Tax Preparation Software: Ratings of Sources
Total of 11 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
Accounting & Tax
by Kathy Yakal
Our AssessmentPCMag.com has thoroughly tested tax prep software for years, and two brands always rise to the top: TurboTax and TaxACT. As usual, readers are advised to try TaxACT's free or cheap offerings first because they're nearly as good as TurboTax Deluxe, an Editors' Choice for desktop tax prep software. But if you do your taxes on your iPad or Android tablet, Yakal prefers TaxACT; she also tests iPad apps from TurboTax and H&R Block. If you're filing a 1040EZ from your smartphone, TurboTax SnapTax beats H&R Block's phone app in testing.
Three Programs, Two Ways: Test-Driving the Tax Software
by Tim Gray
Our AssessmentTim Gray does his family's 2012 taxes using the Premier versions of TurboTax, H&R Block At Home and TaxACT. Both TurboTax and TaxACT work fine; the latter is cheaper, but TurboTax imports more information from last year's return. Gray can't get H&R Block's software to download, and the CD version he buys crashes while installing updates. The online version works smoothly, but it doesn't import as much of last year's information as TurboTax does.
Business & Finance Software Reviews
by Jeffery Battersby
Our AssessmentWhether you do your taxes on your iPad or computer, TurboTax is the way to go, Jeffery Battersby says. He tests both versions against their H&R Block At Home rivals. If you have to file only the simple 1040EZ form, however, both TurboTax and H&R Block's smartphone apps work equally quickly and well in this test, although H&R Block lets you file for free and TurboTax doesn't.
Top 5 Tax Software Reviews
by Shelley Elmblad
Our AssessmentAbout.com's guide to financial software reviews the latest online versions of H&R Block At Home and TurboTax. Shelley Elmblad prefers the latter, giving it 4.5 stars out of 5. However, H&R Block's software offers free support from an enrolled agent if you're audited while TurboTax charges $60 extra. Yet as Elmblad points out, you probably won't get audited, and TurboTax does a better job helping you complete your tax return. She also mentions TaxACT, TaxSlayer and eSmart Tax/CompleteTax, but doesn't test or rate them.
Call Kurtis: The Great Tax Test: Which Tax Preparer Gave the Biggest Refund?
by Kurtis Ming
Our AssessmentThis TV newscast asks three viewers -- all single, no kids, with simple taxes -- to do their taxes with all three major brands of tax software. Each one prefers a different brand. One gets a $9 bigger state refund from H&R Block At Home while another gets a $60 bigger state refund from TurboTax. For the third, TaxACT calculates a $25 smaller federal refund than the other two brands, but he says the difference isn't enough to make him switch.
Testing the TurboTax and H&R Block Tax Apps
by Salvador Rodriguez
Our AssessmentIf you have the simplest possible tax situation and have to file only a 1040EZ, TurboTax's SnapTax smartphone app can save you about 10 minutes, Salvador Rodriguez says. But for any other forms, you'll have to use the regular computer or tablet versions. H&R Block's smartphone app doesn't even let him try; it asks questions at the start about your tax situation and Rodriguez's isn't simple enough. When he tests the iPad apps, TurboTax gives him a $300 bigger federal refund than H&R Block does, but an in-office H&R Block preparer finds him a $200 bigger refund due to mistakes Rodriguez made using TurboTax.
Best Free Income Tax Filing Software and Service
Our AssessmentHe doesn't give his real name, but this tester explains exactly how he evaluates 10 free tax prep programs. They're all listed on the IRS's Free File website, including options from H&R Block At Home, Jackson Hewitt Online, TaxSlayer and more. TaxACT Free Edition takes the best-in-class award here: It's downloadable while others are online only, fast, easy to use, includes all e-fileable forms and even offers a helpful FAFSA worksheet for those applying for college financial aid.
Tax Central 2012
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com users have mixed opinions about tax software. Various versions of TurboTax and H&R Block At Home get the most ratings by far, but both draw some complaints. TurboTax scores higher, even though many users feel cheated when they realize that "TurboTax Federal and State" charges $20 extra for e-filing a state return. H&R Block's 2012 software suffers from bugs, early users report, and some say customer service is no help. Boxed and download versions get separate reviews.
App Store -- Finance
by Contributors to iTunes
Our AssessmentHere customers rate tax prep apps for the iPhone and iPad. TurboTax easily wins; its SnapTax app for iPhone gets 4.5 stars out of 5 with more than 8,800 ratings posted. The more full-featured iPad app averages 4.5 stars out of 5 in more than 4,400 ratings. H&R Block and TaxACT apps trail with lower scores and fewer reviews.
by Contributors to Google Play
Our AssessmentAndroid phone users prefer TurboTax SnapTax, giving it 4.7 stars out of 5 in more than 18,000 reviews. It blows away H&R Block 1040EZ, which gets 3.1 stars out of 5, for filing simple tax returns from your phone. For complex returns, TaxACT's Tablet App gets a few ratings here.
2013 Best Tax Software Reviews and Comparisons
by Editors of TopTenReviews.com
Our AssessmentTopTenReviews.com tests 10 tax software brands -- more than other sources -- using typical 1040 and 1040EZ scenarios to judge accuracy, ease of use and help/support. TurboTax ranks No. 1, followed by TaxACT. This is consistent with the findings of our top sources. However, this site bills itself as an Authorized TurboTax Affiliate with a large banner ad for TurboTax, and testers sometimes knock off points without explaining why. For example, H&R Block At Home gets a lower score for accuracy than TurboTax or TaxACT, but testers give no reasons.