have a basic return or you need help filing multiple state returns or maximizing credits and deductions for real estate or a small business.
  • Access to personalized assistance: Make sure programs you’re considering offer the amount of assistance you think you’ll need, whether you are okay with phone support or you want access to a tax professional via live chat at all times. You can also look for companies that offer full-service tax preparation in-person or online.
  • Guarantees available: Make sure you choose an option with guarantees that give you peace of mind. These can include 100% accuracy guarantees, maximum refund guarantees and satisfaction guarantees.

Do I Need to Pay Someone to Do My Taxes?

It can make sense to pay a professional for personalized help in any situation, even if you’re just short on time or energy to file taxes on your own.

Other situations where hiring a CPA or tax professional include:

  • Complex tax situations
  • Help with in-depth tax planning
  • Assistance filing business tax returns
  • Filing taxes after big life changes (like marriage, divorce or having a child)

Fortunately, many of today’s best tax software companies let you hire a tax professional that can complete your return virtually. This can help you save time and mental energy and avoid spending time in a tax preparation office.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Tax Preparation Companies Offer the Best Options in 2024?

The best tax preparation software companies of 2024 include Intuit TurboTax, TaxAct, H&R Block, TaxSlayer and Jackson Hewitt. Each of these providers offers filing options for state and federal taxes, and many feature plans that work for tax situations with any layer of complexity.

What Is the Best Free Tax Software for 2024?

H&R Block has an excellent free option for 2024 that includes both federal and state tax returns plus many of the most popular deductions and credits available today. Cash App Taxes is another free option that can work well for very basic returns.

Where Can I Get a Tax Refund Loan?

Several tax preparation companies are offering tax refund loans in 2024, although some are offered before your taxes are filed and others are only available after you file. Companies offering these loans include Intuit TurboTax, Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block, to name a few.

I'm an expert in tax preparation and online tax software, and I have a deep understanding of the concepts discussed in the article. My expertise includes various tax software options and their features, as well as the considerations one should keep in mind while choosing tax software. I can provide insights into the pros and cons of different tax software programs and guide individuals on selecting the best option based on their specific needs.

Now, let's delve into the information provided in the article:

1. Intuit TurboTax:

  • Offers a range of plans, including Basic, Deluxe, Premier, Home & Business, Live Assisted, and Full Service.
  • Guarantees maximum deductions and refunds.
  • Provides live-assisted tax filing help and full-service tax preparation.
  • Offers a free version with step-by-step assistance.

2. TaxAct:

  • Provides a variety of plans, including Free, Deluxe, Premier, and Self-Employed.
  • Guarantees the maximum refund and offers an accuracy guarantee of up to $100,000.
  • No full-service option available, but lower cost plans for do-it-yourself filers.

3. H&R Block:

  • Offers a free tax filing software that includes federal and state returns.
  • Provides affordable plans for do-it-yourself filers with 100% accuracy and maximum refund guarantees.
  • Full-service tax preparation available, including virtual options.

4. TaxSlayer:

  • Offers lower-cost tax preparation options, including a free option for basic returns.
  • Guarantees maximum refund and 100% accuracy.
  • No full-service option, and lower-tier plans do not include online support.

5. Jackson Hewitt:

  • Provides an option for an early refund loan.
  • Offers both do-it-yourself tax preparation and full-service tax preparation.
  • Charges a high-interest rate for early refund loans.

6. Cash App Taxes:

  • Formerly Credit Karma Tax, suitable for simple returns.
  • Free to use for federal and state taxes, best for W-2 income without major complications.
  • Maximum refunds and accuracy guaranteed.

The article also provides a closer look at each tax software, detailing costs, main features, and who each software is best for. It covers categories such as Best Tax Software Overall, Best Guarantees, Best Free Option, Best Budget Option, Best for Early Refund Loans, and Best for Simple Returns.

Additionally, the article explains what tax software is, how tax preparation software works, and the pros and cons of using tax software. It concludes with information on how to choose a tax software program based on factors such as cost, the complexity of the return, access to personalized assistance, and available guarantees.

Feel free to ask if you have any specific questions or if you need further clarification on any aspect of tax software and preparation.

6 Best Tax Software Programs of January 2024 – Newsweek Vault (2024)
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