Best Tax Software 2023 | Online Tax Filing

Best Tax Software 2023 | Online Tax Filing

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At U.S. News & World Report, we take an unbiased approach to our ratings. We adhere to strict editorial guidelines, maintain a separate business team, and provide transparency on our methodology.

Why Trust U.S. News

At U.S. News & World Report, we take an unbiased approach to our ratings. We adhere to strict editorial guidelines, maintain a separate business team, and provide transparency on our methodology.

Popular Tax Software

If you’re ready to file your taxes for 2023 but not sure where to start, our ratings for Best Tax Software and Best Mobile Tax Apps and our guides to completing your taxes can help. TurboTax, H&R Block, Cash App Taxes, Jackson Hewitt, and TaxSlayer all make our ratings this year. The top-rated companies feature mobile tax apps, drop-off, and in-person services that could make your tax-filing easier. Read on to see which services might work best for your tax situation.

Man using calculator with desktop computer on a desk


Best Tax Software of 2023

TurboTax »
Base Price $59 and Up $54 and up
Mobile App
Free Version
Get Started »

End of 2023 Tax Season Sale: Up to $15 Off Select Packages

H&R Block »
Base Price $49.99 and Up
Mobile App
Free Version
Get Started »

Exclusive Offer: Save Up to 20{64d42ef84185fe650eef13e078a399812999bbd8b8ee84343ab535e62a252847} on Software Packages

TaxSlayer »
Base Price $29.95 and Up $22.46 and Up
Mobile App
Free Version
Get Started »

U.S. News Exclusive Offer: Up to 25{64d42ef84185fe650eef13e078a399812999bbd8b8ee84343ab535e62a252847} OFF Select Packages

TurboTax  »

Best Tax Software Overall

End of 2023 Tax Season Sale: Up to $15 Off Select Packages

Base Fee
$59 and Up $54 and up

Free Version

Mobile App

TurboTax – Best Tax Software Overall

Earning the No. 1 spot in our ratings of the Best Tax Software of 2023 and the Best Mobile Tax Apps of 2023, TurboTax offers four versions from free to Self-Employed. While TurboTax does’t offer any in-person services, customers can take advantage of professional assistance. These range from quick calls to answer questions to a full service where a professional will complete your tax return for you.

TurboTax has an easy-to-use interface and simple question-answer surveys that will assist you in filling out your return. TurboTax saves customer information from year to year, which will speed up the process and keep you from filling in redundant information.

TurboTax offers a free version that covers very basic taxes with no itemized deductions or additional schedules. For users with more complicated filings, prices start at $59 for federal returns and $59 for state returns. TurboTax also offers live tax assistance in the form of video calls, which starts at $89 for Live Basic for federal returns and an additional $64 for state returns.

H&R Block  »

Best Tax Software Filing Options

Exclusive Offer: Save Up to 20{64d42ef84185fe650eef13e078a399812999bbd8b8ee84343ab535e62a252847} on Software Packages

Base Fee
$49.99 and Up

Free Version

Mobile App

H&R Block – Best Tax Software Filing Options

Earning the No. 2 spot, H&R Block stands out from the competition as the only service in our rating to offer online and downloadable tax filing, a mobile app, and in-person tax services. Online tax filing at H&R Block uses an easy-to-follow question-answer format, but it can still tackle more complex tax situations. Like TurboTax, online filing is free to start and increases in price depending on how complicated your tax return gets. The top tier of H&R Block’s online tax software costs $109.99. State filings are an additional $36.99 each. Are you trying to decide between our top-rated tax software? Learn more in our head-to-head review of TurboTax and H&R Block. If you’re not a fan of doing your own taxes, there are more than 11,000 H&R Block offices across the country with in-person or drop-off tax preparation services on hand.

Jackson Hewitt

Jackson Hewitt offers in-person tax services through its nearly 6,000 offices, 3,000 of which are located inside Walmart stores. It includes low-cost online options that start at $25 to file and federal and one state return. Its software follows a step-by-step format and comes with guarantees for accuracy, maximum refund, and satisfaction. You can get online help from a tax professional when filing or use the drop-off tax service. If you want your refund quickly, Jackson Hewitt offers a refund advance for up to $3,500 given on a prepaid card. There’s no fee and no interest charged for the loan. While Jackson Hewitt doesn’t have an app for tax filers who complete the return themselves, if you want to use the option of filing with a tax expert you can download Jackson Hewitt Tax Pro From Home.

