9 Min to Read

8 Best Online Tax Filing Services For Homeowners of 2021

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Knowing how to file your taxes and how our mortgage deductions fit into them are important to any homeowner. Find out which online tax services we named as our top pics and why. Learn what you can deduct and which online tools help you file your taxes like a pro.
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2020 came and went, destroying every semblance of normalcy in its path.

If you’re like many taxpayers, you are probably wondering how you are going to be able to afford taxes this year.

You’re not alone! Even hitting your typical tax prep office can be a nightmare with all the restrictions in play.

In most parts of the country, COVID-19 made it nearly impossible to predict whether or not there will be another stay at home order.

So, digital tax services can make it easier to get the refunds we all need, plus a side of convenience.

But, which tax service is right for you? Let’s take a look at each one.

Best Online Tax Services of 2021

  • Turbo Tax: Best Overall Service
  • H & R Block: Best for Familiarity
  • TaxAct: Best for Budget Hunters
  • TaxSlayer: Best for Knowledgeable Tax Filers
  • Bonsai: Best for Freelancers 
  • Visor: Best for Intuitive Design and Function
  • Liberty Tax: Best for Straightforward Taxes
  • CreditKarma: Best Free Tax Service

The Best Overall: TurboTax

TurboTax is one of the biggest names in tax preparation, and rightfully so.

They have a free option that works with most peoples’ incomes, but also have a wide range of specialized software kits that are made for freelancers, small businesses, and more.

When TurboTax is involved, you can rest assured your taxes are filed well and that you will have someone to back you up if you have an issue with the IRS.

TurboTax also lets you get your refund immediately and can even help you learn more about tax benefits that could serve you.

ProsCons
Free with affordable upgradesDIY for complicated taxes might be confusing
Audit Assistance guaranteeSelf-employed filers may have to pay more
Fast
Customer support availble

Price

Free for basic, but can be upwards of $200 for self-employed and small businesses that have a single state filing.

Verdict

This is the best for freelancers, simple returns, complex returns, and everyone. You can’t go wrong with this.

The Best For Familiarity: H&R Block

H&R Block is the kind of company that understands how scary taxes can be, especially for people who are not used to filing their own.

It has a long history as a well-recognized tax accounting brand. Typically, this name comes up a lot during tax season.

In addition, their seasonal brick-and-mortar locations can be seen across the country in preparation for the tax deadline.

However, they're not just a brick-and-mortar office, as they offer a full array of online tools and e-filing.

Their service offers up a full walkthrough of what you need to be aware of, how answering questions will help you out, and what you need to know about your filing status.

Along with being fairly educational, H&R Block also has trained staff members who can answer questions about taxes. Instant filing is a breeze, and people tend to enjoy it for its affordability and step-by-step approach.

ProsCons
Free (Or Otherwise Affordable)Self-Employed May Pay More
Audit Assistance Guarantee
Personal Assistance Available
Easy Receipt Uploads

Price

Free for basic, but can be upwards of $220 for self-employed and small businesses for federal and a single state filing.

Verdict

A good choice for first-time filers or those who just want a name they know and trust.

The Best For People on a Budget: TaxAct

If you are a freelancer, low-income individual, or a small business owner, then accuracy is going to be the number one focus that you’ll want.

These taxes get complex, quick!

TaxAct currently holds the record for being one of the most accurate online tax prep services on the net.

It doesn’t hurt knowing that you also can get some really neat tips from this budget-friendly option.

It’s around half the cost of “premier” companies, so it’s a good choice for all people on a shoestring budget.

ProsCons
Extremely AffordableMay Not Be As Simplified
Fast
Personal Assistance Available
Easy Receipt Uploads

Price

$55 for a single plain filing, but can be upwards of $150 for self-employed and small businesses that need to do both a state and federal tax.

Verdict

It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of typical tax prep stuff, but it’s wonderful for people on a budget.

The Best For Knowledgeable Filers: TaxSlayer

Metal as the name is, this is actually a tax prep service that offers up filing with as little or as much assistance as you may need.

This is one of those systems that is priced based on how much support you feel you need.

If you’re very confident about your filings but just aren’t quite at the point where you can fully file your own, you will enjoy this option.

