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If you are wondering what the best free tax software among Credit Karma, TurboTax, TaxSlayer, and many other options are, then you’ve come to the right place. 

Luckily, these days there are easier ways to monitor your taxes with the use of tax software.

You can keep track of your tax liabilities by monitoring your income, expenses, and other deductibles by using readily available software. 

To save you time I've compiled information from several types of tax software companies to help you decide.

Ready to choose the best tax software for you?

Let's go!

How Tax Code Has Changed

You might well know what the tax code is by now; for some, maybe not.

Tax codes (a.k.a IRCs) are documented rules imposed by the federal government on businesses and individuals paying taxes. 

They dictate how income and revenues are taxed in the US and have complex information that is not easily decipherable.

Congress originally drafted the Internal Revenue Code (IRC)in 1939, but after several amendments, 1968’s version took effect. 

The United States adopts a dynamic tax system that moves according to individuals’ or businesses’ tax bracket.

What does this mean?

It means that whenever your income moves up, your tax bracket also moves up.

According to the IRS, there are seven basic tax brackets for the year 2020-2021, which go as 10%, 12%, 22%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. 

The tax bracket does not solely rely on your income; it also considers your filing status (whether you are a widow(er), married, single, household’s head, or a divorcee). 

It also moves and adjusts for each year according to its economic standing and inflation rate.

For example, if you are single with a $40,525 taxable income, you’ll only pay 10% on the first $9,950 and 12% on the rest based on the updated table for 2021.

The set-out Tax Code of almost 3000-pages should help taxpayers understand the why’s, what’s, where’s and how’s of filing taxes. It can be viewed online at the IRS’s site, where full texts are also provided for a much detailed review. 

It is essential to consistently, if not yearly, check on tax bracket updates, and if you need an easy tool to remind you, this brings us to Tax Software.

How Tax Software Works

Everybody wants to file their taxes quickly and safely, especially in the middle of a dangerous outbreak. 

Tax software is an app that makes tax preparation more accessible, cost-effective, and more efficient.

These programs allow people to insightfully and accurately track their taxes.

The best part?

Tax software helps you determine and achieve your maximum tax returns and avoids accrued penalties.

It makes everything about rigorous tax filing a breeze and simple process. 

Who wouldn't love this?

To learn how it works, let’s begin with its two interface types:

  • Form-based tax software: this software creates a similar layout to that of the usual tax form and documents you will have to fill out correctly.
  • Interview-based software: this is the most common type of tax software interface. It uses a more accessible question-and-answer layout that seeks to conduct an “interview” setting. It will also help provide important information that you will need before submitting the form.

Most tax software runs with many features such as electronic filing, diagnostics, support, state returns, long-term storage, and credit and deduction recommendations. 

It provides instructions and needed forms electronically to automate the entire process. 

Tax software is a virtual tax filing but more efficient, affordable, and strictly as safe as any personal filing could be.

What Are the Proven Different Ways to File Your Taxes?

Taxpayers have several options for filing their taxes.

If you want to physically attend to your tax forms, you can go to any Tax Prep Office near you. 

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of filing taxes in person, there’s also a way to file without having to leave the house. Here are the primary ways to file your taxes:

Filing in person

Filing your taxes in person will require some help from an accountant, which, of course, will cost you money.

Most people would usually look for a tax person and pay them to do it for them if they don’t want to go through any hassle.

filling-in-person

Though this sounds easier and more efficient, hiring a tax person won’t give you all the benefits of your tax returns.

Even the hidden deductions.

Aside from that, some of these professionals would still end up using tax software.

Through your PC, Laptop, or Phone

If you plan to cut down the hassle of filing taxes in person, you can just file it electronically using your gadgets.

Some free tax software may or may not have a mobile-friendly app, but as long as you have devices, you’re ready.

pc-laptop-or-phone

The IRS also encourages filing electronically to save taxpayers of all the hassle. S

If you want to learn more about this option, you can visit the IRS and look through its electronic filing option.

While filing taxes has never been easier, seeking the proper guidance and choosing the wisest way to file will make your life a lot better.

