Best Tax Software for 2022

We've rated popular tax-preparation software packages to help you choose the one that's right for you.

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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 could 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: $29.95 to $44.95.

  • All filers get free live tax advice from a tax pro.

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

  • Federal: $39 to $89. Free version available for simple returns only.

  • State: $39 per state.

  • TurboTax Live packages offer review with a tax expert.

  • Federal: $29.99 to $84.99. Free version available for simple tax returns only.

  • State: $36.99 per state.

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

  • Federal: $17.95 to $47.95. Free version available for simple tax returns only.

  • State: First state free, then $36.95.

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

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

Federal: $0 + $0 per state filed.

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

PAID PACKAGES

Basic Online Assist Federal: $39.99 + $0 per state filed.

This is essentially the free version but with unlimited on-demand video and chat access to a tax pro for help and advice.

Deluxe Federal: $29.99 ($69.99 with Online Assist) + $36.99 per state filed.

Lets you itemize and claim several tax deductions and tax credits. If you’re an investor, landlord or filing a Schedule C with business expenses, you’ll need to upgrade.

Premium Federal: $49.99 ($109.99 with Online Assist) + $36.99 per state filed.

If you’re an investor or have rental property (that is, you need to file a Schedule D or E or have K-1s), this is for you.

Self-Employed Federal: $84.99 ($144.99 with Online Assist) + $36.99 per state filed.

This package does it all for small-business owners, freelancers and independent contractors. It also imports Uber driver tax information.

What H&R Block Free can do

Form 1040 and schedules 1 & 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 software for ease of use

FREE

Federal: $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 1, 2 or 3 of the 1040.

PAID PACKAGES

Live Basic Federal: $79 (state included).

This is essentially the free version but with access to a tax pro, advice and a final review.

Deluxe Federal: $39 (with Live: $119) + $39 per state filed (with Live: $49).

Lets you itemize and claim several tax deductions and credits. Works well for business income but no expenses.

Premier Federal: $69 (with Live: $169) + $39 per state filed (with Live: $49).

Deluxe version plus the ability to report investments and rental income (Schedules D and E, and K-1s).

Self-Employed Federal: $89 (with Live: $199) + $39 per state filed (with Live: $49).

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

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 easy to use

TurboTax has an interview-style Q&A experience and a wide range of functionality and tools that make entering information easy. Help is easy to access, and explanations are clear and authoritative.

» Learn more in our TurboTax review.


Best overall paid package

FREE

Federal: $0 + $29.95 per state filed.

For dependents, simple filers who need help with college expenses, unemployment or retirement income.

PAID PACKAGES

Deluxe Federal: $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 Federal: $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 Federal: $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.

What makes TaxAct the best paid package?

TaxAct gives every user, regardless of tier, free access to its Xpert Assist tax help service. You can also get a free professional review of your return before you file.

» 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. One important differentiator 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.) 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.

  • Availability of tax forms: If you find a provider that excels in the areas above, you then want to choose their package that covers all 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 2021 was less than $73,000.

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


When you need some help

Sometimes you just need to talk to a human. If you want help from a real person as you make your way through your return, you have several good options.

If you start the process and realize you don't want to fuss with tax software (or taxes at all, for that matter), there are options for that too.

No matter how hands-off you want to be come tax time, most providers can give you access to assistance.

Help and support availability:

I have tax questions and need help:

  • Free tax help and review for all tiers (including free).

  • Live tax advice and screen sharing (but you won't be able to see each other's faces).

I want someone to do my taxes for me:

  • Xpert Full Service: $99 to $279.95 plus state fees.

Help and support availability:

I have tax questions and need help:

  • TurboTax Live add-on connects you with a tax pro via chat or screen share.

  • Unlimited, live advice throughout the year and a final review.

I want someone to do my taxes for me:

  • $199 to $389, plus state fees for some packages.

Help and support availability:

I have tax questions and need help:

  • Add-on service for unlimited, on-demand screen sharing or chat with a tax pro.

  • Additional Tax Review Pro add-on gets you a one-on-one review.

I want someone to do my taxes for me:

  • Full-service prep online or in-store: $80 and up.

Help and support availability:

I have tax questions and need help:

  • Access to tax help for Premium and Self-Employed packages.

  • Submit questions through the portal. Tax pros will contact you within one business day via phone or email.

I want someone to do my taxes for me:

  • TaxSlayer does not offer full service.

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