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TurboTax vs. H&R Block vs. TaxACT: Tax Filing Services Compared

TurboTax is the leading brand in tax software as of 2012. TurboTax offers free online support and extra help for first-time users. If you know you will need lots off guidance then you should check out TurboTax. H&R Block offers in office filing as well as live filing with an agent. H&R block also openly advertises audit representation. If you think you might be high-risk for an audit then you probably spend the little extra and use H&R Block this year. If you are on a really tight budget and you want to spend the least amount of money to file your taxes this year or you have multiple state or federal returns to file you should try TaxAct.
Covered in this report
TurboxTax sells tax preparation software that you can use online, download or order a CD. They have different versions of their tax software: Free online version is for simple federal tax returns like the 1040EZ. The Basic version gives you a step-by-step guide and transfers last year’s ta... read more...
⌊ Best coupon: Free Prepare, Free Print & Free eFile
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TurboTax overview on Knoji
TurboTax — Best Features
TurboTax offers free online support.
TurboTax has special guidance for first time users.
Best for: TurboTax is best suited for first-time tax software users.
H & R Block is one of the world’s largest tax services providers, using more than 100,000 highly trained tax professionals and having prepared more than 550 million tax return worldwide. The categories available on the website are Taxes, Tax Software and Services, Bank, Customer Support, T... read more...
⌊ Best coupon: 20% off of onine filing1 more coupons
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View 2 coupons for H&R Block
H&R Block overview on Knoji
H&R Block — Best Features
H&R Block offers tax services with a live agent.
H&R Block offers mobile services.
Best for: H&R Block is best suited for those who are only comfortable with using a company that has been doing taxes for a substantial amount of time.
Best deal: 20% off of onine filing - [activate coupon]
TaxACT is an online service to help people e-file their tax returns. They offer a download or CD. They offer a Free Federal Return, Deluxe Federal Edition and Ultimate Bundle. They guarantee that the customer will receive the maximum refund. The program allows the customer to prepare, print and file... read more...
⌊ Best coupon: Current Promotions
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TaxACT overview on Knoji
TaxACT — Best Features
TaxAct offers packages with very low pricing. TaxAct offers the lowest price for filing state returns.
TaxAct offers a free downloadable software edition.
Best for: TaxAct is best suited for those who are looking to spend the least amount of money.
Review

Filing your taxes online is a great alternative. Using an accountant can be costly and time consuming. You can save time and money by filing your taxes online. Software allows you to file your own taxes by asking your simple questions and applying the  information into the correct forms.

TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxAct each offer different packages to suit each consumer's individual needs. Choosing a tax service is an important decision. Here are some different things to consider when choosing online tax filing service or software package:

  • Individual Needs- Are you filing as an individual or as a business. Do you need to deduct travel expenses or interest paid to a mortgage?  Everyone's tax needs are different. It is important to choose a package that has all the forms needed.
  • Credibility- Credibility is extremely important when choosing a tax filing software. You wouldn't trust a stranger with your wallet so why would you let one file your taxes? One simple error can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
  • Security- Your social security number protects your identity. There are many people out looking to find new ways to steal identities so they can steal money and credit. It is imperative that your identity and personal information be protected.
  • Reliability-Many websites have reviews or links posted directly on them. Reviews can provide helpful insights into the company or service that you are considering. If you see several posts suggesting valid issues with the service then you should consider finding other options. Beware of sites that post only the good reviews. These are usually easy to identify because there are not any negative reviews. 
  • Pricing- No one wants to pay more for the same thing that someone else recieved for free. Some packages offer a lot of extras that not everyone needs. Those extras are included in the price. Only pay for what you need.

Below we will compare the three online tax services:

TurboTax

  • TurboTax aka Intuit Inc. has an A+ with the Better Business Bureau.

TurboTax is the leading tax software. TurboTax's Taxcaster allows you to input your information and shows you real-time results to calculate your refund. This allows you to see how different financial scenarios affect your tax return. TurboTax has online filing as well as downloads. CD's can be purchased for the same price as the downloads.

TurboTax offers three guarantees.

  • Maximum refund. If you get a larger refund from using a different tax software they will give you a payment of 14.99 or the price you paid to have your state taxes to be filed.
  • Accuracy.TurboTax will reimburse you if you ever have to pay a penalty due to an error by turbo tax.
  • Audit Support. If you ever get audited TurboTax will give you free guidance. If you need representation they will give you that too.

