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The Best Tax Software for 2020

It's tax season again.

Are you excited?

As usual, you have some great choices

for preparing your return with a program, website or app.

Now that the initial brunt of the Trump tax law

has been dealt with,

the major changes this year are different IRA

and 401K contribution limits,

a slightly higher standard deduction,

changes to alimony reporting,

different medical expense deductions

and having to report bitcoin transactions.

But if you join the 37% of Americans

who do their own taxes with software,

you needn't worry about all that stuff.

The app does all the math, creates the necessary forms

and eFiles your returns.

Most of the services work equally well

in a PC's web browser or on a mobile phone.

Note that state tax preparation

often costs more than federal

since it involves extra software development.

Price is a consideration for any product,

but lower income filers can do their taxes for free

with most of the services we reviewed.

If you sold stocks, rented real estate

or had business income,

you need to pay for the version

that supports those activities

with the single exception of Credit Karma Tax.

So which are the best online tax services?

This year we went back to TurboTax Deluxe as our top pick

after H&R Block edged it out last year.

TurboTax offers the best interface,

thorough coverage of tax topics and outstanding support,

all of which improved over last year.

TurboTax has gotten so good

that you may feel like you're chatting

with an accountant rather than working in an app.

There's even an add on service with live video help

from tax experts you can access year round.

As you might expect, TurboTax costs more

than most other services.

The most popular deluxe edition

lists for $60 and $45 per state.

Our next top pick is H&R Block

which also features a slick interface,

comprehensive coverage of tax topics

and context-sensitive help.

We just found that this year

TurboTax was better at suggesting actions

that could lower your tax bill.

H&R Block's deluxe edition lists for $29.99

and $36.99 per state.

We also liked TaxAct a lot this year.

It costs a bit less than the two top players

with fine navigation tools,

data entry options and form support,

but its support falls a bit short of the leaders.

TaxAct Deluxe costs $29.95 and $39.95 per state.

If price is your main concern, look to Credit Karma

which is totally free for all the tax situations it covers.

It features a simple clean interface and support for most,

but not all tax forms.

Even state returns are free with all but New Hampshire,

Tennessee, Montana and Wisconsin supported.

Despite its name, FreeTaxUSA

is only free for federal returns.

You pay to prepare state returns with it,

but even that's priced lower than most competitors.

The interface is comparatively bare bones

and less streamlined, however.

You pay $6.99 extra for live chat support

and $14.99 per state.

Another inexpensive option is TaxSlayer

which costs just $17 for all tax forms,

even if you're claiming dependents,

are a homeowner or have retirement interest,

dividend and other investment income.

For that low price though

you give up some help found in other services.

State returns cost $29 each.

A couple of services we don't recommend

are Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax.

Both of these come from respectable

brick and mortar tax services,

but both lack the rich interfaces, tools and support

found in the others we tested.

Neither is especially cheap either

with Liberty Basic listing for $44.95

with $39.95 per state

and Jackson Hewitt's $29.99 plus $36.99 per state.

So there's a look at your 2020 options

for online tax filing.

For full details on each service, check PCMag.com.