TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxAct, And TaxSlayer Pricing Comparison


TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer Pricing Comparison

TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer are the major players that dominate the online tax filing landscape.

TurboTax consistently produces the highest quality, easiest to use tax filing software on the market, and H&R Block follows closely on its heels. TaxSlayer has emerged as a strong competitor in recent years. TaxAct tends to lag the pack in terms of usability, but it also chalks in at the lowest price point (sometimes).

Each software offers “Free” filing. However, the Free filing has limits. All of these programs offer paid filing tiers as well. Of course, each company offers different inclusions at each tier which makes comparing features all the more difficult. To clarify pricing, we’re comparing the four major players for 2023.

If you don’t know what tax software is right for you, check out our guide to the Best Tax Software which breaks down our picks based on your tax situation.

Note: We will adjust these prices as we find them, but there may be sales, specials, or discounts we miss. Please let us know in the comments if you find a good deal! Remember, prices tend to be lowest in December and January, and highest right at the tax deadline.

Right now, you can get 20% off H&R Block tax software online – making it the cheapest option of these three competitors. Check out H&R Block Online here >>

Changes For 2023

All of the major software providers increased the usability of their products this year. H&R Block and TurboTax specifically focused on ensuring filers understand the American Rescue Plan. TaxSlayer has the biggest change with a huge improvement in usability while still maintaining good prices. TaxAct’s improvements focused on general usability.

From a pricing perspective, the big change this year is TaxAct’s decision to charge for state filing at the Free level. While TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxSlayer continue to offer free federal and state filing to qualified people, TaxAct only offers free federal filing. Users will have to pay at least $39.95 to file their state taxes.

The other major change is H&R Block’s expansion of the Deluxe tier. Normally, this tier is a huge waste of money for filers that don’t fit the criteria for free filing. However, H&R Block opened up this tier to people with income from “gig work” or any business with less than $5,000 in annual expenses. Thanks to this change, we’re recommending the Deluxe tier for the first time to select filers.

Comparing The Online “Free” Tax Filing Software

TurboTaxH&R Block, and TaxSlayer offer some form of completely free tax filing. That means the federal filing costs $0 and the first state costs $0. TaxAct always charges for state filing.

Features

However, many filers won’t qualify for these company’s Free tier. The table below shows what is always included, never included, and sometimes included.

Always Included
On The Free Tier

Always Requires Upgrades

Sometimes Included
On The Free Tier

W-2 Income (no HSA contributions)

Charitable contributions

Education credits. H&R Block and TaxAct support these. TurboTax does not.

 Unemployment income

Itemized deductions

Student Loan Interest Deduction.
H&R Block only

Social Security Income

HSA contributions

Earned Income Tax Credit. TaxSlayer does not.

Daycare or other dependent care expenses

Child Tax Credit. TaxSlayer does not.

 Stock trading

 Cryptocurrency trading

Dividends

Rental income

 

Side hustle income

Small business income

Pricing

For a comparison of “Free” tiers, you’d except to see a lot of $0s. And that’s mostly what you’ll find in the table below. But remember – it’s not always about price, but also what features are included in the free tier.

However, as previously noted, you will have to pay $39.95 (per state) if you need to file a state return with TaxAct this year.

TurboTax Free Comparison
HR Block Free Online Comparison
TaxAct Free Comparison
TaxSlayer Free Comparison

Federal Return

$0

$0

$0

$0

Federal eFile

$0

$0

$0

$0

State Return

$0

$0

$39.95

$0

State eFile

$0

$0

$0

$0

Total Price

$0

$0

 $39.95

$0

Recommendation For 2023

Both the TurboTax and TaxSlayer free tier are quite restrictive. H&R Block continues to offer the most expansive free tier which is why we recommend it again in 2023. 

For the first time, we recommend that people avoid TaxAct even on the free tier. The cost of state filing is excessive.

best free tax software: H&R Block Free Online

Comparing The Online “Deluxe” Tax Filing Software

The Deluxe pricing tier is typically targeted toward people who want to “maximize deductions and credits.” A lot of people think this means people who itemize their taxes, but many tax filers who take the standard deduction will still find that they need to upgrade to the Deluxe tier of their tax filing software for various reasons.

Features

“Deluxe” is the most common tier for people who have child care expenses, who contribute to an HSA, or who want to deduct their student loan interest. Here’s a closer look at what’s always included, never included, and sometimes included.

However, TaxSlayer Classic (which is the second pricing level, equivalent to Deluxe) includes all forms and situations, which makes it very compelling.

