The Best Tax-Preparation Software and Apps

Published On April 10, 2013 | App & Software

Tax season is coming to an end soon. You still have time to file your income taxes, but time is running out (federal income taxes are due to the Internal Revenue Service on or before Monday April, 15th). If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you may want to consider trying one of these at-home options to make filing your income taxes a breeze.

Tax-Preparation Software That Won’t Tax Your Patience or Your Wallet

There are a number of tax-preparation software programs available to allow you to easily file your state and federal income taxes on your home computer. The most popular  programs include TurboTax, H&R Block At Home and TaxAct.

TurboTax

TurboTax, made by leading software maker Intuit, allows you to easily enter your tax information and can even auto-populate names, addresses and federal ID numbers to speed up the process. The newest version of TurboTax has improved assistance features for when you get stuck trying to figure out what to fill out and where. With a simple click of the mouse, you can get assistance from tax professionals via phone call or online chat.

H&R Block At Home

H&R Block At Home allows you to easily fill out your tax forms with the added peace of mind that comes from working with H&R Block, a trusted name in tax preparation services. One big feature of using this software is that an H&R Block tax expert will represent you in the event of an audit from the I.R.S.

TaxAct

Of the three major tax preparation software programs, TaxAct is generally the least expensive. Unfortunately, it’s not available for use on Mac computers. TaxAct gets the job done, but it is less user friendly than TurboTax and H&R Block At Home. It’s an affordable, bare bones tax program.

The Best Tax-Preparation Apps for Smartphones and Tablets

There’s an app for everything, which also includes tax preparation. Many tax apps are free to download to your smartphone or tablet, but some require payment in order to file. TurboTax, H&R Block At Home and TaxAct all offer apps.

TurboTax App

The TurboTax app makes filling out your taxes incredibly easy. This app also works with an app called SnapTax which will fill out just about your whole tax return simply by scanning your W2.

H&R Block at Home App

The H&R Block At Home App allows you to e-file your taxes all from your iPad. If you’ve used H&R Block’s tax software before, your information will be stored for easy filing this year.

TaxAct App

Downloading the TaxAct app is free and so is preparing and printing your taxes. This app does require a fee to file your taxes, $15 which is about as cheap as it comes.

Tax-Assistance Apps

Even if you are using tax-filing apps or software, you may still need some help filing your taxes. Fortunately, there are many tax help apps available. Ask a CPA is a free app which allows you to get answers to your tax questions. Ask a CPA is best for those with simpler tax questions. For those with complicated or specific tax questions, My Pocket CPA offers more detailed and reliable answers. My Pocket CPA is free to download, but charges for answering questions.

You don’t have to pay a professional accountant or tax preparer. You can do your taxes at home with these useful tax-preparation programs.

— By Stephanie Willingham

Stephanie Willingham is a contributing writer for a variety of industry blogs. She has professional experience in the medical and financial fields.

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