Best TurboTax Alternatives

Don’t drag your feet when it’s time to submit your taxes. Filing online is simple, and you don’t even have to change out of your sweatpants to take care of business. 

Most self-filers have used TurboTax. There are many digital tax preparation services on the market. Take a look at our list of the best TurboTax alternatives to compare options now.

Best TurboTax Alternatives:

When Does Tax Season Start?

Tax season refers to the period during which individual taxpayers begin filing annual United States tax returns. Tax season begins January and ends April 15t.

Tax season is the busiest time of the year for tax preparers and tax preparation software companies. Get ahead of the game and find a tax service that’s right for you.

Best Alternatives to TurboTax

TurboTax is a big name in the tax preparation game. But there are many viable digital tax preparation services. 

Check out our stacked roster to find something that suits your needs.

1. Best for Active Duty Military: TaxSlayer

get started securely through TaxSlayer’s website

TaxSlayer is a family-owned, cloud-based tax preparation platform based in Atlanta, Georgia. TaxSlayer empowers customers to tackle taxes head on with simple technology and step-by-step instructions to file state and federal taxes. 

TaxSlayer keeps it simple but efficient. You won’t be unpleasantly surprised with add-on fees for obscure deductions or needed tax forms. 

You can choose between 4 subscription packages, which all cost less than $50. If you’re an active duty military member, you can file your federal taxes completely free of charge (state returns will cost you an additional fee). TaxSlayer also offers a completely free version of its software for simple, straightforward tax returns. 

Take advantage of TaxSlayer’s useful resources to help you keep up with changing tax laws and reforms. It guarantees you’ll get your largest possible refund using its software and tax reform calculators. You can start your return for free before choosing your TaxSlayer product. 

Cost: Varies by package tier; active duty military can file federal returns for free

  • Simply Free: $0, state returns included
  • Classic: $17, state returns additional
  • Premium: $37, state returns additional
  • Self-Employed: $47, state returns additional 

Free Version?: Yes

2. Best for Simplicity: EY Tax Chat

get started securely through EY TaxChat’s website
Best For
Self-employed filers
N/A
1 Minute Review

Tax time is here. One of the fastest and most accurate options you can secure for your personal and business taxes comes from a modern company that’s 119 years young — Ernst and Young’s TaxChat. With this desktop and mobile app, you connect with a human Ernst and Young (EY) Global Ltd. tax professional who prepares your 2021 tax filing and e-files it for you on your schedule, eliminating the hassle of appointments, paper documents and complications. 

When you use the EY TaxChat platform, you rely on a century-old company with the express purpose of “building a better working world.” General world improvements are lovely, but they are little help as April 15 approaches and your taxes aren’t done. EY TaxChat delivers a practical, reasonably priced, convenient tax prep service you can use from your phone. Read on to learn more about the benefits you get when you hire EY TaxChat to do your taxes.

 

Best For
  • Self-employed filers
  • Filers with complex investments
  • Crypto and non-fungible token (NFT) traders
  • People who work and live in different states
Pros
  • Virtual chat feature with tax experts
  • Live tax pros, not bots
  • Tax experts are certified public accountants (CPAs) or IRS enrolled agents
  • Unlimited advice
  • Five simple steps from start to finish
  • Precise match-up with a tax pro right for you
Cons
  • Pricier than some DIY software solutions

EY Tax Chat is a unique online platform that allows you to chat with tax professionals online, get the process done in 5 simple steps and enjoy unlimited advice from the Ernst & Young team.

When you use EY Tax Chat to do your taxes, you also get:

  • A precise match-up with a local tax professional
  • Services for crypto investors
  • Services for the self-employed
  • Services for complex returns

With a base fee of $199 and a powerful mobile app, you can get everything you need from EY Tax Chat while working with a tax pro—never a bot.

3.  Best for Maximizing Deductions: TaxAct

Get started securely through TaxAct’s website

TaxAct has provided tax preparation services since 1988. It offers both online tax preparation and downloadable tax preparation software.

