Personal Finance

TurboTax Alternatives

TurboTax is one of the best-known tools for getting help with your tax preparation, but it’s just one of the many options out there.

Editor's Note

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

Every April, Tax Day rolls around like clockwork. For most people, filling out and filing tax returns isn’t a fun activity. However, that doesn’t make it any less important.

Because taxes can be so complicated, there are many programs designed to help people prepare and file their taxes. One of the best-known is TurboTax, but there are plenty of alternatives worth considering.

Best TurboTax Alternatives

Cash App Taxes

Cash App Taxes offers completely free tax filing for both federal and state taxes, making it one of the cheapest options available. There are no add-on services, so you know that you’ll never have to pay a penny for the service.

Cash App Taxes’ interface is easy to use and walks you through filling out your tax return by asking simple questions. The greatest drawback of the service is that its knowledge base doesn’t answer every question you might have while filing your taxes, so you may wind up doing some independent research to make sure you’ve filled everything out properly.

However, if you have simple taxes or have some experience with filing taxes, Cash App Taxes is a 100% free option for filing.

  • Online, downloadable, or in-person: Online
  • State and federal taxes: Yes
  • Cost: Free

Visit Cash App Taxes or read Cash App Taxes Review

H&R Block

H&R Block is a tax preparation company that was founded in 1955. The company has roughly 12,000 offices worldwide, each staffed by tax professionals that can help you prepare and file your tax return.

Like TurboTax, H&R Block offers both online and downloadable programs to prepare and file your own taxes. There are different levels of software available, with more complicated tax situations requiring more expensive software. For an additional fee, you can get virtual help from a tax professional, including screen sharing and voice or text-based chatting.

If you prefer to do things in person, H&R Block offers tax preparation services out of its many offices. You can work with a tax professional to do your taxes in person, drop off your documents for preparation, or work with a professional virtually to make sure that everything is properly filled out.

  • Online, downloadable, or in-person: All
  • State or federal taxes: Both, additional fees for state taxes
  • Cost: $0 - $149.98 + $36.99 per state filed

Visit H&R Block or read the full H&R Block Review

Liberty Tax

Liberty Tax, founded in 1998, is a tax preparation company that offers both online and in-person tax services.

Compared to TurboTax, LibertyTax aims to keep its product line simple. There are only three levels of service to purchase based on the complexity of your tax situation.

On top of tax preparation services, Liberty Tax offers a loan, called the Easy Advance. This is a loan based on the tax refund that Liberty Tax expects you to receive. The loan aims to, in effect, give you your tax refund ahead of schedule.

However, taking a loan can be dangerous. The company charges an expensive financing fee as part of the loan. You also have to consider that if you receive a smaller tax refund than expected, you still have to repay the full amount that you borrowed.

  • Online, downloadable, or in-person: Online, in-person
  • State or federal taxes: Both, additional fees for state taxes
  • Cost: $0 - $89.95 + $34.95 - $39.95 per state filed

Visit Liberty Tax or read the full Liberty Tax Review

TaxSlayer

TaxSlayer is a tax preparation and financial technology company founded in 1965. The company offers online tax preparation with multiple levels of service.

Though you have to pay more for complex tax situations, TaxSlayer tends to charge lower prices than most of its competitors. If you’re looking for a cheap tax preparation service but don’t like the experience offered by the free programs, this may be the right choice for you.

TaxSlayer, on top of its online filing software, offers a mobile app that you can use to work on your taxes while you’re on the go.

  • Online, downloadable, or in-person: Online
  • State or federal taxes: Both, additional fees for state taxes
  • Cost: $0 - $47 + $3 per state filed

Visit TaxSlayer or read the full TaxSlayer Review

FreeTaxUSA

FreeTaxUSA, as its name implies, is a free tax preparation service. Unlike competitors such as TurboTax, FreeTaxUSA is free to use for federal taxes, regardless of how complex your tax situation is. The company does have a few forms that it does not support, including non-resident alien forms, and forms for foreign employment income, but it supports all the forms required for the vast majority of taxpayers.

