Tax software helps small businesses prepare and file their taxes at a more affordable price than a CPA or EA. If you run a small business and you’re choosing between different tax software providers, it’s important to have all the information before you make a final decision. We’ve looked at our top five tax software companies, each with different strengths.

In our view, TurboTax offers the best combination of features for small businesses at a reasonable price. It’s also free to get started, so there’s no reason not to try it out for yourself.

However, if it still seems too pricey for you, H&R Block and TaxSlayer are both excellent alternatives, though TaxSlayer is clearly the cheaper of the two and H&R Block offers more features.

Top choice: TurboTax

TurboTax may be the priciest tax software of the options we compared, but it also contains the most features and arguably offers the best support. With the two most business-friendly packages (Self-Employed and TurboTax Live) you receive unlimited free chat and phone support. You can even get your tax filing reviewed by a qualified CPA/EA, which means you save money while also getting some of the upsides of professional help.

If you want to try TurboTax for free you can – it costs nothing to get started and you only pay when you’re ready to file.

Top 5 tax software choices for small businesses

  1. TurboTax: Small businesses willing to pay a little more for top features and support but not wanting to hire a CPA/EA
  2. H&R Block: Small businesses who want high-end tax software at a slightly lower cost than TurboTax
  3. TaxSlayer: A much cheaper option than our top 2 choices, but still with many great features. If you’re a budget conscious small business, this is one tax software to consider.
  4. TaxAct: Another budget option, though a little more expensive than TaxSlayer. It contains many useful features but has a no-nonsense design that stops short of a ‘premium’ experience.
  5. Liberty Tax: Another affordable option that delivers some useful features for small businesses. However, it’s not the strongest on user experience or customer support compared to your other choices.

How we ranked tax software providers

  • Features – What do you get with tax software? The more useful features a tax software provider offered, the higher the score.
  • Price – Costs matter when you’re looking to save money, especially because one of the reasons to use tax software is that it’s cheaper than an EA/CPA. However, we considered value per feature, not just the overall cost.
  • Customer and Tax Support – Tax is complicated, and sometimes even the best software breaks down or leaves you with questions. At these times, access to support makes a huge difference. We also scored tax software higher for premium added support features like audit support and tax defense.
  • User Experience – You want to get your taxes done. If the tax software made doing that quick and simple, we gave it extra points. Flashy graphics are great, but we looked for things like ease of navigation, a clear interface,  automation, and access to support.

 

Best tax software for small businesses: TurboTax

Small businesses want tax software that offers everything they need to prepare and file their tax returns quickly and at a fair price. TurboTax delivers exactly that. When it came to the range of features available, the overall price for those features, as well as the excellent support and user experience, TurboTax came out ahead of other competing tax software providers.

TurboTax features

As with all tax software providers we looked at, the exact features you get vary depending upon the package you select. More features come with a higher price tag, but if you’re just filing a simple return – with a 1040EZ or 1040A, for example – then even the Free Edition will offer you enough features to file your return accurately and quickly. However, we’re interested in tax software for small businesses, so we’ll be focussing on the Self-Employed and TurboTax Live packages.

TurboTax is great because it suggests business-friendly deductions (useful for making the most of things like home office or vehicle tax deductions) and you can enter multiple sources of income with ease.

TurboTax offers the core features you expect of high-end tax software. You can take a photo of or scan your W-2 and upload it. TurboTax will extract the information it needs automatically, saving you from having to input all the details manually (eliminating a lot of potential errors). You also get excellent support, and the deduction suggestions and review from CPA/EA are comparable to actual tax advice.

With the addition of tax defense and audit support, TurboTax takes a lot of hassle and stress out of online tax filing and preparation.