Always Included On The Deluxe Tier

Always Requires Upgrades

Sometimes Included
On The Deluxe Tier

Everything on Free tier

Stock trading

Side hustle income, expenses, and credits. H&R Block supports this, the others do not.

Child care expenses

Cryptocurrency trading

TaxSlayer includes all forms and situations in Classic.

HSA contributions

Dividends

Retirement contributions

Rental income

All credits

Small business income

All deductions

 

Pricing

Typically, the Deluxe tier is the worst value for these software packages. However, H&R Block is bucking the trend and offers incredible value for gig workers who have income from a 1099-NECH&R Block is the only company to support 1099-NEC income on the Deluxe level.

TurboTax Deluxe Comparison
HR Block Deluxe Comparison
TaxAct Deluxe Comparison
TaxSlayer Classic Comparison

Federal Return

$59

$54.99

$46.95

$29.95

Federal eFile

$0

$0

$0

$0

State Return

$49

$44.99

$54.95

$39.95

State eFile

$0

$0

$0

$0

Total Price

 $108

 $99.98

 $101.90

$69.90

Recommendation For 2023

This is where TaxSlayer’s competitive edge really shines. At the Classic level, TaxSlayer includes all forms and tax situations for a significantly lower price than the limitations of the other brands.

TurboTax Deluxe, H&R Block Deluxe, and TaxAct Deluxe are 30% more in price, and all have limitations on situations like investing.

TaxSlayer is our recommendation here, but users may also consider FreeTaxUSA, which is also a strong contender in this tier.

best deluxe tax software: TaxSlayer Classic

Comparing The Online “Premium” Tax Filing Software

The Premium pricing tier is the tier that supports “investors”. All software packages support stock and crypto trading, and they have built-in calculators for landlords.

Features

This tier is where third-party integrations become extremely important. TurboTax supports the largest number of third-party integrations. For example, it has a direct integration with Coinbase which makes it easy for cryptocurrency traders to report their gains or losses in terms of US Dollars. The other software packages don’t host such integrations.

TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct have some (or many) integrations with major brokerages like TD Ameritrade and Fidelity. These ensure that users can quickly and easily calculate their capital gains and losses.

This is one of the big downsides of TaxSlayer. They don’t have any integrations to automatically import your trades. As such, if you have a lot of transactions (especially crypto), it won’t be a good choice for you.

If you’re a landlord, both TurboTax and H&R Block offer easy-to-use depreciation calculators that make it easy to claim the right deduction. I find TaxAct’s to be a little clunkier, but overall it offers a reasonable experience.

Always Included On The Premium Tier

Always Requires Upgrades

Sometimes Included
On The Premium Tier

Everything on the
Deluxe tier

Small business income

Side hustle income, expenses, and credits. H&R Block supports this, the others do not.

Stock trading

TaxSlayer Classic includes all forms, but has no integrations.

Cryptocurrency trading

Rental income

Pricing

This is a tier where you really do get what you pay for. TaxSlayer Premier is the lowest priced, but at the same time, it doesn’t offer any integrations with financial services firms to help you with your taxes.

If you need to import transactions, H&R Block Premium and TurboTax Premier are likely where you want to be. If you just have traditional investments, I’d pick H&R Block. If you have crypto, I’d probably select TurboTax.

TurboTax Premier Comparison
HR Block Premium Comparison
TaxAct Premier Comparison
TaxSlayer Premier Comparison

Federal Return

$89

$74.99

$69.95

$49.95

Federal eFile

$0

$0

$0

$0

State Return

$49

$44.99

$54.95

$39.95

State eFile

$0

$0

$0

$0

Total Price

 $138

 $119.98

 $124.90

 $89.90

Recommendation For 2023

At this tier, TurboTax offers the best experience. Most traders and landlords will appreciate the number of integrations that TurboTax supports.

However, functionality isn’t everything, especially if you don’t need it. H&R Block offers a similar user experience at a lower price point. If you don’t have crypto, our general pick is going to be H&R Block Premium.

best premium tax software: H&R Block Premium

Comparing The Online “Self-Employed” Tax Filing Software

The self-employed filing software is required for anyone who had Schedule C (self-employment) income. Given the rocky economic conditions of the last year, I suspect that a lot of people have done some gig work this year. All of those side hustlers may need to upgrade to this tier for their filing.

Features

As previously noted, H&R Block Deluxe supports users who want to declare Schedule C income, but don’t have significant expenses to report. However, those with significant expenses will need to upgrade to this level.

In terms of usability, TurboTax leads the pack. It integrates seamlessly with Quickbooks, offers plenty of options for imports, and makes it easy to depreciate your business assets.

