A. All 3 tax filing softwares allow you to try without paying until you e-file. Below is a quick comparison of some of the new features of them:
H&R Block has a new Refund Reveal feature. It tells you what your projected refund is as you make entries, it defines what causes the refund. For instance, as you enter your children’s information, it identifies the child tax credit amount, or earned income credit, or exemptions, etc.
Customer support and expert tax advice is free for everyone via chat, phone or email. Their audit protection still includes the services of an H&R Block enrolled agent to help them prepare for the audit.
Users may apply all or part of their refunds to a Refund Bonus e-gift card from select retailers and get an extra 5% or 10% added to their refund from H&R Block.
There is a free version, with a $9.99 fee for the state return. The basic, deluxe and premium versions offer more functionality and storage of up to 6 years of tax returns. Fees range from $19.99 to $49.99, with an extra $36.99 for the state return.
TaxAct has three major features:
a) full suite of mobile services including camera, swiping and scanning;
b) new user interface;
c) the level of free services that TaxAct offers in 2015.
Anyone can prepare and e-file the complete federal tax return for free, even if they have a business or rental. Filing a state return costs $14.99. If you live in a state without income taxes, this is the best option.
TaxAct is the least expensive of all the major, established online tax software companies. Incidentally, they have a price lock that freezes your fee based on the date you log in.
It also offers a free library of tax help topics, with information about forms, amending tax returns, and a variety of common issues and problems that crop up about your taxes as you file.
TurboTax has several new features:
a) an Absolute Zero service that is free if you file 1040EZs and 1040As (no IRS or state fees) — including the ACA forms; b) new ACA information system;
c) the Benefit Assist program that helps people find money beyond their tax return.
Other than the Absolute Zero service, TurboTax’s fees range from $34.99 for Deluxe to $79.99 if you need to include a Schedule C + $36.99 for state. (Note: Fees will be rising soon.)
Like H&R Block, TurboTax also has a refund bonus program. It allows you to apply all or part of your refund (up to $1,000) onto an Amazon.com gift card, TurboTax will add 5% to 10% to your card.
TurboTax's Ask the Tax Expert system is free for the Premier service and above. It’s $19.99 per call, otherwise.