Benzinga readers use tax software providers like TaxAct to file their returns.
Professional tax preparation can cost anywhere from $176 to $1,563 according to the National Society for Accountants. So, tax preparation software can be a great way to save money when filing your tax return and ensuring you still get your taxes done accurately and without paying more than you actually owe. However, filing taxes for a business is trickier than your standard individual income tax filing, so choosing the best tax software for small businesses is key, especially if you're in the process of setting up your business. Keep reading to find our top picks and learn more about factors you need to consider before choosing a tax software program for your small business.
Quick Look: Best Tax Software for Small Businesses
- Best for Seasoned Business Owners: TaxAct
- Best for Filing Taxes on a Budget: FreeTaxUSA
- Best for Live Tax Advice: TurboTax
- Best for a Free Version: TaxSlayer
- Best for Complex Tax Filings: Jackson Hewitt
Best Tax Software for Small Businesses
Take a look at the best tax software for your small business.
1. Best for Seasoned Business Owners: TaxAct
Our favorite features of TaxAct’s software include its Q&A format used to help you fill out your taxes without the headache. You’ll simply answer a series of easy-to-understand questions and the software will fill in the data where it needs to go on your tax filing. These questions also help you identify deductions and credits that you qualify for to maximize your refund. Once you’re done, you can review the form to double-check accuracy, file and be done!
TaxAct offers custom software packages depending on your business classification. For sole proprietors (Form 1040, Schedule C), you can use the $64.95 package. The packages for partnerships (Form 1065), C Corporations (Form 1120), S Corporations (Form 1120S) and tax-exempt organizations (Form 990) are all $109.95 each. For state returns, you’ll pay an additional $44.95 per state.
- The Q&A format helps set you at ease.
- Low cost packages for extended returns help you avoid overpaying at a difficult time of the year.
- Easy to double check and review your return at any time
- You may be confused by this platform if you’re unfamiliar with tax filings.
2. Best for Filing Taxes on a Budget: FreeTaxUSA
For those on a shoestring budget or who know that they can handle their taxes with little to no additional support, it’s hard to beat FreeTaxUSA. No matter what kind of forms you’re filing, you can use the free version of its filing software. The only services you have to pay for are individual state returns (just $14.99 each) and the optional deluxe edition (just $6.99).
The software supports most tax forms, except for a few of the less common ones and you can file prior year taxes as far back as 2013 using their free prior-year software. If you filed your taxes using a different software, you can easily import previous returns to FreeTaxUSA. This tax software for small business returns works best if you know what you’re doing and how the process works.
The biggest advantage you get with this option is that all tax forms and all possible deductions or credits are available with the free version. The low-cost deluxe edition simply adds audit support, unlimited amended returns and access to priority support with live chat.
Pricing: Starting at $0
Mobile app? No, but great mobile support
- Easy importation of documents helps you gather all the info you need.
- Low cost options include quite a lot of extra support.
- Unlimited amended returns are good for business owners who may be audited or miss certain pieces of information.
- Some forms may not be supported.
3. Best for Live Tax Advice: TurboTax
The TurboTax software for small businesses takes all the guesswork and much of the manual labor out of filing your tax return. You can import prior-year returns, automatically sync and categorize QuickBooks income and expense data, as well as easily identify every tax deduction your business qualifies for.
What really sets TurboTax apart is the new business support. Startups and newer businesses qualify for extra deductions that can sometimes be missed by other software, but TurboTax will catch them to help your growing business maximize its tax savings.
While the plans are a little more expensive than some of the other tax software programs on the market, we think the user-friendly platform and added support make it a worthy pick. The cheapest plan starts at $120 for sole proprietors who are self-filing. Sole proprietors who want added tax pro support (remember that they cannot give you tax law advice, however) can opt for the $170 plan. For corporations, partnerships and other organization types, the $160 TurboTax business software is likely your best bet. The state tax return fee is $50 per state.
- Return fees are relatively low.
- Syncing with QuickBooks can help you gather information.
- The program walks you through the filing at your own pace.
- You cannot expect the platform to catch all your mistakes.
4. Best for a Free Version: TaxSlayer
TaxSlayer offers low-cost, easy-to-use tax filing software with a great mobile app that allows you to file your taxes from anywhere. The platform and features are designed with freelancers, contractors and side hustlers in mind so those are the people who will benefit most from it. Larger businesses can still use this tax software program but it might not be as robust as you need it to be, especially if you’re filing for a tax credit, etc.
You can upload prior-year returns from other tax preparation software, talk to a tax professional whenever you have a question and easily find all the credits and deductions that you qualify for. One of its most unique features is the tax payment reminder feature. You can print payment vouchers and set up automated alerts when it’s time to make a payment. That way, you avoid penalties and interest on your next tax bill!