Which Tax Software is Truly Free?

During tax filing season, many companies advertise “free” filing.

However, not all tax filers are eligible for these offers because of the complexity of their filing.

In the end, if you chose the wrong software or haven’t scrutinized it enough, you might be charged with some fees. 

Instead of being surprised by these unwanted top-ups and charges, understand what extent is only offered for free. 

The usual hitches that cost you those charges are usually related to your HSA contributions, daycare expenses, student loans, or even your retirement contributions.

Anyone with complex contributions won’t qualify for several free features.

For example, if you opt for a free filing on TurboTax, you can only file freely if your tax returns don't have overarching complexities. 

These complexities might need the help of a professional hence, the additional charges.

Another instance and one of the most commonly overlooked trouble is their state filing.

Many tax software may offer free federal filing, but not all of them offer free state filing fees. Sometimes, the costs are not showed and hidden from their websites. 

Hence, it is also essential to note this.

Best Software for Truly Free Filing

There’s no shame in opting for the best free tax software out there, especially in a time where filing in person is not safe and convenient. 

Whether you are an individual taxpayer or own a business, free tax software could save you from all the hassle. 

Or as long as you choose the right and genuinely free ones out there. 

Credit Karma

credit-karma

Rating: 5.0/5.0

Credit Karma is legitimate online app that offers excellent service to its users. 

Other than that, it helps keep track of your credit scores, and with Credit Karma Tax, you can also monitor and file your taxes for free. 

So if you are opting for a truly free tax filing, this app is your best choice.

I've used Credit Karma to file my taxes these past few years and can vouch it's both free and easy to use.

Price for Federal and State Tax Filing

Credit Karma Tax is the only software that offers 100% free online tax filing. Yes, it charges $0 for both federal and state returns of its users. 

Unlike most tax software, Credit Karma doesn’t charge you for your deductions, and it guarantees accurate calculations to help get the best out of your returns.

Different Tiers and Prices

Credit Karma Tax offers a DIY tax filing product that’s entirely free for both its federal and state returns. 

You don’t have to worry about hidden charges or fees because it doesn’t have one. It's a fully transparent, cost-effective, and convenient app for most taxpayers out there.

DIY FREE PLAN  (online filing)
FEDERAL TAX FILINGFREE (for simple federal returns)
STATE TAX FILINGFREE (for simple state returns)

The Good

It is always best to review any tax software and their offers before filing so that you can get a good grasp of their fees.

But with Credit Karma, you won’t have to worry about any charges at all; it’s free. 

It also offers readily available support for any of your tax queries and smoothly and accurately takes control of the entire process, as any pro would do.

Why It’s Easy

Though this app only offers a DIY filing, its interface is easy to navigate, even for beginners; no need for premium or deluxe because it’s an all-in-one. 

A Smart File feature is also made available for users who want to know which tax form to accomplish. 

Their product supports most of the IRS forms for electronic filings for many states — talk about the best and easiest free tax software.

The Bad

The only bad thing about this software is that it doesn’t allow the filing for multiple states' returns, hence the limited access to forms. 

That’s why it’s not ideal for investors and most real estate business owners.

But who knows, maybe the following year, these features will be added to top up the whole tax gaming, right?

What Makes Filing Simple

While the other free sites on the list offer unnecessary options, Credit Karma Tax offers a straightforward filing option.

Its interface is attractive and well-designed, making it all the more top choice among tax software. 

Overall, it gives users an overview of their needs and an excellent tax preparation service. 

What Makes Tax Filing Simple?

The best software for truly free filing will not only help you get the most out of your returns but also minimize every deduction there could be. 

Here are several factors that put Credit Karma Tax on top of its game:

Accurate and Effective

Filing taxes involves your details and, of course, usage fees for the software itself.

When considering options for tax software, you need to look out for its accuracy and effectiveness. 

That is why it is always essential to ensure that the software you’ll be using can gather your personal information accurately.

Interface and Design

The ease of use is an important feature when considering the best tax software for yourself.

