tax software 2024

Some of the best tax filing software programs include TurboTax, Liberty Tax, and E-file. There are numerous tax filing options to choose from, but the best option for you depends on your income, state of residence, the complexity of your tax situation, and other factors. 

Filing your taxes properly could potentially result in a decent refund, so consider filing soon. According to the IRS, 90% of refunds are issued within 21 days of filing!1 

Keep reading to learn about different tax software companies and how you can file for free.

The Best Tax Preparation Software Options

Below is a quick overview of some of the most common tax software options: 

TurboTax

  • Free filing option available? – YES
  • Electronic filing available? – YES
  • In-person filing available? – NO
  • Extra assistance offered? – Yes, live assistance is available

Liberty Tax

  • Free filing option available? – NO
  • Electronic filing available? – YES
  • In-person filing available? – YES
  • Extra assistance offered? – Yes, you can make an in-person appointment

E-file

E-File.com 50% Cheaper IRS Tax Returns – Get Started Today
  • Free filing option available? – Free federal tax option available, but no free state tax option 
  • Electronic filing available? – YES
  • In-person filing available? – NO
  • Extra assistance offered? – Somewhat, there is no live assistance, but can submit a help “support ticket”

TurboTax: An Overview

TurboTax is one of the most popular and one of the most user-friendly tax software options available. One of the biggest draws of TurboTax is that they have a 100% guarantee of accuracy when it comes to tax calculations and tax pro reviews. Like most tax software options, there are both free and paid versions of TurboTax that consumers can use to file their tax returns. The different ways consumers can file their tax return with TurboTax are: 

  • Do-it-yourself tax filing – You can file your taxes on your own using the TurboTax platform. Depending on your tax situation there are both free and paid options available. 
  • Do-it-yourself with assistance – There is also an option to file your taxes on your own, with assistance available if needed. With this tax filing method, there are free and paid options available. 
  • Expert tax filing –  TurboTax also offers the option to submit your tax documents online and have a tax professional file your returns on your behalf. There is no free version of TurboTax expert tax filing, plans start at $89.  

More About TurboTax Live Assistance 

No matter if you choose a free or paid plan, TurboTax offers several types of assistance when it comes to troubleshooting and answering your tax questions. For most free basic plans there is a personalized AI assistance program designed to help with simple troubleshooting like identifying potential itemized deductions, locating data on your tax documents, etc. For more in-depth issues, TurboTax has more than 17,000 tax professionals employed nationwide to assist consumers with unique tax issues. 

Liberty Tax: An Overview

Liberty Tax, having been around since 1997, is known for having some of the best tax software and assistance available. They have over 2,500 retail branches employed with over 12,000 tax professionals who are trained and qualified to assist you with doing your own taxes or even to do your taxes on your behalf!

Tax Software Programs and Filing Assistance with Liberty Tax

Liberty Tax offers three main ways consumers can file their taxes for 2023, they are: 

  • File your own taxes – You can file your own taxes online using the Liberty Tax online tax software. Pricing for this tax filing process starts at $49.95.
  • File remotely with an expert – You may also send a Liberty Tax associate your tax documents and have them file your 2023 return on your behalf. Pricing for this option will vary depending on your specific tax situation, but plans start at $69. 
  • File in person with a tax professional – You may also visit one of the Liberty Tax locations around the United states and meet with a tax pro to file your federal and state returns. Pricing for this type of tax assistance will also vary depending on your unique itemized deductions, filing status, etc.  

 In addition to tax filing services, Liberty Tax also offers other services such as: 

  • Bookkeeping services 
  • Free consultations for taxes, loans, and other services
  • Spanish-speaking options available 
  • Free ITIN application assistance
  • Free tax classes (with some fees)
  • Debit account services (also comes with perks like cash back and the ability to receive your paycheck early) 

E-File.com: An Overview

E-File.com 50% Cheaper IRS Tax Returns – Get Started Today

E-File is another platform available where consumers can file their tax forms online. Unlike Liberty Tax and TurboTax, however, E-File doesn’t have a free option for filing state taxes, although they do offer a free option for filing federal taxes. Other pricing options for filing your state and federal tax return with the E-File online tax software include: 

  • Basic Federal filing – Free 
  • Basic state filing – Starts at $22.49
  • Deluxe tax filing – Starts at $20.99
  • Premium tax filing – Starts at $37.49

How Does Using Online Tax Software Work?

Although the nuances may be different depending on which tax software you use, the basic filing process is typically the same. To start, the program will ask you some basic questions about your life status to see what documents you need. These documents may include but are certainly not limited to: 

  • W-2
  • Form 1099
  • IRS form 1040

What Do I Need To File My Tax Return?