Cash App Taxes – Most Affordable Tax Software 

Cash App Taxes joins our rating of the Best Tax Software this year. Previously known as Credit Karma (which was our No. 4 Tax Software of 2021), Cash App bought the company’s tax service in November 2020. Cash App Taxes is the Most Affordable Tax Software of 2023 because it’s free to file your federal and one state tax return. To use the software, you must download the Cash App mobile app to your cell phone or computer. The company says you can get your refund up to two days faster if you deposit it into your Cash App account. It offers a guarantee to get you the maximum refund possible. However, the app isn’t for complex tax situations, and residents of Montana are unable to e-file through Cash App Taxes.

TaxSlayer  »

U.S. News Exclusive Offer: Up to 25{64d42ef84185fe650eef13e078a399812999bbd8b8ee84343ab535e62a252847} OFF Select Packages

Base Fee
$29.95 and Up $22.46 and Up

Free Version

Mobile App

Price reflects discount.


TaxSlayer offers four options for completing your tax return online. Its pricing begins with a free version and goes to $59.95 for self-employed taxpayers (normally the most complex of tax scenarios). Filling a state return is an additional $49.95 for the top-three tiered products. There’s no cost for state returns in the free version. If you’re looking for help to file online, TaxSlayer’s premium service might be for you. It costs $39.95 and includes live chat and the ability to ask a tax pro for assistance while filing. If you’re capable and won’t need hand-holding, you can try TaxSlayer’s mobile app to process your return. The company also offers free tax filing to active duty military service members.

The Best Mobile Tax Apps of 2023 include apps from TurboTax, H&R Block, Cash App Taxes, and TaxSlayer. Every app in our ratings works with Android and iOS. They also can be used on tablets, like H&R Block’s MyBlock App, which works on Amazon Fire tablets. The best mobile tax apps allow you to initiate your taxes and upload pertinent tax documents through photo capture. Some, like TurboTax’s mobile app, let you upload taxes from last year or from a different tax services provider and offer in-app assistance while working through the questions. MyBlock includes similar features plus additional options, such as credit score information or identity protection.

TaxSlayer’s app includes a refund calculator to estimate taxes and allows ease in moving from one device to another while filing. The company claims it will help you maximize deductions and has a 100{64d42ef84185fe650eef13e078a399812999bbd8b8ee84343ab535e62a252847} accuracy guarantee.

Cash App Taxes is only delivered through its app and uses 128-bit encryption to protect your data. It incorporates two-step authentication and a phone number to use the account. A separate team monitors the site to help maintain privacy. If you used Credit Karma Tax to file taxes last year, the company says you’ll be able to access them with Cash App Taxes.

The mobile apps in our ratings all use multifactor authentication. Some incorporate biometrics, such as fingerprint passwords, to protect your account from identity theft.

Tax software helps you prepare and file your income tax returns faster and more easily than filling out paper forms. It keeps things organized, provides step-by-step instructions, and calculates how much you owe or how much the government owes you.

“They tend to ask you a series of questions and then walk you back through each section so you can review everything. They then file your return automatically to the IRS,” says Wes Brown, a board-certified financial planner at Cogent Blue Wealth Advisors.

Because tax software automates much of the filing process, it saves time and money while helping to ensure your return is accurate and follows the latest tax laws. All you have to do is answer some questions about any major life events in the previous year (such as getting married or having children) and correctly enter data from your W-2s, 1099s, and other relevant forms.

The beauty of tax software is that, with some products, you don’t need to know anything about taxes to use it. Plus, a tax program may keep you from having to pay a considerable fee to hire a certified public accountant, enrolled agent, or other tax professional.

Most consumer-focused tax software falls into one of two categories:

  • Form-based: This presents electronic versions of various tax documents and forms. You’ll need to fill in the data from your corresponding paper forms, making sure to put the correct numbers in the correct boxes.
  • Interview-based: This type can be easier to use for some people because it comes in a question-and-answer format. Just answer the questions, and the software will complete your tax forms for you.

While no one needs tax software, it can be a huge help to many people, especially if you have a relatively simple return and don’t need in-person consultation from a tax professional but would still like some guidance. If you want to claim multiple deductions, report self-employment or investment income, recently had a child, or otherwise have a more complex situation, having a tax professional prepare your return may be the best choice to make sure it’s done correctly. A decision, which according to the National Society of Accountants, can cost between $220 and $323 dollars.

