Best Tax Software for 2023

We've rated and reviewed the most popular tax software packages to help you choose the one that's right for you.
Tina Orem
Sabrina Parys
Alana Benson
By Alana Benson,  Sabrina Parys and  Tina Orem 
Edited by Chris Hutchison
best-tax-software

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Taxes are confusing enough without the added stress of figuring out which tax software is the best tax software. So we did the research to help you choose the ideal option to file taxes online. We focused on well-known and widely used tax-preparation software, and while the tax code is the tax code, there’s a crucial difference between paying for what you'll use and paying for stuff you don’t need.

Best tax software providers

  • Federal: $24.95 to $64.95. Free version available for simple tax returns only.

  • State: $39.95 to $44.95.

  • All filers get access to Xpert Assist for free.

Promotion: NerdWallet users get 25% off federal and state filing costs.

  • Federal: $55 to $110. Free version available for simple tax returns only.

  • State: $0 to $37 per state.

  • Online Assist add-on gets you on-demand tax help.

  • Federal: $59 to $119. Free version available for simple returns only.

  • State: $0 to $54 per state.

  • Live Assisted Basic is free through March 31.

Promotion: NerdWallet users can save up to $15 on TurboTax.

  • Federal: $19.95 to $49.95 Free version available for simple tax returns only.

  • State: $0 to $39.95 per state.

  • On-demand tax help at Premium and Self-Employed tiers.

Promotion: NerdWallet users get 30% off federal filing costs. Use code NERD30.

These star ratings are based on a tax provider's free tier score. For more detailed scoring, see below. Providers frequently change pricing. You can verify the latest price by clicking through to each provider's site.


A quick note on how to choose tax software ...

There are many software providers out there, and each one offers different packages for different taxpayers. When choosing, it's likely most helpful to start with your individual needs.


Best software for simple returns

FREE

$0 + $0 per state filed.

Allows you to file a 1040 plus schedules 1, 2 and 3, which makes it usable by a lot more people than most other free software packages.

PAID PACKAGES

Basic Online Assist  $70 + $0 per state.

Free version, plus access to a tax pro for help and advice. No final review.

Deluxe $55 (Online Assist version: $110) + $37 per state.

Itemize and claim several tax deductions and credits. Works well for business income but no expenses.

Premium $75 (Online Assist version: $160) + $37 per state.

For investors or rental property owners (Schedules D and E, and K-1s).

Self-Employed $110 (Online Assist version: $195) + $37 per state.

For small-business owners, freelancers and independent contractors.

What H&R Block Free can do

Form 1040 and schedules 1, 2 and 3, income from wages (W-2), income from bank interest (1099-INT) and dividends (1099-DIV), student loan interest (1098-E).

What it can’t do

Itemized deductions (Schedule A), deductions and expenses from freelance or self-employed work (Schedule C), HSA distributions (1099-SA).

» Learn more in our H&R Block review.


Best overall paid package and best for ease of use

FREE

$0 + $0 per state filed.

For simple tax returns only; it allows you to file a 1040 and a state return for free, but you can’t itemize or file schedules 2 or 3 of the 1040. Limited use of schedule 1 is available. Not all taxpayers qualify.

PAID PACKAGES

Live Assisted Basic $89 (state included). Free until 3/31.

Free version plus access to a tax pro, advice and a final review until March 31.

Deluxe $59 + $54 per state (Live Assisted: $129, $59).

Itemize and claim several tax deductions and credits. Works well for business income but no expenses.

Premier $89 + $54 per state (Live Assisted: $179, $59).

Deluxe version plus investment reporting and rental income (Schedules D and E, and K-1s).

Self-Employed $119 + $54 per state (Live Assisted: $209, $59).

Premier version plus business income, expenses on a Schedule C, home office deductions and features for freelancers.

Promotion: NerdWallet users can save up to $15 on TurboTax.

What we like

TurboTax’s software feels like an interview with a tax preparer who knows just what to ask and how best to guide you.

What makes TurboTax the best overall paid package?

Its extensive assortment of tools, contextual learning features, and human tax help support offerings — which include a professional review of your return — make DIY tax filing accessible to a wide range of filers.

What makes TurboTax easy to use?

TurboTax has an interview-style Q&A experience and a wide range of functionalities that make entering information easy. Help is easy to access, and explanations are clear and authoritative. Contextual help, in the form of embedded links, sidebars and videos is exceptional.

» Learn more in our TurboTax review.


Best for assisted tax pro support

FREE

$0 + $39.95 per state filed.

For dependents, simple filers who need help with college expenses, unemployment or retirement income. All filers get free live tax advice from a tax pro.

PAID PACKAGES

Deluxe $24.95 +$44.95 per state filed

This option is ideal for homeowners and those who need to consider childcare expenses, student loan payments, deductions, credits and adjustments.

Premier $34.95 + $44.95 per state filed

Premier is good for investors who need to report capital gains and losses and those who have sold a home or own a rental property.

Self-Employed $64.95 + $44.95 per state filed

This tier is good for freelancers, contractors and small-business owners. Includes access to Schedule C and Schedule F.

Promotion: NerdWallet users get 25% off federal and state filing costs.

What we like

TaxAct offers a strong platform with a small price tag and free help at every tier.

What makes TaxAct the best for assisted tax pro support?

TaxAct gives every user, regardless of tier, free access to its Xpert Assist tax help service. This access is especially great for those at the free tier: Getting any kind of support from tax pros can be pricey. TaxAct also offers a free professional review of your return before you file so you can be certain your return is accurate.

» Learn more in our TaxAct review.


More about tax software providers

If you don't know what you need — or how much you need to pay for — it might help to examine the providers individually and what sort of experience each one offers. Here are a few areas to dig into:

  • User experience: Software that feels like an interview — asking questions about your income and any live events that might allow for deductions — offers more guidance than a basic fill-in-the-blank process. The ability to import forms such as W-2s is better than having to manually type in numbers.

  • Support options: Most tax software offers a searchable FAQ section or knowledge base, and some offer video tutorials or user forums to help answer questions. Audits are unlikely for most taxpayers, but if you think you’re at risk, and want to purchase protection, you should understand what your software provides.

  • Tax pros for assisted help: One important offering in recent years has been one-on-one help from a human tax pro, live on your screen. Depending on the provider, these pros might be able to give you tax advice or review your whole tax return before you file. (This sort of help may come with an extra charge.)

  • Availability of tax forms: If you find a provider that excels in the areas above, you then want to choose the package that covers all of the tax forms and schedules you need.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If your tax situation is more complicated, don’t despair — you still might be able to get free tax software from some of these providers through the IRS's Free File program if your adjusted gross income for 2022 was $73,000 or less.

» Want all the details? Read our reviews of TurboTax, TaxAct, H&R Block and TaxSlayer.


Methodology

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest online tax software providers. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of available software to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers, do first-hand testing and observe provider demonstrations. Our process starts by sending detailed questions to providers. The questions are structured to equally elicit both favorable and unfavorable responses. They are not designed or prepared to produce any predetermined results. The provider’s answers, combined with our specialists’ hands-on research, make up our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance.

The final output produces star ratings from poor (1 star) to excellent (5 stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star. For more details about the categories considered when rating tax software and our process, read our full methodology.

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