Most programs require the following information in order to utilize their tax preparation software:

  • Identifying information –  Information to confirm your identity includes the names and social security numbers of you, your spouse (if applicable), and your dependents (if applicable). You will also need to include the wage/salary of you and your spouse. 
  • Additional taxable income info – Investment income info (including interest income, dividend income, proceeds from the sale of bonds or stocks, income from foreign investments, business income, earned income tax credit info, unemployment income, rental property income, education tax credits, rental income (if applicable), Social Security benefits, income earned from jury duty, lottery and gambling winnings, prizes, awards, and distributions from any medical savings accounts. 
  • Personal expense data – This information will include any unreimbursed business expenses, childcare expenses, gambling losses, medical expenses, moving expenses, and taxes like car registration fees or real estate tax bills. 

After you gather your documents, you can either upload them and import your data, or enter your data manually. The tax software program should guide you through filling out your data and show you exactly where to locate all the required information. Once you’ve successfully entered your data and tax deductions, all that’s left to do is confirm your information and sign your return. At this point, you should know if you owe the IRS money or if you should be expecting a tax refund. 

When Is the Tax Filing Deadline? 

The general deadline to file a federal tax return is Monday, April 15, 2024. However, there are exceptions if you reside in specific states. 

Taxpayers living in Maine and Massachusetts have until Wednesday, April 17, 2024, to file due to these holiday observances: Patriot’s Day (April 15) and Emancipation Day (April 16). And if your city is declared a disaster area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), your federal return is due by June 17, 2024.2 

If you’re unsure of your state’s specific tax deadline, check your state’s official Department of Revenue website. 

What To Know About Free Tax Software Options

IRS Free File program is a secure service that provides U.S. taxpayers with free fillable tax forms and guided tax preparation software. In order to use free guided tax software, your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) must be less than $79,000. If your AGI is higher than $79,000, you will need to use the electronic federal tax forms. 

FAQs: Filing Your Taxes in 2023

What if I owe money on my taxes but don’t have the funds?

There are several options available for consumers who owe money on their taxes but don’t have sufficient funds to take care of their balance. If the amount owed is low, and you would be able to cover the expense with your next paycheck, you may consider getting a small personal loan, installment loan, or even a cash advance loan

What is the difference between filing taxes online and using a tax professional?

Filing taxes online using software allows you to complete your tax return at your own pace and is often less expensive than hiring a tax professional. However, a tax professional can provide personalized advice and handle complex tax situations.

Can I file my taxes online for free?

Yes, many taxpayers can file their taxes online for free using the IRS Free File program if their adjusted gross income (AGI) is below a certain threshold, or through free versions offered by some tax software companies for simple tax returns.

How secure is online tax filing?

Reputable online tax filing software uses encryption and multiple layers of security to protect your personal information. Always ensure you’re using a trusted and verified service.

What should I do if I make a mistake on my tax return?

If you realize you’ve made a mistake after filing, you can file an amended return using Form 1040-X. Some tax software allows you to do this electronically.

How can I track the status of my refund after filing online?

You can check the status of your refund using the IRS’s “Where’s My Refund?” tool on their website or mobile app, typically within 24 hours after the IRS has received your e-filed return.

What documents do I need to file my taxes online?

Generally, you’ll need your Social Security number, W-2 forms from employers, 1099 forms if you’re self-employed, investment income statements, and records of any deductions or credits you plan to claim.

Is it better to file taxes early?

Filing early can reduce the risk of identity theft and give you more time to plan if you owe money. Plus, if you’re due a refund, you’ll receive it sooner.

What happens if I miss the tax filing deadline?

If you owe taxes and miss the deadline, you may face late filing and payment penalties. If you’re due a refund, there’s no penalty for filing late, but you must file within three years to claim your refund.

Can I file my state taxes at the same time as my federal taxes with online software?

Yes, most tax software allows you to file both state and federal returns at the same time, though there may be an additional fee for state filing.

What if I need help while using tax software?

Most tax software provides various forms of assistance, including FAQs, community forums, live chat, and phone support. Some even offer access to tax professionals for personalized advice.

CreditNinja Resources for Tax Information 

  1. Why is my tax return taking so long?
  2. Do I claim 1 or 0 on my taxes?
  3. Why do I owe state taxes?
  4. Is personal loan taxable and considered income?
  5. Is loan interest tax deductible?
  6. What happens if you are late filing taxes?

References:

  1. What Is the Average Tax Refund? | TIME
  2. Want your tax refund? Here are the filing deadlines for 2024 | CNBC
  3. TurboTax
  4. Liberty Tax Service
  5. E-file.com
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