Their lowest-support rank costs under $70 for a state and federal tax return!

ProsCons
Extremely AffordableMay Not Be As Simplified
FastAssistance Is Not Always Easy To Reach
All Forms Available For Basic Packages And MoreErrors Possible
Easy Receipt Uploads

Price

Federal return packages are priced from $17 to $47. Filing a single state return will add $39.

Verdict

It’s great if you know what you’re doing or want a cheaper price tag.

The Best For Freelancers: Bonsai

Bonsai isn’t just a tax service; it’s a full accounting setup for people who do freelancing.

You can keep track of your proposals, your income, your expenses and also file straight from the program.

Each tax season is built-in, and the program also comes with some freelancer-friendly tips.

Even if you’re intimidated by freelancer taxes, the beautiful look and feel of this program will make you excited to do your taxes.

Or, at the very least, it’ll be a cinch.

ProsCons
Easy Expense AccountingYou Need To Use The Entire Platform For It To Work Well
Highly Involved AccountingLittle Live Assistance
Affordable
Beautiful Layout + Organization

Price

$19/month plus $10 monthly fee for taxes.

Verdict

Millennial-friendly accounting at a glance. If this is your tax service style, that’s great.

The Best For People Who Hate Doing Taxes: Visor

Just hearing the word “tax” will make some people freeze up in mortal terror.

Sometimes, you just want to pass all your tax info to someone and let them do the rest. However, maybe meeting an accountant might be too involved and too time-consuming.

If that’s you, then Visor is the best option for you.

Visor is equipped with gurus who understand how to maximize returns in a pinch.

It uses intuitive design and cutting-edge tech to max things out. But, there’s always a catch. It can get pretty pricey. Thankfully, it’s worth every penny.

ProsCons
Easy Expense AccountingYou Need To Use The Entire Platform For It To Work Well
Maximized ReturnsPrice Is High
You Can “Set And Forget”

Price

Starts at $299.

Verdict

If you want a luxury experience for your tax time, this is it.

The Best For Straightforward Taxes: Liberty Tax

Most people in the tristate recognize Liberty Tax from their costumed, waving employees hoping to attract business to their doors.

Liberty Tax, for many people, acts like an old friend. Or, at least, it’s a tax service that people know and trust.

For some people, just having the same experience from Liberty can help bring a sense of normalcy to life.

The deductions are there, and most basic filers will find a reason to love this service.

By the way, they have a free tax school you can use to learn more about filing!

ProsCons
AffordableDoesn’t Always Do Itemized Deductions Well
Live Support AvailableDated Interface
Fast Tax ReturnsLimited Forms

Price

It’s $44.95 across the board, regardless of the tax form you choose.

Verdict

It’s not always the best for people with very complicated lifestyles, but it can work wonders for basic filers that need a leg up.

The Best Free Tax Service: CreditKarma

CreditKarma can be fairly daunting for some, simply because it is a free platform that tends to assume that you have a lot of understanding of taxes.

Though this company does offer a fair amount of guidance on the basics, it’s still a free tax prep service and you tend to get what you pay for.

If you are looking for a free platform with a lot of clout, CreditKarma will help you.

However, you do need to know how to file taxes fairly well to make this work for you. (You get what you pay for, in this case.)

ProsCons
FreeDoesn’t Always Do Itemized Deductions Well
Audit DefenseLittle To No Guidance
Fast Tax Returns
Accuracy Guarantee

Price

It’s totally free.

Verdict

If you want free filing that will make things pretty, this is the way to go. However, if you’re not savvy with doing your taxes, don’t use this.

How Did We Choose Our Top Online Tax Services?

Online tax services are one of those things that are pretty clear-cut. Here are some of the things we looked at.

Design of Tax Filing Interface

Doing taxes can be complicated, so we gave extra points for online services that made doing taxes easy to follow and intuitive. We favored simple clean design and layouts. It was also important that users could easily upload receipts and supporting documents for tax forms.

Affordability

Affordability is a factor that we come back to time and time again. If you had all the money in the world, you could hire a premiere accountant to do all your taxes (and you probably should). However, for busy everyday Americans, online filing can be an asset. The point of using online resources is that it should be more affordable than going to a CPA.