Seeing all the forms and the helping dashboards within the software will help give more ease to the users.

Consider using tax software that resembles an interface you're already familiar with. This will help you maximize most of the features a tax software has to offer.

Service and support

Good tax software will not just generate the complete report and submit it directly to the URS. It should also be able to help you when things don't go as planned.

What if you have a question during the tax filing process?

You'd want to talk to someone or be able to get your questions answered at least within 24 hours!

Credit Karma offers support whenever you run through any problem. It also has a wide variety of support forms and an import option for user ease.

Ensure there's ample support offered by the tax software company you plan to use.

Best Software for Free Simple Returns

TurboTax 

turbo-tax

Rating: 4.5/5.0

TurboTax is probably one of the most commonly used tax software in the US despite its priced offers. It helps taxpayers of all types and has several options for user ease. 

Overall, it helps its user get the maximum refund and the minimum deduction.

Price for Federal and State Tax Filing

Although TurboTax does not offer completely free tax filing, they frequently offer the best packages. You can be charged as low as $0 or as much as $345. 

Their DIY packages offer a federal return fee from $0-120 and a state return fee of $5-55.

The additional non-free charges of TurboTax are charged according to the complexity of one’s tax status.

Likewise, the more complex your situation is with intertwining contributions at hand, the more charges it will be. Their charges will only get as high as $345.

Different Tiers and Prices

If you don’t qualify for the primary and free tax service of TurboTax, then you will have to choose other of their offers, which can be broken down:

DIY FREE PLAN  (online filing)DELUXE PLANPREMIUM PLANSELF-EMPLOYED PLAN
FEDERAL TAX FILINGFREE (for simple federal returns)
$60

$90

$120
STATE TAX FILINGFREE (for simple state returns)$50$50$50

Source: https://www.turboxtax.com/

There are probably many package types that TurboTax Offers; the general and basic fees they offer are as stated on the table. 

Their pricing plans may be inclusive of the basic to the all-around taxmanyert’s help. Fortunately, the language is easily accessible according to the users’ demographics (English or Spanish).

The Good

What’s excellent about TurboTax is that it also makes itself accessible physically to its user other than its well-maintained reputations. 

TurboTax operates at around 12,000 locations worldwide and accepts walk-in help; hence, it is proven very reliable. 

It supports tax filers of all kinds and promotes upgradable tax options in its software. 

Turbotax helps you with unemployment income even with its Free Tiers.

Its DIY and Live Support Plans (deluxe, premier, & self-employed) make the whole transaction easier and way faster than the conventional filing option.

Why It’s Easy

TurboTax helps users file, prepare, and import their returns electronically in its most basic and free package offer. 

Now, if that doesn’t sound easy enough, it also offers 24/7 online community access to help you with your concerns.

The Bad

While TurboTax sounds like the perfect software, there will always be a minimal flaw that comes with it. 

As discussed early on, TurboTax only offers as much free as you are eligible for. It provides practically everything, but also with a catch. 

Just like most tax software, the primary filers are only eligible for free DIY online filing. 

However, if you are a taxpayer with many other income sources, you'll need to cough up some money depending on the complexity of your return. 

Reasonably, TurboTax will do its best to have your filing deductions at a minimum and max for your returns as well.

TaxSlayer

tax-slayer

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Now while TaxSlayer may not have the same reputation as TurboTax does; it still offers the same affordable and easy-to-use tax software out there. 

Affordability and transparency make people opt for this software as well.

Price for Federal and State Taxes

TaxSlayer may offer a $0-$47 fee for Federal returns and a $0-$32 fee for its State returns. In comparison with TurboTax, TaxSlayer offers the least fee amount. 

This software provides free essential tax support, accessed through phones or emails, but more complex tax supports will require a pro fee. 

This Pro feature is where TaxSlayer connects its users to “qualified individuals” regarding their IRS concerns.

Different Tiers and Prices

What sets this software apart is its pricing offers.

While TurboTax and most tax software offer services as packaged, this software provides only according to the level of support you will be needing.

This will save you from having to purchase possible unwanted features.

