5 Tax Filing Softwares That Are Better Than TurboTax, According to Experts
There are options that could better suit your needs when it comes time to pay the IRS.
Even though there's no shortage of helpful software and services for people looking to prepare their taxes without the help of a hired professional, many still default to TurboTax. The well-known and widely used program can become an easy default for taxpayers who may not have the time to research other options.
"TurboTax remains at the top of the tax software food chain, commanding a significant market presence—but that doesn't mean it's the right software for you," says Riley Adams, founder and CEO of WealthUp.com. "Their packages come jam-packed with all the bells and whistles, which can be useful to some people. However, depending on your tax situation, you might not need them."
If you're looking to stay within your budget or just get the most out of your return, there are plenty of other options for you when it comes time to prepare your information. Read on for the tax filing softwares that experts say are better than TurboTax.
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Cash App Taxes
TurboTax is often considered a simple approach for those seeking to save money when filing. Unfortunately, some taxpayers get part way through the filing process before realizing they'll need to pay up to finish. If you're concerned about keeping costs to a bare minimum, you might want to consider one completely free tax software offered by a popular payment app.
"For many filers, they should be looking at totally free options like Cash App Taxes," suggests Robert Farrington, founder and CEO of The College Investor. "This year, Cash App Taxes is the only software that offers free filing for both federal and state returns. It's very easy to use—but it does have some limitations, including that you cannot file multiple states."
Those who are self-employed or freelance for a living already know that tax preparation can be a more complicated process. But if you're still looking to go DIY with your filing, options like TaxFreeUSA provide the baseline features these taxpayers will likely need.
"With FreeTaxUSA, you can file a Schedule C, and you pay $0 for the federal return and just $15 for the state return," says Kari Brummond, a professional accountant and tax preparer with TaxCure.com.
"In contrast, I believe TurboTax charges its self-employed fee of $209 plus extra for the state return if you file a Schedule C, regardless of your income level. That makes FreeTaxUSA a great option for people with 1099 income who want to write off expenses but don't want to pay hundreds of dollars because their income isn't that high," she says. "This program also offers other options for free that are expensive on TurboTax."
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Even though tax software helps fulfill your annual duty of filing with the government, there are some options that can streamline the process more than others. And thanks to new technology, one option can also help reduce errors and maximize your return.
"FlyFin is an AI-powered tax platform that provides self-employed individuals, independent contractors, gig workers, freelancers, and creator economy workers with a convenient, easy-to-use, and affordable tax filing solution with time and money-saving features that other software options just can't offer," says Varsha Subramanian, a certified public accountant (CPA) with the company.
"The software leverages AI paired with highly experienced tax CPAs to deliver automation that eliminates 95 percent of the work required for 1099 self-employed individuals to prepare their taxes. It also finds every possible tax write-off, and our team of experts can offer advice directly in the app," Subramanian says.
Even though TurboTax lures in many customers with the prospect of free filing, those who are willing to pay a modest amount can access a whole new set of software options that might best suit them.
"One of my favorite DIY sites is 1040.com," says H. Nicole Rosen, enrolled agent and tax preparation professional at Boundless Advisors. "It costs $25 no matter your situation, which covers both state and federal filing. You can also start for free and only pay when you are ready to file."
"This DIY website is managed by a software company that provides professional-level software to paid professionals. I should point out that the website is missing live assistance from experts, but there is a contact form to ask questions and lots of tax guides," she says.
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Sometimes, complicated financial situations can require a unique approach to ensure all the necessary information is gathered and deductions are requested. And for those looking for a bit of human help, there are affordable options that still fit the bill.
"Boundless Advisors is 100 percent online and staffed by enrolled agents," says Rosen, who works for the company. "It's the perfect blend between the DIY method and the paid preparer route, as the client can upload their documents and answer a few organizer questions similar to DIY. But then our paid preparers take over and provide a finalized tax return with a video review of the return to help answer any lingering questions from the client."
Best Life offers the most up-to-date financial information from top experts and the latest news and research, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the money you're spending, saving, or investing, always consult your financial advisor directly.