 Packages offered by TurboTax:

  • Free Federal
    • Helps you file a 1040EZ
    • Asks simple questions 
    • Helps you find tax credits
  • Basic

    • $19.99 Federal Online
      • Prepare and file one federal tax return
      •  Additional $44.99 per state filing
      • Try for free, pay when you file
      • Nothing to install or download
    • 29.99  Federal Download
      • Install online
      • Additional $44.99 per state filing
      • Prepare unlimited
      • File up to 5 free
  • Transfers last year's tax info 
  • Imports W-2 and 1099 forms 
  • Free phone support
  • Deluxe

    • $29.99 Federal Online
      • Prepare and efile one federal tax return
      • Additional $44.99 per state filing
      • Try for free, pay when you file
      • Nothing to download or install
    • $59.99 Federal & State
      • Download directly to your PC
      • Prepare unlimited tax returns
      • E-file up to 5 free
      • One state filing included

Comes with same features as Basic plus:

  • Quickly searches for more than 350 deductions
  • Gives you accurate values for your donations
  • Warns you of potential audit risks and gives advice to help reduce chances of being audited
  • Premier
    • $49.99 Federal-Online
    • One federal tax return efile and representation included
    • Additional $44.99 per state filing
    • Don't pay until you file
    • Nothing to download or install
    • $89.99 Federal & State-Download
      • Prepare unlimited federal tax returns; efile up to 5 free
      • One state included
      • Install on your PC

Comes with same features as Deluxe plus:

  • Investments Rental Property
  • Calculates gains and helps you deduct investment losses
  • Finds tax-saving rental property deductions
  • Helps report sales from employee stock purchase plans
  • Home and Business

    • 74.99 Federal-Online
      • Prepare and efile one federal tax return
      • Additonal $44.99 per state filing
      • Try for free, pay when you file
      • Nothing to download or install
      • Pay when you file
    •  $99.99 Federal & State- Download
      • Prepare unlimited federal tax returns; efile up to 5 free
      • One state included
      • Install on your computer

Comes with same features as Premier plus:

  • Helps you locate business write-offs
  • Finds industry-specific deductions
  • Aids you in finding the best  depreciation method

TurboTax Reviews

"This is my 3rd year using turbo tax so I can pretty much close my eyes and go right through. Some people think TT is good only if you have an easy file but I have to file a Schedule C and this year I had to file a Part year resident form because we moved mid-year. Still super easy. I got stumped in one part and was able to link up with someone for live chat and they were able to walk me through and explain the section i was unclear on. Love Turbo Tax!"

"I like and used the program for the last 10 years, my only issue is the free filing number you have to call-in to get it. It a long process and some of your agents do not speak or understand English very well. I had to be transferred to a supervisor to get the free filing number. Other than that I like the program and plan to continue using it."

"My boyfriend talked me into using this site to file my taxes and I'm glad I did because it was super easy. I usually have my mom do my taxes but I will definitely be doing this from now on! Thanks! :)"

H&R Block

  • H&R Block has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

H&R Block has been a trusted name in taxes for many years.H&R Block has in office filing. They have refund loans in office where you can get your return for a percentage of your return. H&R Block offers the emerald line of credit. This line of credit is basically like a loan on your income tax return. The H&R Block website allows you to talk and file with a live tax professional. H&R Block guarantees maximum refund and accurate calculations.

H&R Block offers the following guarantees:

  • Maximum refund. If you get a larger refund from using a different tax software they will refund you the fees paid to use the service.
  • Accuracy.H&R Block will reimburse you if you ever have to pay a penalty due to an error by their services.
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee- If you purchase H&R Block software and are not satisfied with it within 60 days they will refund you the full purchase price.

Packages offered by H&R Block

  • Free
    • -Online Only
    • Prepare , print and e-file 
    • 1 free session of live tax chat or email
    • Audit support and representation
    • 1 federal e-file included
    • State additional $27.95 per filing
  • Basic-Best for simple tax situations
    •  $19.99 Online
      • 1 federal included
      • State filing additional $34.95 per filing
    • $19.99 Download
      • 5 federal efiles included
      • State filing program download additional $39.95
      • Additional 19.99 per state e-file
      • Available for Windows or Mac.
  • Everything in Free, plus:
    • Import your last year's return
    • Step-by-step guide
  • Deluxe-Best for homeowners/investors
    • $29.95 Online
      • 1 federal e-file included
      • State additional fee $34.95 per filing
    • $44.95 Download
      • 5 federal e-files included
      • 1 state program included
      • State e-file an additional $19.95
      • Available for Windows or Mac.
  • Everything in Basic, plus:
    • Import your W-2,1099 and last year's return
    • Maximize mortgage and real estate taxes
    • Assistance on investment income and stock options
  • Premium-Best for self-employed/rental property owners
    • $49.95 Online
      • 1 federal e-file included
      • State additional $34.95
    • $64.95 Download
      • 5 free federal e-files included
      • 1 free state download included
      • State e-file additional 19.95
  • Everything in Deluxe, plus:
    • Schedule C guidance
    • Rental income and expense assistance
    • Advanced cost basis tax calculators