Though almost anyone can file for free with FreeTaxUSA, the company does offer one premium service: FreeTaxUSA Deluxe, which costs $6.99. This service comes with priority support, unlimited tax amendments, and audit assistance.

Filing your state taxes with FreeTaxUSA incurs an additional fee of $12.95.

  • Online, downloadable, or in-person: Online
  • State or federal taxes: Both, additional fee for state taxes
  • Cost: $0 - $6.99 + $12.95 per state filed

VisitFreeTaxUSA or read the full FreeTaxUSA Review

TaxAct

TaxAct is an online tax preparation company founded in 1998. It offers both online and downloadable software for preparing your tax return.

The service is comparable to TurboTax, offering different levels of service, with the cost increasing with the complexity of your tax situation. However, TaxActs software tends to be cheaper than the competition for federal taxes. The fee for state taxes is higher than the competition.

For an additional fee, you can get expert help with your tax preparation. Experts are available seven days a week and there is no limit on the number of times you can call for assistance.

  • Online, downloadable, or in-person: Online, downloadable
  • State or federal taxes: Both, additional fees for state taxes
  • Cost: $0 - $139.95 + $4.95 - $44.95 per state filed

Visit TaxAct or read the full TaxAct Review

How Did We Choose These TurboTax Alternatives?

There are many different tax preparation programs on the market, so it can be difficult to choose between them. We selected these alternatives to TurboTax based on a few factors.

One was the quality of the service they provide. Taxes are important and you want your tax return to be accurate. Working with a company that cant prepare and file your taxes properly is a bad idea, so we made sure these companies have a track record of accuracy.

Another is cost. Tax preparation can be expensive, so we looked for companies that charge reasonable fees and tried to find a mix of low-cost and more premium options.

Finally, we looked at the additional services that each preparer offers. Some people like having the option to work with a tax professional in person or over the phone. Others want to get their refund as quickly as possible. The more services each company offered, the better.

Read More: Best Tax Software Programs

FAQs

These are some frequently asked questions about tax preparation software like TurboTax and its alternatives.

Can you write off the cost of tax software?

In some cases, you may be able to write off the cost of tax software, but this deduction won’t apply to most people.

To be eligible, you must itemize your deductions and your total deductions must total more than 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income.

Do you have to pay to file your taxes?

No, you do not have to pay anything to file your taxes, even if you have a complex tax situation that most tax preparers will charge for. You can download every tax form you need from the IRS website, fill it out, and mail it to the IRS.

However, doing all of this work by hand is difficult. Tax preparation software aims to make filing taxes easier, which is why most people seek help with filing their taxes and are willing to pay the fees.

How long does it take to get a tax refund?

If you file your taxes and are owed a refund, how long it takes to get your refund will depend on how you filed and how you asked for the IRS to send your refund.

Electronic filing and direct deposits are the fastest ways to file and get your refund. You can expect to get a refund within a few weeks if you e-file and request a direct deposit.

The slowest combination is mailing in paper tax forms and asking the IRS to mail you a check. If you choose these options, it can take up to two months to get your refund check in the mail.

Related: Cheapest Tax Software

Bottom Line

SoftwareBest For
Credit Karma TaxFree federal and state filing
H&R BlockIn-person preparation
Liberty TaxTax refund advance loan
TaxSlayerInexpensive, paid tax filing
FreeTaxUSAFree federal filing
TaxAct$100,000 accuracy guarantee

Filing your taxes is a tiring chore, but it’s something you have to do every year. TurboTax is one of the best-known tools for getting help with your tax preparation, but it’s just one of the many options out there. Before you use TurboTax, consider one of its alternatives. You may find a less expensive service or one that works better for you.

Read More:


Recommended Stories