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The Best Tax Software Programs for Keeping Your Finances in Order


TurboTax Live Full Service Self-Employed offers yet another layer of help. Not only will your expert review those industry-specific deductions and conduct a personalized audit assessment, they’ll actually do your taxes for you. And it’s not some unseen process, either. You’re kept updated as they work on your return, and you’ll have the chance to walk through the whole thing together before you file. If you’re willing to pay more to just not have to worry about filing at all, this level of support is your best bet.

If you need software that helps with your partnership, LLC, or an S or C corporation, then TurboTax Business can fit the bill. Where it really proves its worth is through its integration of information from QuickBooks and Quicken. If you’re already using Intuit’s accounting software to keep track of things like employee payroll, expenses, and revenue, importing the information into TurboTax is a snap.

But no matter how you happen to track your income or expenses, TurboTax offers help to make sure your information is incorporated accurately. Speaking of employees, you also get the ability to generate unlimited W-2’s and 1099’s, so everyone who works with you can have an easier time filing their taxes, too.

And because filing as a partnership, LLC, or corporation for the first time can be a daunting prospect, TurboTax Business comes with extra support for businesses that might be filing for the first time, helping to identify specific start-up tax deductions that can make your small businesses’ first refund a bit bigger. And if you opt for TurboTax this year for your business, you’ll already have a head start on next year thanks to the ability to import the previous year’s completed returns.

There is one drawback for TurboTax Business, however: because it functions as a downloadable desktop application rather than an online platform, it lacks the level of live expert help as you’d find in the self-employed edition. Though the software comes with built-in error checks to review everything before you file, there may be other options worth exploring if you’re worried about having access to real-time tax advice.

TurboTax pricing and filing options

TurboTax Self-Employed: $69 federal return, $38 per state filing.

TurboTax Live Self-Employed: $179 federal return, $49 per state filing.

TurboTax Live Full Service Self-Employed: $369 federal return, $49 per state filing.

TurboTax Business: $160 for CD/download file with free federal filing included. File state returns with TurboTax Business State for $50 per state filing.

Which software is best for the self-employed?

Best option for taking things offline: H&R Block Self-Employed

Don’t let the name fool you: H&R Block’s Self-Employed Online edition isn’t just for independent contractors. Combining a straightforward process and an intuitive interface with access to assistance at every step of the way (not to mention the option to take the process offline) makes it one of the top choices for small business owners and sole proprietors alike.

Part of the appeal of H&R Block’s tax software is that it makes it easy for small businesses to report on their profits and losses, while helping them to accurately track business expenses, calculate asset depreciation, and more. On top of all that, H&R Block notes that you can also use their software to handle your payroll as well.


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