Ultimately, whether tax software is worth the investment for you depends on how you weigh the advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of tax software include:

  • Easy to use: Most tax programs have intuitive interfaces that are easy to use, even if your knowledge of taxes and computers is minimal.
  • Fast: Tax software can significantly speed up the filing process compared to doing your taxes manually with paper forms, especially if you’ve stayed organized throughout the year and have all your pertinent information readily available.
  • Cost-effective: You could easily pay a tax professional $220 or more to prepare an individual tax return, whereas using tax software will cost significantly less.
  • Provides live support: While you won’t see a tax professional in person if you use tax software, some programs provide live, one-on-one customer support over the internet or by phone.
  • Offers instant insight: Riley Adams, CPA and founder of Young and the Invested, notes that tax software can instantly calculate how different filing decisions will affect your tax bill.
  • Helps uncover tax savings: Tax software will ask you questions you might not have thought of that could entitle you to credits or deductions, such as whether you had children or sold real estate in the previous year, says Robert Gauvreau, CPA and founder of Gauvreau & Associates.

Tax software has some disadvantages as well:

  • Not ideal for complex tax situations: If you’re self-employed, own a small business, earned investment or rental income, or have another complex tax situation, it may be worth the money to have a CPA or enrolled agent prepare your return to make sure you don’t pay more in taxes than you owe.
  • Could inspire false confidence: Adam Brewer, owner of Triumph Over Tax and a licensed tax attorney, notes that tax software depends on the data you enter being accurate. If the return contains an error, this will increase your chances of an audit. While some tax programs can check for missing information and other common errors before you file, relying too heavily on the software without carefully entering your information could backfire.
  • Live support can be limited: Some programs offer live support that’s limited to noting things in your return that could increase your risk of an audit, leaving you to figure out what to do on your own. If you need more support than this, such as help filling out a specific form or reporting a certain type of income, be sure to buy software that offers it. Note that this usually comes with an extra charge.
  • Can’t maximize your refund: QuickBooks ProAdvisor Elena Bailey says that while tax software will seek to minimize your tax liability and maximize your refund, hiring a tax professional is the best way to ensure you get all the money you’re entitled to. Plus, only a professional can help you plan for future tax years.

To buy tax software, you need to:

1. Understand your tax needs. Different tax software is better for different situations, says Kenesha Coleman, a CPA at ColemanTax. You may just need to file a W-2, or you may have to file other forms and schedules because you have self-employment or business income (for example).

You also might have had a significant life event, such as getting married, having a child, or starting your own company. Thinking carefully about these and similar issues will help you choose tax software that meets your needs. In addition, decide whether you want features, such as live tax support, audit support, or the ability to auto-import financial information from other software.

2. Research your options. Tax software company websites can provide a wealth of information about specific products and the company itself, such as how long it’s been around and whether it sells other types of financial software that could work with your tax program.

3. Narrow your search. Research your options until you’ve come up with two or three tax programs that might be suitable. For each of them, decide whether you can afford the fees for both state and federal tax returns, as well as whether the software offers the level of support and other features you’re looking for. For example, do you want an interview-style format that helps you identify all the credits and deductions you’re entitled to, or do you prefer to fill out tax forms directly with a simple fill-in-the-blank interface?

4. Read reviews. Our unbiased rating of the Best Tax Software of 2023 explains the pros and cons of the top tax programs to help you select the best one for you.

5. Select your tax software. You’ll be filing tax returns for the rest of your professional life, so choose software that will meet your needs both now and in the future so that you don’t have to purchase and learn another program.

When selecting tax software, look for the following features:

  • Frequent updates: Tax software should regularly update itself with the latest tax law changes so you don’t have to keep up with these yourself.
  • Option to import forms: Rather than entering all your data manually, look for a program that lets you upload your W-2 forms, other tax forms, and receipts from charitable donations. Some tax programs can even import financial information from Quicken or other types of financial software, which saves even more time.
  • Cloud-based software: Many companies give you a choice of downloading tax software to your computer or using a cloud-based version. The latter is generally preferable because it doesn’t take up space on your hard drive, is updated regularly, allows you to work from anywhere you have an internet connection, and automatically saves your work on an encrypted cloud server.
  • Technical and tax support: Most tax software comes with technical support if you have trouble using the software, as well as tax support to help you file your return correctly. However, the quality of support varies from program to program, especially when it comes to helping with your taxes. Some programs only have an automated “chatbot” that can answer basic questions from an online database, while others connect you with a live tax specialist who can help you choose a filing status, report different types of income on the correct forms, etc.
  • Interview-style format: Software with an interview-style interface asks you pertinent questions about your income, deductions, etc., and provides more guidance than a simple fill-in-the-blank interface.
  • Availability of tax forms: Choose a tax program that has all the tax forms and schedules you need.
  • Information storage: Tax software should provide at least three years of storage for your tax returns, which will speed up the filing process in subsequent years and help if you’re ever audited.
  • Audit support: Choose a tax program that comes with audit support. With this service, a tax professional will help you respond to the IRS and possibly represent you in the event of an audit.
  • State return option: Most tax programs will let you file a state return, but they charge different amounts for doing so. Some allow you to file the first state return for free, while others impose a fee for all state returns.