TaxAct provides tax preparation services to a wide range of taxpayers, including self-employed workers, businesses, tax-exempt organizations, estates and trusts. If you need to file both home and business taxes, TaxAct has several home and business tax software bundles at a discounted price from what you’d pay for both individually. 

TaxAct’s software is particularly useful for self-employed people and freelance workers. The TaxAct Deduction Maximizer helps reduce the tax burden of self-employed workers by finding every possible deduction. 

For example, if you’re a writer, you can use TaxAct to deduct business expenses such as writing supplies and business use of your home. Or if you’re a traveling sales representative, TaxAct will help you claim the cost of your business trips, even down to your meals. 

Cost: Varies by package, online and software versions available

Online:

  • Free: $0.00, state returns additional
  • Deluxe+: $54.95, state returns additional 
  • Premier+: $79.95, state returns additional 
  • Self Employed+: $109.95, state returns additional 

Software:

  • Basic: $26.95, 5 federal e-files included and state returns additional
  • Deluxe: $96.90, 5 federal e-files included and 1 free state return
  • Premier: $101.90, 5 federal e-files included and 1 free state return
  • Self Employed: $124.90, 5 federal e-files include 1 free state return

Free Version?: Yes

Step Up Your Tax Prep Game 

Tax preparation software or online filing makes it easy to keep tax preparation simple. Compare our top tax prep services to find the right match today. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What is the difference between TurboTax Online and the software?

1
What is the difference between TurboTax Online and the software?
asked
A
1

The primary difference between TurboTax online and the software is that your fees are included in the price of TurboTax Online but not necessarily in the TurboTax software. You can also work on amending old returns from 2018 or retro-filing for 2019 with TurboTax Online, which you can’t do with the software.

TurboTax Online

  • No software included
  • Capability to E-file anywhere you are connected to the internet
  • Your information is stored on secure servers
  • E-filing includes return printing along with federal and state preparation fees
  • Can file retroactive tax returns and amend past years’ taxes

TurboTax Download/CD Software

  • Download or software CD
  • Work on taxes even when offline
  • Your information is stored on your hard drive
  • State E-filing fees not included
  • Every version doesn’t include preparation fees
  • Can e-file up to 5 returns and unlimited paper returns with no additional cost

answered
Q

Can you do your taxes for free?

1
Can you do your taxes for free?
asked
A
1

You can do your taxes yourself and submit them to the IRS for free.

answered
Q

What are some excellent alternatives to TurboTax?

1
What are some excellent alternatives to TurboTax?
asked
A
1

Several other providers you can use include Liberty Tax, FreeTaxUSA and TaxAct.

answered

1. What is the difference between TurboTax Online and the software?

The primary difference between TurboTax online and the software is that your fees are included in the price of TurboTax Online but not necessarily in the TurboTax software. You can also work on amending old returns from 2018 or retro-filing for 2019 with TurboTax Online, which you can’t do with the software. 

TurboTax Online

  • No software included
  • Capability to E-file anywhere you are connected to the internet
  • Your information is stored on secure servers
  • E-filing includes return printing along with federal and state preparation fees
  • Can file retroactive tax returns and amend past years’ taxes

TurboTax Download/CD Software

  • Download or software CD
  • Work on taxes even when offline
  • Your information is stored on your hard drive 
  • State E-filing fees not included
  • Every version doesn’t include preparation fees 
  • Can e-file up to 5 returns and unlimited paper returns with no additional cost

2. How much does it cost to file electronically with TurboTax?

TurboTax offers 1 completely free version of TurboTax Online, which is recommended for simple tax returns. Both federal and state tax filings are free with this version. 

Otherwise, the cost of filing electronically is included in the price of the paid versions of both TurboTax Online and the TurboTax Download/CD software. You’ll have to pay an additional cost for state returns online while the software version offers 1 free state return download for some packages.

3. How many free returns can I file with TurboTax?

You can electronically file up to 5 free federal returns with the paid TurboTax Download/CD software. Some packages include 1 free state return. The base level TurboTax Basic package charges additional fees for state returns. 

With TurboTax Online, the free version allows you to file all returns for free. For higher tier packages, your federal return is included in your package subscription price, but state returns are additional.

Related content: How to File Back Taxes