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Listen to the audio and enter the challenge text. Uncover missed credits or deductions. Yes, add Tax Pro Review for an additional. Don't add Tax Pro Review. The entire site functions in this way. But it seems to require an excess of clicking as you move back and forth between the section home pages and the mini-wizards that actually solicit your answers.
TurboTax Deluxe offers a smoother, more linear experience. It's critical for tax software to make context-sensitive help easily accessible. Take the home mortgage section. It explains on the first page what it's looking for and displays links to deeper details for topics that may be confusing.
For example, click the hyperlinked "What's a Second Home? This kind of help appears throughout the site, and the use of small pop-out windows is effective and unobtrusive. TaxAct Plus and FreeTax USA do a better job with context-sensitive help, though; they anticipate related questions that users might ask and provide answers. At any point, you can also open the Help Center. You can also enter a word or phrase in the search box, and the site will return dozens or hundreds of brief write-ups, showing the broadest, most sought-after content first.
Eventually, you get to very specific hits, like how a state handles the tax topic being explored. You can do complex searches to narrow this down from the start. Finally, the Get Additional Help button in this window takes you to a link for program help and another for connecting to the site's tax help from professionals via chat. Phone help is also available. The two sites simply have different personalities.
TurboTax is the human preparer who greets you with a big smile and makes some small talk as he or she goes along. It also suggests forms you may have forgotten and lets you search for and jump to additional documents by form name or tax topic. This can be very helpful when you come to the end of your return and still have paper forms or unresolved issues.
It works great, but after you enter any missing content, you have to find your way back to the Additional Documents screen to move on.
Next up is the site's Accuracy Review, which combs your return for anything that may be inaccurate or missing. If it finds something, it explains the problem to you and provides a Fix Issue button, which is supposed to take you to the offending screen and then back to the Accuracy Review.
Sometimes it takes you back to the site's earliest screens and tells you where to find the topic that needs attention but doesn't return you to the Accuracy Review.
This is a critical element of tax websites, one that TaxAct and TurboTax handle more competently. If you used it and were satisfied last year, there's no real reason to switch. For the best user experience, however, one that combines exceptional preparation tools and guidance and supports roughly the same group of tax topics, but costs a little more , we recommend TurboTax Deluxe.
Patriot Software Full Service Payroll. TaxSlayer Classic Tax Year Kathy Yakal has been annoying computer magazine editors since , when she got her first technology writing job because she tagged along with her ex-husband on a job interview. She started freelancing and specializing in financial applications when PCs became financial tools for consumers and small businesses after a stint at a high-end accounti This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links.
And of course, you can also pay your H&R Block tax preparation fees with cash, check, debit card, or credit card. H&R Block tax software and online prices are ultimately determined at the time of print or e-file. All prices are subject to change without notice. Prices start as low as $ for the H&R Block and TurboTax programs for returns. There may be an extra cost for preparing state returns. If your tax situation is very simple and basic, you can almost certainly have your return prepared and filed for free, subject to some income limits. H and R Block Prices According to the latest survey by the National Society of Accountants (NSA), the average tax preparation fee for an itemized Form with Schedule A and a state tax return is $, and $ if non-itemized.