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For more information about tax software and filing your taxes, see the following guides:

Best Tax Software of 2023

Other Guides from 360 Reviews

 For comparisons and advice about other products and services, see our other guides:

Why You Can Trust Us: 10 Tax Software Researched

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Hospitals, Best Colleges, and Best Cars to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. Our 360 Reviews team draws on this same unbiased approach to rate the products that you use every day. To build our ratings, we researched more than 10 tax software and analyzed 23 reviews. Our 360 Reviews team does not take samples, gifts, or loans of products or services we review. All sample products provided for review are donated after review.

The following describes our 360 approach to researching and analyzing tax software companies to provide guidance to prospective consumers.

1. We researched the companies and products people care most about.

U.S. News analyzed and compared a variety of publicly available data, including internet search data, to determine which tax software companies Americans are most interested in. We found 14 companies that stand out in terms of volume of searches and research among consumers, as well as across different rating sources.

We then compared the available products provided by our top tax software companies across several criteria, including cost, key tax forms supported and the availability of expert help. Research shows that these are the most important criteria for people shopping for a tax service. We compared the least comprehensive tax service product offered by each company that didn’t come for free.

2. We created an objective 360 Overall Ratings based on an analysis of third-party reviews.

U.S. News’ 360 Reviews team applied an unbiased methodology that includes opinions from third-party reviews as well as consumer reviews.

Our scoring methodology is based on a composite analysis of the ratings and reviews published by credible third-party professional and consumer review sources. The ratings are not based on personal opinions or experiences of U.S. News. To calculate the ratings:

(a) We compiled two types of third-party ratings and reviews:

  • Professional Ratings and Reviews. Many independent industry evaluating sources have published their assessments of tax software companies and their products online. We consider several of these third-party reviews to be reputable and well-researched. However, professional reviewers often make recommendations that contradict one another. Rather than relying on a single source, U.S. News believes consumers benefit most when these opinions and recommendations are considered and analyzed collectively with an objective, consensus-based methodology.
  • Consumer Ratings and Reviews. U.S. News also reviewed published consumer ratings and reviews of tax software companies. Sources with a sufficient number of quality consumer ratings and reviews were included in our scoring model.

Please note that not all professional and consumer rating sources met our criteria for objectivity. Therefore, some sources were excluded from our model.
(b) We standardized the inputs to create a common scale.

The third-party review source data were collected in a variety of forms, including ratings, recommendations and accolades. Before including each third-party data point into our scoring equation, we had to standardize it so that it could be compared accurately with data points from other review sources. We used the scoring methodology described below to convert these systems to a comparable scale.

The 360 scoring process first converted each third-party rating into a common 0 to 5 scale. To balance the distribution of scores within each source’s scale, we used a standard deviation (or Z-Score) calculation to determine how each company that a source rated was scored in comparison to the source’s mean score. We then used the Z-Score to create a standardized U.S. News score using the method outlined below:

  • Calculating the Z-Score: The Z-Score represents a data point’s relation to the mean measurement of the data set. The Z-Score is negative when the data point is below the mean and positive when it’s above the mean; a Z-Score of 0 means it’s equal to the mean. To determine the Z-Score for each third-party rating of a company, we calculated the mean of the ratings across all companies evaluated by that third-party source. We then subtracted the mean from the company’s rating and divided it by the standard deviation to produce the Z-Score.
  • Calculating the T-Score: We used a T-Score calculation to convert the Z-Score to a 0-100 scale by multiplying the Z-Score by 10. To ensure that the mean was equal across all data points, we added our desired scoring mean (between 0 and 10) to the T-Score to create an adjusted T-Score.
  • Calculating the common-scale rating: We divided the adjusted T-Score, which is on a 100-point scale, by 20 to convert the third-party rating to a common 0-5 point system.

(c) We calculated the 360 Overall Score based on a weighted-average model.
We assigned “source weights” to each source used in the consensus scoring model based on our assessment of how much the source is trusted and recognized by consumers and how much its published review process indicates that it is both comprehensive and editorially independent. The source weights are assigned on a 1-5 scale. Any source with an assigned weight less than two was excluded from the consensus scoring model.

Finally, we combined the converted third-party data points using a weighted average formula based on source weight. This formula calculated the consensus score for each product, which we call the 360 Overall Rating.

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.