Cost of TurboTax

TurboTax isn’t the cheapest option available, but we believe it still represents excellent value. You should always double check the price for the package you’re interested in on the company’s website, but at the time of writing here’s how the different packages compared:

Free Edition
  • Federal: $0
  • State: $29.99
  • For filing a 1040EZ or 1040A. If you need to file state taxes, it’s not free.
Deluxe
  • Federal: $59.99
  • State: $39.99
  • Includes the ItsDeductible feature, the SmartLook support option, and lets you store tax documents in TurboTax.
Premier
  • Federal: $79.99
  • State: $39.99
  • All the above, plus the ability to report investments and earnings from rental properties.
Self-Employed  
  • Federal: $119.99
  • State: $39.99
  • Premium support, the features already listed, and help with your deductions and tracking your expenses.
TurboTax Live
  • Federal: $179.99
  • State: $39.99
  • Covers virtually every IRS form, a one-to-one review with a professional prior to filing,and online tax advice from an on-screen CPA or Enlisted Agent.

TurboTax: What’s not included?

If you go for one of the lower packages, you won’t get access to the high-end support features like a review with CPA/EA. Pay attention to the features in your specific package when you buy. Otherwise, TurboTax is an extremely comprehensive tax software.

See full TurboTax review here.


 

H&R Block: Strong tax software for small businesses

While TurboTax is an excellent option, H&R Block also did extremely well in our evaluation. H&R Block includes many of the same features as TurboTax, sometimes including some premium features in their more budget-friendly packages. While the customer support isn’t always as efficient as TurboTax, it’s still good and the overall user experience is comparable.

H&R Block features

H&R Block offers the full range of features you’d expect from a premium tax software provider. You can upload your W-2 by taking a photo or scanning, store your information in the cloud, work between multiple devices, and get suggestions and advice on things like deductions. The ‘semi-guided’ user interface is easy to navigate, and the Q&A format is extremely useful for making quick progress.

Cost of H&R Block

Overall, H&R Block tends to be a little cheaper than TurboTax when comparing equivalent packages. The free version also includes more, such as free state tax prep and filing. H&R Block also includes many ‘premium’ features in their less costly selections. Be sure to check H&R Block’s website for their latest prices and features.

Free
  • Federal: $0
  • State: $0
  • For filing a 1040EZ or 1040. You can also get help with mortgage and Earned Income Credit deductions. No charge for state taxes.
Deluxe
  • Federal: $34.99
  • State: $36.99
  • Added tools to help you maximize deductions, live chat with a tax expert,  and the ability to upload last year’s return.
Premium
  • Federal: $54.99
  • State: $36.99
  • The upgraded version of Deluxe for freelancers or those with investment income.
Self-Employed    
  • Federal: $74.99
  • State: $36.99
  • As above, with extra help maximizing business and personal deductions/expenses.

H&R Block: What’s not included?

As with a lot of tax software providers, it’s extra to file for state taxes. Audit support is also $19.99 extra.

See full H&R Block review here.


 

TaxSlayer: Economical tax software

If TurboTax and H&R Block seem too expensive for your small business, TaxSlayer is the best of a range of options we found competing on price. It still offers many premium features useful to small businesses with a strong user experience along with a reasonable level of customer support. However, the lack of audit defense is a potential weakness relative to TurboTax.

TaxSlayer features

Although it’s not a high-end piece of tax software like TurboTax or H&R Block, TaxSlayer still offers many of the same features. For example, you can upload your W-2, saving you from having to manually input the information. With the packages of interest to small business owners and the self-employed, you get ‘VIP Support’ and a ‘Personal Tax Expert’ to help you get the most out of your tax software. There are also excellent tools to help you identify potential deductions.

Cost of TaxSlayer

TaxSlayer is a highly affordable option despite offering many premium features and high-quality user experience. For the latest packages and price information, see the company website.

Simply Free
  • Federal: $0
  • State: $0
  • File a 1040EZ or other simple tax returns. Free to file, even for state taxes.
Classic
  • Federal: $17
  • State: $29
  • Covers the major federal forms. Includes the Fast W-2 Import feature.
Premium
  • Federal: $37
  • State: $29
  • As above, but including ‘VIP Support’ and a ‘Personal Tax Expert’.
Self-Employed
  • Federal: $47
  • State: $29
  • All features are included (though you’ll need to pay an extra $29 for each year of state filings).