While TurboTax offers a packaged deluxe feature to cover a user’s property income deductions (including investments), this software will only charge you for property income deductions. 

To have a good grasp of its basic offers, you can review the table below:

FREE PLAN  (online filing)CLASSICPLANPREMIUM PLANSELF-EMPLOYED PLAN
FEDERAL TAX FILINGFREE (for simple federal returns)
$17

$37

$47
STATE TAX FILINGFREE (for simple state returns)
$32

$32

$32

Source: https://www.taxslayer.com/

The Good

Again, TaxSlayer fees vary according to their support level and are not arranged by package types. 

The prices for this software app are a good bargain. Its state return costs are also affordable compared to its other competitors. 

Though not a high-end pick, it still gets the job done quickly and accurately. It also guarantees a maximum refund from what you are entitled to as a taxpayer.

Why It’s Easy

TaxSlayer is one great free (as applicable) tax software app. This app brings all your tax data together, showing you a simple app configuration. 

It helps estimate your tax refunds, its status, and of course, file your taxes electronically.

The Bad

TaxSlayer’s support feature does not offer face-to-face features, and its Pro Help feature may only be accessed with its priced products. 

Unlike other software such as TurboTax and H&R Block, this software doesn’t offer unemployed incomes with its free tier features.

And although they have “highly qualified” personnel on this Pro Help, it doesn’t signify that they are licensed, accountants.

TaxSlayer doesn’t offer an audit assistant to its users either.

Compared to other tax software, TaxSlayer may not give you as many options as expected. 

But if you are just opting to file an uncomplicated or even a detailed tax account, you can rely on this software for its practicality and other best features.

H&R Block

h&r-block

Rating: 4.0/5.0

H&R Block is also one of the few tax software that has long been trusted in the US. It has packages comparable to that of TurboTax but offered at a lower cost. 

Its software allows people to file their taxes painlessly and at an affordable price. This app is also worth checking out, especially if you only have minimal deductions or taxable accounts to deal with.

Price for Federal and State Taxes

The cost for federal and state filing under this software is free, just like other software, as long as you only file a simple tax return. 

However, if it also gets complex and would have to include several considerations for your filing, it will cost you around $0-$194.99 for federal returns and $0-$36.99 for state returns. 

If you're looking at their federal plus state return packages, it could only go as high as $231 compared to the $345 of TurboTax.

Different Tiers and Prices

If you would like to take a peek at H&R Block’s free and priced features, you may use the updated table below as a reference:

DIY FREE PLAN  (online filing)DELUXE PLANPREMIUMPLANSELF-EMPLOYED PLAN
FEDERAL TAX FILINGFREE (for simple federal returns)
$49.99

$69.99

$109.99
STATE TAX FILINGFREE (for simple state returns)$36.99$36.99$36.99

Source: https://www.hrblock.com

The Good

As previously noted, H&R Block offers a relatively more minor charge than top-tier TurboTax. 

Other than this, it also gets the job done right and well enough.

While TaxSlayer doesn’t have savvy customer support to offer, H&R Block provides excellent service at this. 

It also has an excellent interface which makes it user-friendly, with clear and solid instructions for users to follow.

Just like TurboTax, H&R Block offers support to unemployment income with its free tier features.

Why It’s Easy

H&R Block is a great software that seamlessly offers help at the lower end of the cost range. 

Its superb support service makes it all the easier for its users to file their taxes and learn about their deductions and potential returns.

The Bad

While H&R Block may seem like the optimum choice beyond the basic filing choices, taxpayers with other income sources might still opt for TurboTax.

H&R Block cannot offer refund anticipation loans, which is an excellent source of earnings for businesses.

TaxAct

tax-act

Rating: 3.0/5/0

Among all the tax software on this list, TaxAct is the least known but gets the job done like the rest.

This software offers an excellent quality tax filing experience and is more cost-effective than others on the list. 

It may not be as fancy as other software features, but its low-cost offers are hard to ignore. It may be accessed through its mobile app version for people who want to file their taxes with minimum hassle.

