Many people don’t like the yearly chore of filing taxes, but there are online tax filing services to help make the job easier.
Two of the most well-known services are H&R Block and TurboTax. They both offer user-friendly software and tax guidance.
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TurboTax Federal Free Edition
Like H&R Block, TurboTax has a Free tax filing option that allows you to file your federal return and one state return for free. However, the free option only supports simple returns with form 1040. The free option includes one free state return. TurboTax’s free option supports form 1040 with some child tax credits.
TurboTax Paid Editions
If you want to itemize your deductions with schedule A (or if you need to use any other forms), you will need to upgrade to a paid plan. There are three paid plans that range from $59.99 to $119.99 for federal filing. State filing is always $44.99 per state, with paid plans.
The TurboTax Deluxe version will be enough for most filers. It costs $59.99, which is $10 more than the Deluxe option from H&R Block. You get slightly more features for that additional cost, however. Small business owners and self-employed individuals will need to upgrade to the Self-Employed option, which costs $119.99 for a federal return.
H&R Block Federal Free Edition
The cheapest filing is the H&R Block Free online option.
It lets you file your federal return and all state returns for free. This choice works best for basic returns. The major tax forms that it supports are the 1040, Schedule EIC for the earned income tax credit and Schedule 8812 for the Additional Child Tax Credit.
You can also use this form with some other common tax forms: Form 1099 (B, DIV, INT and R), 1098 (E and T) and 1095 (A and B). Filing other forms will require you to upgrade to a paid plan.
H&R Block Paid Plans
Paid plans range from $49.99 to $104.99 for federal tax filing. All state filing costs are $39.99 per state, with the paid plans.
Most filer can do their taxes with the H&R Block Deluxe version, which costs $49.99 and includes software for maximizing tax deductions. If you do freelance work or own a small business, you’ll likely need to upgrade to the Self-Employed plan, which costs $104.99.
As mentioned, both services offer a free file option, for simple returns. You can also file some additional schedules and forms with this option. However, the Free H&R Block online version does cover more forms and schedules with its free option. It also allows you to file multiple state returns for free.
By contrast, the Free plan from TurboTax includes only one free state return. This all gives H&R Block a slight advantage if you qualify for the free option.