The 2022 tax season has the potential to bring a lot of headaches for many business owners. If you’d like to file your taxes yourself, maximize your tax refund as much as possible, and get it promptly, then choosing the right tax solution will save you a lot of time and hassle.
This article will list the best five popular online tax preparation software in 2022 and their specific features to help you choose the right one. As a bonus, we’ll also give some general tax tips near the end of this article.
TurboTax – Best tax solution for ease of use
When it comes to the easiest tax solution, TurboTax is the clear front-runner for a good reason. This software combines tax expertise and an easy user experience, enabling self-employed individuals and sole proprietors to file their taxes with as many deductions as possible.
TurboTax is very easy to use as it walks you step by step through the filing process. During this process, this app collects your financial situation by asking you a series of interview-style questions. The questions are written in plain English and follow an interview format. After that, the software fills out the appropriate tax forms based on your answers. Moreover, the TurboTax Live feature offers the help of a tax professional, which further enhances the company’s software solutions.
TurboTax‘s outstanding features include free audit support and free multi-year storage. That means if you use the software year after year, your past returns are saved on the site, saving you time and effort. The software also offers extra features, tools, and calculators specifically designed for self-employed filers and those with more complex tax returns. Self-employed filers, for example, receive a free one-year subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed. You can even store your receipts and track business mileage throughout the year to maximize your business deductions.
While TurboTax brings a user-friendly interface and numerous feature options, its price is quite a bit higher than other competitors. The Deluxe option costs $59 for your federal return and an additional $50 for each state return. There is, however, a free option for tax-filers with simple tax situations. Though TurboTax‘s paid version may cost more than other tax software, the peace of mind you’ll have could be worth the extra expense.
Base price: From $59.
TaxSlayer – Best budget tax solution
TaxSlayer is definitely the No.1 option for best budget software. This app offers no-frills tax preparation at reasonable rates, and its full-featured software will entice filers on a tight budget. TaxSlayer, similar to most popular tax preparation software, walks tax-filers through their returns with a question-and-answer format. Some other outstanding features of TaxSlayer are free multi-year storage and reimbursement for penalty or interest charges.
It offers four service levels, from Simply Free, Classic, Premium, and Self-Employed, ranging from $0 to $48. The free version also lets you file a simple tax return, much like TurboTax, while the Classic filing option gives you access to all major tax forms.
Unlike most other filing software, TaxSlayer doesn’t require upgrading to access certain forms. If you purchase the premium version, it just offers more features, such as audit assistance and a guide to self-employed taxes.
Base price: From $17.95.
H&R Block – Best tax software for in-person filing
H&R Block is a tax solution specially designed for small business owners. It guides users in preparing and filing partnership and LLC returns (Form 1065), as well as produces payroll forms for the IRS (Forms 940 and 941) and employer forms for employees (Forms W-2 and 1099). The software also lets businesses maximize tax benefits from business expenses, vehicle deductions, equipment, and asset depreciation. H&R Block offers free, unlimited state program downloads and business e-filing, as well as federal and state forms. H&R Block also guarantees 100 percent accuracy, offers audit support, and provides free advice from H&R Block tax experts.
In addition to using H&R Block‘s software to file your taxes, the company provides three full-service tax preparation programs. First, you have two options for tax prep performed at an H&R Block office. The first one is an in-person tax-prep service, in which you sit with a tax professional in a local office (or at home on a computer) while your return is being prepared. The second option is a drop-off service, in which you leave your tax papers at the office and come back to sign the final paperwork, where everything is calculated on the correct forms. The price for both scenarios starts at $80 for basic returns, plus an extra charge per state.
H&R Block‘s newest option lets you upload all of your forms for a completely virtual tax preparation experience. This means you receive the full service of an H&R Block representative without having to walk into a physical office. The combination of many locations and multiple tax preparation options at a reasonable price makes it our best overall pick.
Base price: From $49.99.
Cash App Taxes – Best free tax solution
If your business’s goal is to save banknotes, consider using Cash App Taxes. Cash App Taxes, previously known as Credit Karma Tax, makes its debut with a completely free tax preparation solution that includes all accessible IRS forms and schedules. It offers users one federal and one state tax return, entirely free, with maximum accuracy and refund guarantees. Cash App Taxes comes with a simple interface and an interview-style process that quickly collects data about your tax situation and then populates IRS forms.
However, this app lacks a file importing feature, which means you’ll need to enter your information manually. Cash App Taxes also has several limitations that may exclude some tax-filers: No multiple state filings, no foreign income, no married filing separately option in community property states like California or Texas. It also lacks professional tax support, so we recommend Cash App Taxes to tax filers confident in handling their own taxes, having a few forms, and relatively simple tax situations.
Base price: Free.
Shoeboxed – Best tax solution for DIY accountants
The Shoeboxed app is exclusively designed for freelancers and small businesses who would like to have their expense reports “audit-ready.” Shoeboxed quickly and efficiently digitizes your receipts and documents by extracting and categorizing important data from your receipts, then storing them securely in the cloud. From there, you can create and export clear, comprehensive, and accurate financial reports from your paper receipts.
What if you’re too busy to scan your receipts? You can always mail them to a Shoeboxed facility to have them scanned and organized.
Most importantly, scanned documents from Shoeboxed are human-verified data and approved by both the Internal Revenue Service and the Canada Revenue Service in the event of an audit. Shoeboxed helps you get your records clearly organized and well stored, making sure you don’t have to pay any more tax than necessary.
Shoeboxed integrates with numerous accounting programs, like Quickbooks, Xero, Wave Accounting, FreshBooks, and so much more. This means no more manual entry required, no more missing receipts, and no more wasting time preparing for tax season. What’s more, Shoeboxed offers a mileage tracking and business card storing feature, making it a one-touch app to access all your important information.
Base price: From $18.
Tips for an easy tax preparation
Here are some helpful tips for lowering taxes, saving time and money, and avoiding tax penalties:
- If you have self-employment income, itemized deductions, investments, or other complicated tax situations, you can consider seeking tax planning assistance from a qualified financial expert to help ensure your tax efficiency. The additional expenses you’re paying could result in a higher return, making the upfront expense a wise investment. However, it depends a lot on your individual filing situation, your withholdings, and your tax bracket.
- Set a deadline to gather all your financial documents, such as your W-2 forms, 1099-s forms, information of your investment income, last year’s tax refund, student loan interest, and other items listed on the IRS Tax Form checklist. Breaking the intimidating task of the filing process into smaller parts saves you from a last-minute marathon session to meet the filing deadline. You can also check Shoeboxed’s guide to file taxes for the first time.
- If possible, try to digitize all your important information into Shoeboxed’s well-organized system. This will help clear your desks and drawers from piles of papers and enables you to access your data from anywhere, at any time.
- Learn about tax write-offs. Understanding what you can and can’t deduct from your taxes helps you better control how taxes impact your situation and maximize your tax return.
The bottom line
Choosing the best tax solution depends on the needs of your company. Whether you’re looking for a program that offers all the Schedule forms, or one with the simplest interface, there are many choices available. By comparing each software’s features and pricing with your business’s needs, you’ll be able to decide which one is the best tax solution for your business. Keep in mind that the more complicated your tax situation, the more likely you’ll need a premium plan. Otherwise, the basic or free plan can work for you.
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