Completing your yearly business tax forms is no one’s favorite job. The stress of constantly changing laws, confusing webs of paperwork, and trying to protect every precious penny of your hard-earned profits is enough to drive many entrepreneurs into the willing arms of overpriced preparation professionals.
Of course, accountants are an invaluable source of insight into the world of business taxes. But why pay exorbitant fees when you can get many of the same expert services from a conveniently priced software? Tax preparation software makes it easy to file your business tax forms without worrying about errors or omissions that could trigger an audit. With features like guaranteed accuracy, direct deposit refunds, and free electronic filing, the right software can positively impact the way you see tax season.
H&R Block, FreeTax USA, Liberty Tax, TaxAct, and Tax Slayer are some of the most popular tax preparation software suites for small business owners today. But which one is right for your business? Here, we’ll break down the advantages and disadvantages of each suite. We’ll also tell you which businesses we think would benefit most from each selection. Finally, we’ll show you the easiest possible way to find the right tax preparation software for your small business budget, business structure, and preferences.
H&R Block is a veteran in the world of tax preparation. This software takes their years of experience and condenses it into a lean yet thorough digital format. H&R Block offers several tiers of service, ranging from simple and free federal filing to a feature-filled professional package. This suite is all about convenience, offering virtual documentation options that significantly reduce your typing time.
Why would you choose H&R Block over the competition?
- Upload pictures and PDFs with your smartphone.
- Professional support online or over the phone.
- Easy navigation allows you to skip back and forth through uncompleted returns.
- Almost no restrictions on complexity.
With those excellent features, what could possibly go wrong?
- Can be pricey for more complex returns.
- Lower priced plans woefully deficient in useful features.
H&R Block offers a robust software suite that can handle anything you throw its way. However, your pockets will feel the sting. Touted as the ultimate tax prep solution for freelancers, this suite also works well for those with lots of layers to their financial life. The pricing may be prohibitive for those with limited capital. If your return is on the simpler side, you may be better off with a lower-priced service.
FreeTax USA is a no-frills tax preparation software service that promises free federal returns for all. For a small fee, users can upgrade to the deluxe version, which offers expanded support options, audit protections, and unlimited refiling of amended returns. Users can also file older returns and extensions at no cost.
What makes FreeTax USA special?
- Free federal returns for all users, regardless of complexity.
- Very low price to upgrade the service.
- Easily upload prior year returns on PDF.
Audit Assist is one of FreeTax USA’s biggest features. If the IRS thinks your paperwork looks a little askew, FreeTax USA’s representatives will help you navigate the audit process.
This tax prep software does great things! What isn’t there to like about FreeTax USA?
- Sparse, utilitarian interface.
- State and local returns are not free.
- Does not support some of the more exotic tax circumstances like foreign employment income, farm rental, and household employment tax.
While this software isn’t flashy or fancy, it definitely gets the job done. FreeTax USA is a great option for solopreneurs, self-employed persons, and small business owners with investments. Not really for first time buyers, this tax preparation software works best for those who have filed a few times and have a sense of the process.
Unlike most of their competitors, Liberty Tax does not offer a free version of their software. However, their pricing is competitive enough to still make them one of the most popular suites on the market today. Liberty Tax gives all filers a maximum return guarantee. They also promise 100% accuracy on your return.
What makes Liberty Tax worth the extra scratch?
- Easily import information and forms from competitor websites.
- Four available plans to fit your budget and filing needs.
- Multiple support options make it easy to get the help you need to complete your paperwork.
- Import ADP or Equifax W2s and instantly populate fields in your forms with the information.
Since nothing is perfect, what features might make you shy away from this tax prep software suite?
- You may end up paying for something you can get for free somewhere else.
- Errors aren’t revealed until the final review. Navigating through documents to correct them can be difficult.
- Limited support hours mean you may not get the help you need right away.
Even without a free version, Liberty Tax offers a solid experience at a reasonable cost. If you work a traditional job on top of running a small business, this is the tax preparation software for your business. The autofill features make completing your forms quick, so you can get back to business. If you’re concerned about accuracy or fear an audit, Liberty Tax’s accuracy guarantee will bring you great comfort.
TaxAct is another classic in the tax preparation software market. Their professional software is designed to meet the needs of small business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and the self-employed. With several levels of service, you’re sure to find the right package to fit your circumstances.
Why is TaxAct better than the rest?
- Pay your filing fees with your refund money.
- During the final review, you receive personalized recommendations on ways to reduce future tax bills or improve your current year’s return.
- If tax preparation is your side hustle, this software offers office management tools that make it easier to make money.
What are some of the things TaxAct developers could improve on?
- The program does not allow users to import W2s.
- State filing fees are some of the highest on the market.
- May not be able to handle more complex returns.
For an additional fee, users can purchase TaxAct’s audit protection service. If you get audited, TaxAct will represent you before the IRS and help you resolve your case. Small businesses with no employees, solopreneurs, and those who offer tax preparation services as part of their business benefit most from this easy-to-navigate software.
Tax Slayer is the preparation software for the new millennium. This cloud-based program integrates the best mobile technologies available for superior convenience. The pricing is right, too. Regardless of where you live, you’ll only pay $29 to file your state returns. There are several price points for federal returns. However, all of their plans are reasonably priced when compared to their competitors. Their website contains an article database that is useful for researching topics related to your return.
What good things does Tax Slayer have to offer?
- Upload W2s via the mobile application.
- Cloud connectivity means you can start and finish your returns from anywhere.
- You don’t need to upgrade to a paid service to get over-the-phone assistance.
What are some of the not-so-good things about Tax Slayer?
- Free returns are severely limited. Most people will need to upgrade to at least the first tier.
- Constant pop-ups and ads for additional services can get annoying.
- Email support can take up to 48 hours to reply to messages.
Since it can be difficult to access support personnel, Tax Slayer works best for those who already have a little experience with yearly tax documents. Freelancers and self-employed taxpayers can enjoy accurate returns and easy-to-use interfaces at a lower cost than many competitors.
So, which tax preparation software is right for your business? Let CUE Marketplace help you decide! Visit our website to learn more about these programs, compare features side-by-side, and, when you’re ready, make your purchase. CUE Marketplace takes the pain out of choosing your next tax preparation software program.