Tax season can be a frustrating and stressful time of year, so it’s not surprising that so many people dread preparing and filing their taxes each year. However, the days of filling out seemingly endless stacks of paperwork and mailing off a thick packet (fingers crossed you didn’t make any errors), are fading quickly thanks to innovations in tax preparation and filing software solutions.
The primary keys to a stress-free tax season in 2018 are staying organized, preparing throughout the year, and using a tax filing software that best fulfills your needs. And the good news is, there are some great free tax filing services you can use to eliminate excessive fees and charges when it comes time to settle your 2018 taxes. And as long as your taxes aren’t too complicated, you can do it yourself and save the several hundred dollars it typically costs to hire an accountant or tax specialist. Plus, there many tax software options that offer free e-filing services when you use their system.
Getting Ready: Tax Prep Tips for Flawless Filing in 2018
A majority of people tend to wait until tax season to get ready, gather the necessary income and asset paperwork, and sift through a year’s worth of receipts and other information to find opportunities for tax deductions. This can easily make tax season scattered and stressful and make you more prone to errors or expensive tax preparation fees.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you dedicate time throughout the year to keep your income, deductions, and other tax details organized, you’ll ultimately save much time and strife when filing time rolls around.
Keeping track of your income, assets, and deductions is far easier when you use a program such as QuickBooks or Xero to help you keep all your details organized in one location. These software solutions offer various modules that are designed to help both individuals and small business owners easily keep track of income and expenses each month, and they even integrate with popular tax preparation and filing software to further simplify your tax experience.
Best Free Tax Filing Software for 2018
Tax situations are all unique from one another, so while there’s not any one-size-fits-all tax filing software that will be perfect for every individual or situation, there’s an array of great options to choose from, all of which offer free tax filing services.
Here’s a closer look at the best free tax filing software on the market for the 2018 tax season.
TurboTax is one of the best-known names in tax preparation and filing software. This solution is popular for individuals, small businesses, and self-employed taxpayers alike because it offers customized options for a variety of tax situations. The software walks you through each step of filing and submitting your state and federal taxes and has tax professionals available via phone, chat, or email to help you with any questions you have about the software or your taxes in general. They guarantee their system and provide assistance in the unlikely event you are audited.
TurboTax also integrates with QuickBooks so that you simply upload your expenses and deductions you’ve been tracking all year long. The software also checks for maximum deductions and makes recommendations for optimal returns.
When it comes time to file, TurboTax allows you to submit both your state and federal tax returns for free. You can choose paper check or direct deposit for your return, on in the event you owe tax money, you can pay directly through their platform to ensure your payment gets to the IRS expediently and securely.
H&R Block is a recognized brand in affordable tax consultations, preparation, and filing. Their flagship service is proving face-to-face tax services through their network of brick and mortar locations all over the country.
However, H&R Block has evolved their business to include an online software service that allows you to input all of your tax information and then file your taxes yourself. Their system is guided and offers a knowledge base and support built from the expertise of all the CPAs who work in their large, popular network of tax service providers. H&R Block also offers free state and federal tax filing, which expedites the process of submitting your taxes to the government and receiving your return quickly via check or direct deposit.
If your taxes are straightforward, then Credit Karma is also a great tax preparation and filing service you can use for free. Credit Karma is a newer player on the tax scene because they’ve traditionally been focused on free credit monitoring and counseling services until recent years. Their tax preparation system is simple to follow as you prepare your taxes, and you can file your state and federal returns for free.
Jeni Rogers is a researcher and regular contributor to TrustRadius, where she shares her knowledge of the latest trends in B2B news and software.