TaxSlayer: What’s not included?

While TaxSlayer Premium and Self-Employed feature audit assistance (TaxSlayer provides guidance on preparing for your audit) this isn’t included in the lower price-plans. You’ll have to pay an extra $29.99 if you want to add it to a cheaper plan. It’s important to remember that you won’t qualify for audit assistance if you’re filing a Schedule C or if you’re a freelancer.

See full TaxSlayer review here.


 

TaxAct: Cheaper alternative to premium tax software

TaxAct is also aimed at the budget-conscious end of the tax software market. However, it’s a little pricier than its rival, TaxSlayer, and has a less impressive user interface and experience. That said, it will still help you get your taxes prepared and filed with little hassle.

TaxAct features

TaxAct’s features are similar to their competitors but in a slightly less beautiful package. However, their biggest selling point is the inclusion of Audit Defense in their top package. This is a valuable extra service, and it means that TaxAct will both help your prepare for your audit and represent you before the IRS.

Cost of TaxAct

Given the features, TaxAct represents good value for money. Small businesses considering using TaxAct should check the company page for their latest plans and features.

Free
  • Federal: $0
  • State: $17
  • For filing a 1040EZ and your state return (for an extra fee). You can also view the last three years of filings with TaxAct.
Basic
  • Federal: $14.95
  • State: $17
  • For filing a 1040A. Useful if you have retirement income, dependents, or are paying for college. However, if you’re looking to itemize, you’ll need a higher-level plan.
Plus
  • Federal: $39.95
  • State: $39.99
  • For people with investment income, itemizers, and those with rental properties. Includes a feature to help you work out the deductions.
Freelancer  
  • Federal: $59.95
  • State: $39.99
  • This recent addition to the TaxAct range is suitable for the self-employed and contractors.
Premium
  • Federal $69.95
  • State: $39.99
  • This package combines the Plus and Freelancer versions and also comes with Audit Defence as standard.

TaxAct: What’s not included?

If you contact TaxAct’s CPA’s or EA’s, they’ll be able to provide you with ‘tax support’ but not ‘tax advice’. This means TaxAct can help you know what you need to do to go through the preparation and filing process correctly, but won’t offer you advice from a professional on how to keep your tax bill down.

Remember that filing for state taxes is always extra with TaxAct, regardless of the version you use.

See full TaxtAct review here.


 

Liberty Tax: Small business tax software on a budget

Liberty Tax is cheaper than options like TurboTax or H&R Block, but it’s on the pricier side of budget tax software. The user experience is less-than-perfect too, and the absence of audit defense or a free option makes Liberty Tax a less attractive option in a competitive field of tax software providers.

Liberty Tax features

While Liberty Tax interface is usable but unspectacular compared to top-tier products like TurboTax and H&R Block or even rival affordable options, such as TaxAct or TaxSlayer. That said, it’s functional.

Using Liberty Tax is straightforward, and going through the initial basic information is made simple by a respectable system of floating sections with autofill. Uploading your W-2 directly also helps, though this is far from unique to Liberty Tax.

Cost of Liberty Tax

Liberty Tax is affordable, but there’s no free option. Small businesses should consider the Premium option. Double check prices and packages on the company website.

Basic
  • Federal: $24.95
  • State: $35.95
  • This version lets you to file a 1040A and itemize your deductions.
Deluxe
  • Federal: $44.95
  • State: $35.95
  • Includes the features that come with basic, plus extras for investment income.
Premium  
  • Federal: $69.95
  • State: $35.95
  • As above, with special features and support relevant to small business owners. Audit protection is an extra $14.95.

Liberty Tax: What’s not included?

As mentioned above, you will have to pay extra for audit assistance ($14.95) and Liberty Tax doesn’t offer audit defense (audit protection consists mostly of guidance). As always. state taxes cost extra.

See full Liberty Tax review here.