Tax Software Comparison

In this tax software comparison we compare TurboTax, TaxAct, TaxBrain and H&R Block TaxCut software programs for doing taxes.

TurboTax DIY Tax Program
The Editor Pick Editor's Pick

TurboTax DIY Tax Program

- Available online or as a CD
- Live Chat Assistance
- Error Checks
- Electronic Filing
- Phone Support
- Ease of use: Easy
- Well Known Brand

Avg. Price: $29.95

Learn More: Compare Prices on TurboTax

Tax Act Software

Tax Act Software

- Available online
- Ease of use: Moderate
- Electronic Filing
- Phone Support
- Helps with student loan applications
- Error Checks

Avg. Price: $16.95

Learn More: Buy TaxAct Deluxe

H&R Block Tax Cut

H&R Block Tax Cut

- Available online or as a CD
- Live Chat Assistance
- Electronic Filing
- Audit Defense
- Phone Support
- Error Checks
- Ease of use: Easy

Avg. Price: $34.95

Learn More: Compare Prices on TaxCut

TaxBrain 1040 Deluxe

TaxBrain 1040 Deluxe

- Available online
- Error Checks
- Phone Support
- Live Chat Assistance
- Web-based
- Ease of use: Moderate

Avg. Price: $29.95

Learn More: Go to TaxBrain

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What research says

Keep in mind that most of the tax software products in this comparison come in several different sizes. They start with "Free" for federal (they make money by charging for State) editions, which don't allow deductions and just submit a 1040EZ and go all the way up to professional editions for medium-sized businesses that include unlimited phone support with an accountant. The tax software versions in this comparison are all based on the mid-sized package for average Americans who have some deductions but not a business or large investements.

TurboTax is probably the most well-known DIY tax software on the market. Their support, features and ease of use is on par with H&R Block's product, but at a slightly lower price - which is still twice as much as some of the lesser-known competitors. With error checking, online support (and forums), phone support and electronic filing, TurboTax is a good deal for the money.

TaxAct Deluxe is a well-priced online tax preparation website for those who have fairly straight-forward taxes. While I wouldn't use it for small business taxes, TaxAct offers several convenient functions, such as error checking and help with federal college loan (FAFSA) worksheets. Although it comes with phone support, it lacks the standard live web chat offered by some of the other tax software programs in this comparison, and it takes a long time to complete over the web. Still, it's hard to beat the price.

H&R Block is one of the most well-known, trusted name in taxes. They leverage this brand awareness to charge more for their tax software, which is as much as twice the cost of some of their competitors we compare here. Included in the price of the software, however, is the "Worry-Free Audit Support", which protects you in the event of a tax audit. Combined with live chat assistance, phone support, error checks and an updated, easy to use interface, this all makes TaxCut Premium a solid tax software package.

TaxBrain charges a top-brand price for a mediocre web-based product. There isn't much on offer, other than Live Chat support, with TaxBrain that you couldn't get with TaxAct at half the price. Their "basic" online tax preparation version is about the same price as TaxAct's Deluxe version. One thing TaxBrain does have going for it though is the 100% calculation guarantee. But don't mistake this for something like H&R Block's audit support; TaxBrain only guarantees that its software won't make miscalculations.

Craig Larson said:

This is one of the more honest tax software comparisons I've seen online. Most of them are just thinly disguised landing pages trying to sell you on a certain product because they have a vested interest in selling you that particular piece of tax software. Thanks for a good review.

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