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The Best Small Business Tax Software

·5 min read
A business owner uses tax software to get their finances in order before it's time to file.
A business owner uses tax software to get their finances in order before it's time to file.

Picking tax preparation software for your small business is still easier than picking your tax deductions. But there are a growing number of options. And it can be hard to figure out which is best. Here are the small business tax software programs most likely to be what you need to prepare your company’s tax return.

Small Business Tax Software: TurboTax

TurboTax has a broad mix of features, support, and user-friendly features. However, you might not choose TurboTax if you don’t want to pay its price for

TurboTax offers different packages for different filers. For freelancers and sole proprietors dealing with Schedule C, 1099 forms, home office expenses, automobile mileage and the like, there’s TurboTax Self-Employed. It’s delivered online for $90, with state returns costing extra. A live version providing unlimited access to tax advice from certified public accountants and enrolled agents is $170.

For more complicated enterprises dealing with depreciation, rental real estate, and preparation of  W-2, 1099 and other forms, there’s TurboTax Business. This version targets C corporations, S corporations, partnerships, LLCs, estates or trusts. TurboTax Business is available online for $159.99, with state returns extra.

TurboTax also delivers software via CD or download. Some of it an be used for small business activities. Its $70 Premier package, for instance, accommodates rental property and investments.

The TurboTax interface is designed for ease of use. The software guides even inexperienced filers through the process by asking questions and suggesting alternatives. Filers can upload photos of 1099s and import information from past returns. Also, they can import data from QuickBooks Desktop accounting software.

Meanwhile, TurboTax checks for errors during preparation and before filing a return.  The company guarantees accuracy, and promises to reimburse filers for any penalties and interest paid because of its error. It also guarantees filers the maximum refund available.

Small Business Tax Software: H&R Block

An accountant uses tax software to prepare tax documents for a small business client.
An accountant uses tax software to prepare tax documents for a small business client.

H&R Block’s small business tax software includes features that rival any other tax software offering. Meanwhile, it’s slightly more affordable than TurboTax.

For $74.95, H&R Block Premium Tax Software can handle simple returns for most business types. That includes self-employed freelance sole proprietors with 1099s, as well as Schedule Cs and C corporations with payroll forms and W-2.

The next step up is H&R Block Premium & Business Tax Software for $89.95, for business owners with more than 10 itemized expenses. Both H&R Block products include one free state return preparation. However, it’s another $19.95 for each state return that is filed electronically.

H&R Block’s help center includes more than 13,000 searchable articles on tax topics. Free live support is available via in-product chat. For an extra fee, filers can get individual help from a tax pro who will review the return to make sure it’s error-free. Also, they’ll ensure that filers haven’t missed any deductions or credits.

The software double-checks returns for accuracy and assesses risk of triggering an audit. If a filer faces an audit, H&R Block offers free audit representation. Meanwhile, TurboTax, H&R Block offers to reimburse filers for any fees paid due to inaccuracies.

Filers can upload scans or photos of some forms. Also, they can import data from prior year returns, including those prepared by competitor tax software. Users of Xero accounting software can also integrate their business books with future tax returns through a partnership with H&R Block.

Small Business Tax Software: FreeTaxUSA

FreeTaxUSA is a no-cost tax preparation software option for some sole proprietors, freelancers, and contractors. However, state tax returns cost $12.95 each. Choosing the Deluxe option knocks the price down to $6.99.

FreeTaxUSA accommodates Schedule C sole proprietor returns with self-employed and freelance income. Also, it assists taxpayers with rental income, health insurance costs, automobile expenses and home office expenses. It won’t, however, do returns for corporations, partnerships, LLCs and other more complex entities.

Like its costlier competitors, FreeTaxUSA lets filers import previous year’s data from competing tax software. The basic offerings are supported by email, which may be slower than online chat. The Deluxe level provides support via live chat as well as unlimited amended returns and audit assistance.

The Bottom Line

Tax software can help business owners keep more accurate records of their finances so that it's easier to file their taxes when the time comes.
Tax software can help business owners keep more accurate records of their finances so that it's easier to file their taxes when the time comes.

Small businesses owners who choose to do their taxes with TurboTax or H&R Block will enjoy a full slate of features, plenty of help and money-back guarantees. For no- or low-cost filing, TaxFreeUSA may be enough for many sole proprietors, freelancers and contractors.

Tax Tips

  • Consider talking to a financial advisor about your small business tax software and whether or not it suits your needs. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors who will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

  • To pick tax software, first you may want to make sure it supports all the tax forms you’ll need, such as a Schedule C for the self-employed and Form 1120 for corporations. Then you might consider for a comfortable user interface with support tailored to your confidence level. Finally, give your budget a look and choose an option that fits your finances.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/PeopleImages, ©iStock.com/MartinPrescott, ©iStock.com/Pra-chid


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