Price for Federal and State Taxes

“Free” for this software, just like the previously listed, is only free up to some extent.

TaxActs free version helps you file the basic 1040 form but can’t go beyond processing complex additional computations. 

Its free version may not work for any of your various income sources such as investments, rentals, or deductions such as student loans or mortgages. 

Filing federal and state returns carries a small charge. For its federal returns, TaxAct charges between $0-$64.95 and a state return fee of $19.95-44.95.

Different Tiers and Prices

TaxAct also offers four products to its users. The following table will show its updated free and priced offers along with the products and plans it supports.

DIY FREE PLAN  (online filing)DELUXE PLANPREMIER PLANSELF-EMPLOYED PLAN
FEDERAL TAX FILINGFREE (for simple federal returns)
$24.99

$34.95

$64.95
STATE TAX FILING$19.95$44.95$44.95$44.95

Source: https://www.taxact.com/taxes-online

The Good

The key takeaway from this software is that it is excellent for most people’s simple tax filing concerns. 

Its support service can also help its users churn the complex issues that taxpayers might encounter, especially those with exceptional cases. 

This company is also trustworthy and offers a secure system so you can sleep well knowing that your data is being handled safely. 

Why It’s Easy

TaxAct’s software is easily accessible and understandable for new or even experienced users. Its navigation dashboard and its simple interface make it easy to use the software. 

Since this app goes back as far as the 1990s, its reliability and reputation also look out for. While it offers primarily low prices, its quality is proven and tested for decades already, so there’s not much to worry about.

The Bad

The free version of TaxAct falls short of the other software because it can only offer limited access. 

This access may only be purchased once upgraded; hence, it might cost you more than most free tax software from the list.

Best Tax Software for Live Help

1. H&R Block

H&R Block offers a live video help support option for its users.

Addittionally, they provide searchable tutorials for its tax pro users and have a phone number to get in touch with them.

If any of its users are also dissatisfied with their software, H&R will offer a refund.

H&R Block is committed to providing professional support through chat or consultations virtually.

2. TurboTax

TurboTax Live is the customer support that has real licensed accountants and professionals.

Their live support offers human help with an extra charge, but they give the best offer catered to every user’s needs. They could offer personalized support, from handling your simple tax returns to complex deductions and other income sources.

How to Protect Your Data Online

how-to-protect-your-data-online

Keeping your data protected online, especially during tax filing season, is significant.

Free is good, but only to the excellent software as well.

Fortunately, most tax software companies mentioned in this article have partnered with the IRS to protect your privacy.

Still, before using any online services, also take precautions on your own. Make sure that your device is equipped with antivirus and choose a secure password.

Avoid using Wi-Fi, especially in public and crowded places. Use a virtual public network (VPN) to secure your network and avoid being hacked.

Although good tax software promises security, it is part of the game to practice cyber safety. Take basic precautions and steps to protect your data.

Tax Filing With Free Software Has Made People's Life Much Easier

It is no surprise that filing taxes can be a daunting task.

However, it doesn’t always have to be.

With free tax software, filing is made more accessible, more convenient, and much more straightforward. 

All of the tax software mentioned in this article are suitable options to file your taxes. However, you should still check each company out and choose the company you're most comfortable with.

Now go choose the best tax software and file your taxes like a pro!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Free File Tax Software is Best?

Filing taxes is an obligation that requires effort and, of course, money, especially when you have a complicated tax situation. 

So, before getting into any freebie tax software, it is always right to choose which one is truly free.

With Credit Karma Tax, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort, and of course, money. Credit Karma is the best option, especially if you don’t want to pay. 

If you are dealing with trickier tax returns, you may opt for great tax software alternatives such as TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer, among many others as well.

When is my 2020 Tax Return due in 2021?

According to the IRS, the deadline for the 2020 tax return payment is April 15th, 2021.

What happens if I miss the Tax Filing Deadline?

For people who miss the tax deadline, a penalty of a $435 minimum would be charged.

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Founded Financially Well Off back in 2018 with the intent of making finance relatable. Quality content. Quality Advice. For people looking to be financially well off.

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