7 Best Online Tax Filing Services For Homeowners of 2023
If you’re like many taxpayers, you are probably wondering which was is the best to file your taxes, especially if you became a homeowner.
Conventional CPAs can be useful and great if you have someone you've trusted for years but if you've moved out of your city or out of your state that may no longer be an option.
Using digital tax services can make it easier to get the refunds we all need, plus a side of convenience. Besides, even many traditional accountants and accounting firms file your taxes online themselves.
There being so many online and digital software available to the average person, it may be difficult to decide on which service is right for you.
PropertyNest searched through dozens of websites and online software created for tax filing to figure out which ones will serve the public, and particularly homeowners best.
Even if you aren't a homeowner, you can find great benefit and convenience from using an online tax filing service--and some are even for free!
But, which tax service is right for you? Let’s take a look at each one.
The Best Online Tax Services
- Turbo Tax: Best Overall Online Tax Filing Service
- H&R Block: Best Recognized Brand for Filing Taxes
- TaxACT: Best Tax Service For Access to Tax Experts
- TaxSlayer: Best Budget Online Tax Filing
- Bonsai: Best for Freelancers
- Liberty Tax: Best for Straightforward Taxes
- CreditKarma: Best Free Tax Service
TurboTax: Best Overall Online Tax Filing Service
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.
TurboTax as a complicated and nuanced pricing structure. There is a free version for those who want to file their own taxes for only simple 1040 forms. File your own offers 3 additional tiers that are priced at $59, $89, and $119, which do not include the state filing.
Filing with an expert has two main options. You can file on your own with a live expert to guide you and do final review. There are 4 tiers within this option which are priced at $79, $119, $169, and $199.
The second option is to have an actual tax expert prepare all you tax forms and file for you. This is also broken up into 4 tiers that are price at $199, $249, $359, and $389.
This is the best for freelancers, simple returns, complex returns, and everyone. TurboTax has great services for anyone filing taxes at any level--whether it's someone who want to file their own taxes to a small business owner or investor who has more complicated taxes.
Pros and Cons of TurboTax
- Free with affordable upgrades
- Lots of nuanced options
- Audit Assistance guarantee
- Tax experts available for premium customers
- DIY for complicated taxes might be confusing
- Expensive premium plans
H&R Block: Best Recognized Brand For Tax Service
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.
Filing on your own opens up 4 tiers of services. Like many of the other online tax services, there is a free option for a simple 1040; deluxe, premium, and self-employed are $55, $75, and $115, respectively.
Working with one of their tax pros to file starts at $80.
A good choice for first-time filers or those who just want a name they know and trust. Also, H&R Block gets extra points for offering in-person tax filings and document drop-offs, plus options for ex-pats to file taxes online.
Pros and Cons of H&R Block
- Free (Or Otherwise Affordable)
- Audit Assistance Guarantee
- Personal Assistance Available
- Easy Receipt Uploads
- Option to file in-person or drop-off
- May not be the best option for maximized refunds.
TaxACT: Best Tax Service For Access to Tax Experts
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.
What's more is that you can ask one of the tax expert tax and filing questions with their service called Tax Xpert Assist which is available 7 days a week.
Not only do customers have access to tax experts but those tax experts are certified CPAs or have IRS experience.
TaxACT has recently taken this feature to the next level by offering Xpert Full Service, which allows customers to get their taxes prepared and filed from start to finish by a CPA or certified tax expert, very much like the full service tiers of TurboTax but at a much more affordable price point.
TaxACT offers a free file for a simple federal filing. Deluxe, Premier, and Self-Employed are $45, $70, and $80, respectively. All state tax filings are an additional $40.
Great for people who want to have a CPA or certified tax expert do their taxes without having to search themselves for one.
Pros and Cons of TaxACT
- You can opt to have a live CPA prepare your taxes.
- Personal Assistance Available from Tax experts
- Easy Receipt Uploads
- May Not Be As Simplified
TaxSlayer: Best Budget Online Tax Service
As colorful 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 and just have a simple 1040 to file, you can file for free. Expect to pay more if you need extra help.
However, for the price of around $85 for both state and tax, not only can you file more complicated taxes and forms but you have online support from an actual tax expert.
Premium customers can not only chat online with a tax pro but also call or email without expecting to be stuck in a long queue and is probably the ideal package for a first-time filer who has more than just a simple 1040 to file.
Federal return packages are priced from Free, $25, $45, and $55. Filing a single state return will add $39 for classic, premium, and self-employed packages. One state filing is included free in TaxSlayer's free version.
It’s great if you know what you’re doing or want a cheaper price tag.
Pros and Cons of TaxSlayer
- Extremely Affordable
- All Forms Available For Basic Packages And More
- Easy Receipt Uploads
- May Not Be As Simplified
- Tax pros are not necessarily CPAs
- Not great for claiming tax credits
Bonsai: Best Tax Software For Freelancers
Bonsai isn’t just a tax service; it’s a full accounting setup specifically for people who freelance or own their own small business.
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, meaning filing your taxes is that much easier.
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.
$19/month plus $10 monthly fee for taxes, which includes accounting software.
Millennial-friendly accounting at a glance. If this is your tax service style, that’s great. Bonsai also makes filing quarterly taxes a snap.
Pros and Cons of Bonsai
- Easy Expense Accounting
- Highly Involved Accounting
- Beautiful Layout + Organization
- You Need To Use The Entire Platform For It To Work Well
- Little Live Assistance
Liberty Tax: Best For Straightforward Taxes
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!
In case, filing online becomes overwhelming Liberty Tax does offer in-person appointments to file with a tax expert.
To file online, Liberty Tax offers three options: Basic ($35), Deluxe ($56), and Premium ($75).
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.
Pros and Cons of Liberty Tax
- Live Support Available
- Fast Tax Returns
- Doesn’t Always Do Itemized Deductions Well
- Dated Interface
- Limited Forms
Credit Karma Tax: Best Free Tax Service
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.)
It’s totally free.
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.
Pros and Cons of CreditKarma Tax Services
- Audit Defense
- Fast Tax Returns
- Accuracy Guarantee
- Doesn’t Always Do Itemized Deductions Well
- Little To No Guidance
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 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.
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.
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.