Best Online Tax Preparation Services 2018: Turbo Tax vs. H&R Block vs. Tax Act (Bonus Review)

Below are several recommendations for the best online tax services. They all feature free filing for basic federal tax returns that only use the 1040EZ form to enter W-2 information


Do you visit the local tax preparer in town because you don’t think you can complete your taxes online by yourself? Some complex tax returns, like owning your own business or having several rental properties, need to be completed by a tax professional. However, most people can file their taxes online themselves and save hundreds of dollars in prep fees to get the exact same refund amount. The best online tax preparation services make it easy to complete your taxes; sometimes completely free!

Below are the four best recommendations for the best tax prep software. They all feature free filing for basic federal tax returns that only use the 1040EZ form to enter W-2 information and interest earned from bank accounts and investments. If you can itemize (Schedule A), are self-employed (1099 employee/Schedule C), sold a stock (Schedule D), or have rental property income (Schedule E), but you still find it’s cheaper to file in 2018 than 2017 in most case!

While it is possible to file your federal income tax return for free, these services will charge an extra fee if you have a state income tax return to file.




2018 Tax Filing Deadline

You must file your federal tax return by April 18, 2018, to avoid any potential late penalties or interest. Another reason to file as early as possible is that the prices for more complex returns increase if you wait until late March or April to file.  The prices listed here are the lowest prices you will pay.


Intuit TurboTax is the most well-known and easiest-to-use platform of these four. TurboTax is one of the first online tax prep services and they have kept a loyal following through their ease-of-use. While they have the most user-friendly platform, they are also one of the most expensive if you cannot file the 1040EZ for free.

How Much Does TurboTax Cost?

TurboTax has four different plans depending on your filing needs. You can start with the free version and if you need to file additional Schedules during the walkthrough, you will be prompted about the additional charges before proceeding.

You can now file your state return for free with the Federal Free Edition (non-itemized, simple tax returns) and they also offer live, on-demand access to a CPA with their premium TurboTax Live plan.

  • Federal Free Edition (1040EZ and Standard 1040A): $0 Federal & $0 State
  • Deluxe: $39.99 Federal & $36.99 State
    • Cheapest option if you itemize
  • Premier: $59.99 Federal & 36.99 State
    • Files Schedule D (Investment Income) & Schedule E (Rental Property Income)
  • Self-Employed: $89.99 Federal & $36.99 State
    • Files Schedule C (Self-Employment 1099 Income)
  • TurboTax Live: $149.99 Federal & $36.99 State
    • On-Demand access to CPA or EA plus final return review before submitting to IRS
    • Supports all tax forms
    • New for 2018!


  • Easiest to use platform
  • Very reputable company
  • Take photo of W-2 for instant data upload


  • Most expensive if you cannot file for free

Click here to get started with Turbo Tax

TurboTax - Choose Easy

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