Customer Reviews

"They had all the forms I needed & I have wages & self-employment so it is not a simple return. After reviewing the forms they completed I realized that I might have left out some forms if I had done the preparation from the forms available from the state & federal sites. Thank you, quick & easy!!"

"Using the website to file my taxes was straight forward. I contacted customer services for help and they were great."

"Your system is very user friendly. Taxes are kind of like a foreign language to most people. This makes it so easy, and much less scary to do. Also your prices are much more reasonable than the competitor I used last year, who charges for every thing even slightly off basic. Also, from a competitor I did a test drive of their stuff this year, and my return was over $1000 less than it was with you. Thank you!!!"

TaxAct

  • TaxAct has an A+ rating with the Better Buisness Bureau.

Not only does TaxAct offers the lowest priced packages out of all three tax services,they also offer free e-filing.TaxAct offers state filing for substantially low in comparison to the other filing services.TaxAct offers customer support via email for free or phone support for a one time fee of $7.95. CD ROMs available for an additional $5.95. 

TaxAct offers the following guarantees:

Maximum refund. You are guaranteed to get your maximum refund with TaxAct

Accuracy.Turbo tax will reimburse you if you ever have to pay a penalty due to an error by turbo tax.

Pricelock Guarantee. You are guaranteed to get the same price you agreed to at time of registration regardless of when you decide to e-file.

TaxAct offers the flowing packages:

  • .Free Federal Edition-
    • Online or Download
      • Prepare, Print & E-file
      • E-mail and audit support
      • Each state additional $14.95
  • Deluxe Federal Edition
    • $9.95 Online
      • Try for free
      • State additional $8.00
    • $12.95 Download
      • State additional $9.00
  • Includes following features:
    • Import prior year data
    • Maximize the value of your non-cash donations
    • Extra calculators & reports
    • E-mail & audit support
  • Ultimate Bundle:
    • Deluxe + State
    • Online $17.95
      • Try for free
      • One free federal e-file
      • One free state e-file
    • Download $21.95
      • One free federal e-file

TaxAct also offers 2 preparers editions for professional tax preparers.

Customer Reviews

"I'd being using tax act for, at least, 10 years . I used to buy the software.  Now, I just go online... It is freeeee.  I also assist my friends to do the same.  You only to have a valid email address & bingo.   Very easy/accurate to used.  So far 0 problems"

I used to use TurboTax then switched to TaxCut/H&R about 7 years ago...this year both are getting a lot of negative reviews and I have grown weary of their prices going up and up...so switched to TaxAct (which I used last year for anLLC I run)...I am pleased...as easy to use as H&R software but probably a bit faster and with more info...plus I have had to call Support a couple times with questions and they answer the phone within a minute or two and resolve the issues...its half the cost of H&R and 1/4th the cost of TurboTax and it is, imo, just as good.

"They lump retirement and IRA distributions on the same line, and then when I was almost finished, they told me that I could not change rental depreciation on the California form, because it was already specified on the Federal, even though depreciation schedules are different.

Conclusion

When choosing an online tax filing service or software it is important to chose one that suits your individual needs. There are many different services out there. They all provide the same services in different variations. .

What they all have:

  • A+ Rating with the BBB
  • Free federal filing for simple tax forms.
  • Online filing or downloadable software
  • Maximum refund guarantees
  • Accuracy Guarantees

TurboTax has free online support which is a feature that is limited on the other sites. TurboTax and H&R Block both have audit support which is a feature that is not offered by TaxAct. H&R Block offers in office filing as well as filing online with a live agent. TaxAct has very low pricing in comparisson to the other services. TaxAct also has the lowest price state filing. 

Additional Information
H&R Block
H&R Block Coupon Code: EARLYTAX12 - 20% off of onine filing - Activate
H&R Block Coupon Code: HB02MGT8JX - 10% Off Taxes Online - Activate
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Comments (1)

Filing your taxes online is a great alternative. Using an accountant can be costly and time consuming. You can save time and money by filing your taxes online. Software allows you to file your own taxes by asking your simple questions and applying the  information into the correct forms.

Thanks

DefenseTax

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