If your business doesn’t have assets, you may not need TurboTax or any of these software options. TaxSlayer Classic offers similar functionality at a much lower price.

Pricing

The Self-Employed tier is always the most expensive filing tier for these companies. It supports anyone with self-employment income. That could be someone who walked a few dogs, or it could include someone who earns all of their income from self-employment.

TurboTax Self-Employed Comparison
HR Block Self-Employed Comparison
TaxAct Self-Employed+ Comparison
TaxSlayer Self-Employed Comparison

Federal Return

$119

$114.99

$94.95

$59.95

Federal eFile

$0

$0

$0

$0

State Return

$49

$44.99

$54.95

$39.95

State eFile

$0

$0

$0

$0

Total Price

 $168

 $159.98

 $149.90

 $99.90

Recommendation For 2023

Given the close pricing at the highest tier, TurboTax has the advantage due to the integrations. But at this level, I would encourage filers to check out TaxSlayer which has incredible functionality at a lower price.

best self-employed tax software: taxslayer self-employed

Comparing The Downloadable Editions Of TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct

Tax filers have the option to choose downloadable products rather than using the cloud-based options. Theoretically, downloadable software may be more secure. The only direct risk of hacking is when you e-file your returns. However, these products aren’t risk-free. If your computer has malware, a hacker could steal your information from your computer rather than from a cloud-based server.

Also, we see a lot of issues of people failing to save their return, computers crashing, and more. As such, we typically recommend everyone use the online version.

The downloadable function is the same as the corresponding online software, and they typically cost more. If you’re watching prices, you might have some luck shopping on Amazon.com. Choosing the downloadable software is almost always easier and higher-quality than buying a similar product in the store. Plus, Amazon sometimes offers 3% boosts if you choose to accept your return on an Amazon gift card.

Note: TaxSlayer doesn’t offer a downloadable version of their product.

Comparing Downloadable Basic Editions

At this point, H&R Block is the least expensive option among the basic software packages. While its still fairly expensive, it’s the option we recommend this year.

TurboTax Basic

H&R Block Basic

TaxAct Basic

Federal Return

$40

$29.95

$44.95

Federal eFile

$0 (5 Free)

$0

$0

State Return

$40

$39.95

$60

State eFile

$20

$19.95

$9.99

Total Price

 $100

 $89.85

 $114.94

Comparing Downloadable Deluxe Editions

Across the board, the Deluxe edition brings more functionality at a lower price point (compared to the Basic edition).

If you’ll have to file a state return, H&R Block’s downloadable Deluxe edition will actually cost you less than it’s Basic software download. Given the dramatic disparity in pricing, H&R Block is again the winner for downloadable Deluxe software.

TurboTax Deluxe

H&R Block Deluxe

TaxAct Deluxe

Federal Return

$70

$54.95

$139.95

Federal eFile

$0

$0

$0

State Return

$0*

$0*

$0*

State eFile

$20

$19.95

$9.99

Total Price

 $90

 $74.90

 $149.94

*First state is free.

Comparing Downloadable Premium Editions

At the Premium level, H&R Block still holds the title of the low-cost leader. The overall price of H&R Block Premium is within a few dollars of its online offering.

TurboTax Premier

H&R Block Premium

TaxAct Premier

Federal Return

$105

$74.95

$149.95

Federal eFile

$0

$0

$0

State Return

$0*

$0*

$0*

State eFile

$20

$19.95

$9.99

Total Price

 $125

 $94.90

 $159.94

*First state is free.

Comparing Downloadable Self-Employed Editions

Consistent with other tiers, H&R Block is still the low price leader. Clocking in at under $100, the H&R Block downloadable software is quite a steal. If you’re going to use H&R Block Self-Employed, you may save money by choosing to download.

TurboTax Home & Business

H&R Block Premium & Business

TaxAct Self-Employed

Federal Return

$120

$89.95

$159.95

Federal eFile

$0

$0

$0

State Return

$0*

$0*

$0*

State eFile

$20

$19.95

$9.99

Total Price

 $140

 $109.90

 $169.94

*First state is free.

Final Thoughts

After comparing pricing and functionality, H&R Block and TaxSlayer most frequently emerges as the best value among the big filing companies. But that doesn’t mean these options are the best choice for you.

Cryptocurrency traders and landlords may decide that upgrading to TurboTax is the right move. While those who need access to “Premium” tier features but want to save money may prefer to use TaxAct or a bargain software like TaxHawk.

Check out our full reviews on H&R Block, TurboTax, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer if you want to learn more.

Editor: Claire Tak

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