Top 10 Online Tax Services
|Rank||Name||Federal Tax Return Price||Pay Later||Intended User||Expert Support||Platform||Rating||Visit|
|FreeIndividual,Small Business,Medium or Large Business||Live chat,|
Help topics center
|2||FreeIndividual,Small Business||Software support,|
Contact form & email
|3||FreeIndividual,Small Business,Medium or Large Business||Tax help,|
|4||FreeIndividual||Free customer support,|
Audit assist (Deluxe Edition)
|5||FreeIndividual,Small Business,Medium or Large Business||Chat Assistance|
Help Topics Center
- Small Business
- Medium/Large Business
Important Tax Dates for Tax Year 2013
The tax filing software providers on this page all open for business on January 17, 2014. You can sign up online NOW and purchase any product you need. The IRS accepts electronically filed forms from taxpayers beginning on January 31, 2014 through Tax Day, which this year falls on April 15, 2014. Get everything ready for the first day to e-file your taxes. Tax software will guide you what to file. It will also guide you when to file so that you avoid paying penalties.
Comparing Tax Preparation Software
Tax preparation companies have embraced the cloud. With more acceptance of mobile technology, many consumers have an increased comfort level with preparing their taxes using online systems. As the popularity of tax preparation software has grown, the web-based options for services have grown as well. Tax day becomes less daunting with the wide array of programs that consumers can access from any computer connected to the Internet. New technology allows the filer the option of storing the tax return on the software providerís own servers in encrypted form. For many individual filers, the IRS allows free submission online.
Tax Software Comparison
Most online tax preparation programs steer the consumer through the process with questions designed to ensure the filer has claimed all the rightful deductions and credits. Many programs will crosscheck the information to reduce mistakes. However, with the myriad choices available, the consumer will need to compare the features and benefits of several programs when determining suitability.
For the simplest returns, the preparation and filing is offered at no cost through a program supported by the IRS. However, more complex tax situations may need additional features. This can add to the cost of an Internet based service. Some options that can be added for an additional fee include online backup, prior year account information input, data rollover and customer support. Upgrade options for more complex tax scenarios include filing for an extension, rental income, homeowner deductions, self-employment taxes and investment income.
Tax Software Advantages
Most consumers will find that using preparation software has advantages over preparing a tax return manually. Doing a return without assistance can lead to mathematical errors and missed deductions. This process can be very time consuming, and complicated returns demand a high level of technical knowledge of the tax code.
However, online software presents a few advantages over a program purchased and installed on a home computer. There may be incompatibilities with other programs or with the hardware. Web-based programs require no installation. This reduces the risk of damage to the computer.
Using an online system gives the consumer mobility and the ability to access the account from any computer. While not everyone needs this feature, consumers who use mobile devices such as smart phones or tablets will find this benefit to be very practical.
Another convenient feature of online programs is the seamless updating of tax forms from the IRS. Desktop software will remind a filer to check for updates. However, that can become problematic if regulators make frequent changes to the tax code close the deadline for filing. Companies that offer online preparation and filing services have teams of professionals staying current on a daily basis. These professionals make the changes, and the end user benefits.
Online systems save data automatically while the filer prepares his or her return. In addition, the program will save the latest version when the consumer logs off the account. Many companies providing this service will save encrypted copies of the returns on separate servers as additional security in case of a physical disaster.
Your Best Choice
Only the tax filer can determine which method is appropriate to his or her situation. In some financial situations, the complexity of the potential tax liability may warrant the services of a tax professional such as a certified public accountant (CPA). This option can become quite expensive. Thus, many consumers discover that using tax preparation software is a cost effective way to ensure the accuracy of their returns. The ease of using these programs, either on a desktop or online, adds to those benefits.