Tax Service Options

We looked at tax services that offered multiple options for filing online. Most of our top picks offer filing for straightforward filing to a full array of options for very complex tax filings, including, Federal, State, and local taxes, plus multiple tax schedule forms.

Customer Support

Because consumers won't be meeting with someone in person to do their taxes, making sure these vendors offered live online support was especially important since having holdups during the filing process can make filing taxes a drag.

Consumer Reviews

As always, we heeded the opinion of customers who had utilized tax services firsthand and were familiar with the process.

Why Is Getting Good Tax Software Important For Homeowners?

If you want to buy a home, one of the most important things that lenders will look at is your taxes.

Your tax records are going to be the baseline for your preapproval for a home, at least when it comes to your income. Having your taxes filed makes it possible to get that reading there.

Of course, there are other reasons why you should invest in quality tax services as a buyer and homeowner.

Maximize Your Filing With Home-Related Deductions

Homeowners get tax breaks aplenty in New York and almost every other state. Good services will be able to maximize your tax deductions.

Factoring in Investment Property and Tax Shelters

Yes, you can reap tax benefits for investment properties and also potentially write off your workspace.

Many low-end tax services won’t be able to help you write those off accurately or correctly.

How a Second Home Can Affect Your Taxes

If you have a second home, you need to learn the tax differences between a primary and secondary home in your area.

Learn How to Maximize Your Returns for the Future

If you don’t have a house yet, the right tax benefits will make it possible.

Becoming a homeowner entails taking on a lot more responsibility. The more you know about taxes, the more you can benefit, even when you sell.

It's worth understanding local and state transfer taxes, as well as capital gains tax and deductions.

Are Property Taxes Deductible?

If you pay a lot in local property tax, then you are probably wondering if you want to get the most of your taxes. The truth is that most SALT (State And Local Taxes) are deductible from your federal tax burden up to a point.

How much you can deduct will be based on the year that you are doing taxes for. It’s best to check out your accounting software to get the best idea.

Can You Deduct Mortgage Interest?

Mortgage interest used to be far more amenable for homebuyers, but it’s not the massive deduction it once was. Or rather, it is still deductible, but only up to $750,000.

To maximize your possible benefits read: What Tax Breaks Do Homeowners Get?

Who Collects Property Taxes?

Unlike the big tax day on April 15 of every year, property taxes actually have nothing to do with the Federal Government. They are instead always paid locally and the money is allocated statewide and locally.

Your property taxes are used to pay for a variety of public services, such as streets, safety, and sanitation to name a few but this varies from state to state. A big chunk does go to your local school district.

When Are Property Taxes Due?

When your property taxes are due depends on the state and municipality you live in.

However, you may have opted to pay your taxes with your mortgage payments.

Because it's in your lender's best interest for you to be up to date on your property taxes, they often offer the option of collecting your taxes monthly for you along with your mortgage.

They hold this money in an escrow account for you to pay your property taxes.

However, this is entirely optional and you can choose to pay your property taxes on your own.

How Do You Pay Your Property Taxes?

Most local municipalities will have an online option of paying your taxes, although you may also receive a bill in the mail.

If you do not receive a bill in the mail, it doesn't exonerate you from paying your taxes.

When you become the owner of a home, apartment, or property, it is your sole responsibility to pay for your property taxes.

What If You Don't Pay Your Property Taxes?

Normally, your local tax collector will charge penalty fees.

If you don't pay your taxes for a while, your tax balance may be sold by your municipality in what's known as a tax lien sale.

Now, this doesn't mean your property is being sold but rather your local government's right to collect your taxes is being sold.

Usually, investors or investment institutions purchase these liens.

They pay off the owed property taxes and then create a payment schedule for the owner to remit the balance with interest.

Most property owners are able to pay off the taxes on their own or through a sale.

If the property owner fails to pay off the owed taxes in the allotted time frame, the tax lienor can foreclose on the property.

Which Tax Service Should You Use?

When we took a look at each tax service, we realized that it is absolutely important to check out the services that are meant for people in your particular situation.

Knowing that we decided to look at the best kits for people from every walk of life.

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