What Are the Differences Between Common Tax Preparation Software Brands?

What Are the Differences Between Common Tax Preparation Software Brands?

As of 2015, TaxAct is the cheapest of the three major tax preparation software brands, although it is slightly less user-friendly than Turbo Tax or H&R Block software, reports Fox Business. All three brands offer software and online options, but only H&R Block has physical locations for face-to-face taxpayer assistance. The TaxAct Deluxe software is editor's choice for 2015 due to its comprehensive support of Internal Revenue Service forms and its security features, according to PC Magazine.

All three companies offer rudimentary tax preparation software for free, explains Fox Business. TaxAct software uses standard tax language in its questions, explanations and forms and requires more knowledge on the user's part. Turbo Tax guides taxpayers through the return-filing process with easy-to-answer questions that require no understanding of tax forms. Although TaxAct and Turbo Tax do not have physical locations, they both have website and phone support.

Turbo Tax is the most expensive of the three brands and does not support certain common federal documents unless taxpayers pay for upgrades, points out PC Magazine. Additionally, its website help can be unreliable, as it allows people who are not tax professionals to post answers. All three software brands have apps available for smartphones and tablets.