The TaxSlayer plan for businesses is just $47 plus $32 per state return and it supports just about all business types!
- Low costs protect small businesses.
- Easy to print payment vouchers and forms
- Serves freelancers and gig workers quite well
- If you have a business that is too large for the program, you will need to hire an accountant.
5. Best for Complex Tax Filings: Jackson Hewitt
For those with more complicated taxes, business income, state tax returns, an S corp, a C corp, rental income, tax credits, etc or with less experience filing business taxes, we think Jackson Hewitt is one of the best options. It offers a low-cost self-filing software if you don’t need any extra help. However, for those who do have more complexities, its “premier” plan offers an affordable hybrid between self-filing and professional tax preparation services.
The customer service line or a physical location ensures that you’ll be able to fill out your taxes with the help of a trained tax pro, but you still have the option to do it from home on your own schedule. This gives you the personalized, human touch of a tax prep service but the convenience and pricing of a tax software.
If you don’t need that level of service, its basic $49 self-filing tax software for business is a great deal. It’s one of the only options that come with unlimited state returns at no extra cost so if you do business in multiple states, this should be at the top of your list.
Pricing: Starting at $49
Mobile app? Yes
- Get the support you need, no matter how complex the return is.
- Low self-filing fees
- Support options helps you better understand your tax liability.
- This platform might be stumped by certain complex business structures.
Important Features of Tax Software for Small Businesses
When shopping around for the best tax software for small businesses, software vendors all offer different amenities and services. In short, the software provider should offer tax filers the ability to handle the unique demands of your industry and business type. A small business owner who sells homemade jewelry online has different forms and requirements than a marketing startup, for example.
So, when a small business owner is comparing the different features of the tax software their considering, keep an eye out for these key details:
- Supports the specific tax forms your business receives and files (like Forms 1040, 1120, Schedule C)
- Compatibility with your accounting software so that you can easily import documents and data
- Software for the correct tax year (it has been updated in line with the latest changes to the tax code)
Another feature that larger businesses or those with complicated tax structures might want to look for is audit support. Most software includes audit protection for preparers of personal and business returns in the event the inaccuracies on your returns were due to a problem in their software. However, audit support goes above and beyond this guarantee. Software that offers this will help you navigate the difficult and often stressful audit process without losing your mind after tax season is over. You need tax help throughout the year because the IRS could find an issue with anything from your employer tax payments to your gross income, state taxes, tax credits and more.
Benefits of Tax Software for Small Businesses
There are lots of reasons you might want to opt for a tax software when you file your business taxes this year. Some of the key benefits a software can offer your small business include:
- More affordable than most professional tax preparation services
- Accuracy and maximum refund guarantees
- Intuitive, easy-to-use platform to help you quickly identify qualifying business expenses or tax deductions and credits to maximize your refund
- Easy to import documents and data from your accounting software
- Access to live support as needed
Cost of Tax Software for Small Businesses
The cost of a small business tax software mostly depends on how much support you need and what kind of features you’re looking for. For sole proprietors or partnerships with just a few individuals, you can probably go with the more affordable self-file options.
For corporations or organizations with employees on a payroll, you may want to splurge for some professional support and advanced software features to ensure your tax return is accurate. Your final price also depends on how many states your business is required to file a tax return in and your unique tax situation.
Base price for software: $0 to $249
Additional state filing fees: $14.99 to $50 per state
Take Charge of Your Business’ Taxes Today
Whether you’re self-employed or at the helm of a small team of employees, filing your business taxes is easier when you have a tax software you can rely on. To choose the best tax software for your small business, consider factors like which forms it supports, which accounting software it supports and whether you need the help of a tax expert during the filing process. Irrespective of the user experience you prefer, we recommend starting on your personal or business return now, so you have plenty of time to gather your documents/tax information and double-check the calculations before the filing deadline.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to file taxes if I make less than $5,000 per year?
Generally, you do not need to make a tax filing when your business makes less than $5,000 per year. Check with a tax professional to make sure you are doing the right thing and filing or not filing properly.
Does having a small business help with taxes?
A small business can provide you with several tax advantages, but you should speak with a tax professional to ensure that you are leveraging those tax advantages properly.
How do I maximize my small business tax deductions?
Many people file as an S Corp or C Corp to maximize their small business deductions, but you should speak with a tax professional to ensure that you are filing and deducting properly.
Best Tax Software for Small Businesses Methodology
Benzinga analyzed the top tax software for small businesses by industry and winnowed down the list to include those with the best attributes. We prioritized pricing, features and scalability. We also considered the availability of a mobile app and consumer reviews.