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Tax software

Best tax software for investors 2024

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🗓️

Updated: March 07, 2024

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For many filers, tax season is synonymous with stress and confusion. That’s especially true for investors who juggle income streams and deductions. Fortunately, there's a cavalry of tax software out there ready to save the day. But with so many options available, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming.

It’s time to explore the features and benefits of popular tax software platforms, specifically tailored for investors. We'll break down their strengths and weaknesses to help you find the perfect match for your tax needs and budget. Whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting, we'll equip you with the knowledge to confidently navigate tax season and maximize your deductions.

The right platform can help you save time, sanity, and most importantly, money during tax season.

Quick overview of the best tax software for investors

  1. 1.

    TurboTax Premium â€” Best for features

  2. 2.

    TaxAct Premier â€” Best value

  3. 3.

    H&R Block Premium â€” Best for expenses and deductions

  4. 4.

    TaxSlayer Premium â€” Best for professional support

  5. 5.

    Cash App Taxes â€” Best free online tax filing service

  6. 6.

    Liberty Tax Deluxe â€” Best for in-person filing

Best for features: TurboTax Premium

Tax giant Intuit boasts nearly 40 years of experience, offering various tax filing solutions for practically every scenario. From a basic free option for simple returns to comprehensive (and paid) software for small businesses, Turbo Tax caters to diverse needs.

However, investors seeking optimal assistance should look beyond the freebie and opt for TurboTax Premium. This online plan caters specifically to investor complexities, simplifying the process and potentially maximizing your refund.

If you’re an investor, TurboTax Premium is the online plan you’d need.

TurboTax Premium features

  • Import investment info from hundreds of trading platforms and brokerages
  • Report up to 10,000 stock transactions and up to 20,000 crypto transactions
  • Audit assistance included
  • Calculators for capital gains/losses, rental depreciation, crypto sales, and more

TurboTax Premium lets you claim income from investments including rental properties (as well as calculate depreciation), track your capital gains and losses, and take deductions for investment-related investments. 

Filing

There’s no need for manual entry. Filers can upload trades from any platform (crypto, stocks, mutual funds, bonds) and let TurboTax calculate capital gains and losses automatically. You can get tips to optimize your tax benefits and uncover all relevant deductions, including for employee stock options.

Filers with rental property taxes can write off eligible expenses with clear guidance on different categories. You can file seamlessly with support for Form 1099, Schedule E, K-1, B, C, and more. Turbo Tax is also popular for the efficient way it carries over tax information to future years, avoiding mistakes and ensuring deductions aren't missed. IRS updates are integrated.

Support

Regarding service and assistance, if the IRS contacts you post-filing with TurboTax under this plan, you'll be entitled to Audit Assistance. Additionally, there's the option to purchase an Audit Defense Membership for comprehensive support throughout your audit process.

While TurboTax Premium lacks live assistance, upgrading is possible. For $179, you can access the Live Assisted Premier, offering unlimited help on demand. Alternatively, for $369, the Live Full Service Premier provides the advantage of entrusting your tax filing to a professional.

Pricing

  • Federal return: $89
  • State return: $49

TurboTax Deluxe also allows you to itemize deductions and file Schedules B, C, and D. Rental property owners, will need Premier to file Schedule E forms.

Best value: TaxAct Premier

TaxAct delivers significant value for its modest pricing. Despite its reputation as a budget-friendly option, its online e-filing platform is both thorough and user-friendly, making TaxAct competitive with the top offerings in the field. The TaxAct Premier plan is tailor-made for individuals who need to manage their investments.

TaxAct Premier features

  • Free Xpert Assist included
  • Stock Assistant allows for easy investment reporting
  • Import past returns and data from online investment services such as Betterment, TD Ameritrade, and Raymond James
  • DocVault app lets you store all your tax documents and track charitable donations

Filing

TaxAct simplifies every aspect of tax filing, from importing investment data to itemization. The platform offers a variety of tools and resources designed to ensure accurate filing and help keep you organized. With features like Stock Assistant for tracking capital gains and losses, and DocVault for securely storing essential documents (including photos of deductible donations), TaxAct streamlines the tax preparation process.

Investors will like TaxAct Premier’s import features for managing complex financial data, including K-1 forms, Schedule E rental income, stock sales, and various deductions and credits. TaxAct facilitates the auto-filling of complicated sections of your tax return.

Additionally, the platform may automatically import your capital gains and losses. Should manual entry be necessary, Stock Assistant simplifies the process, allowing you to input your stock information into a spreadsheet and seamlessly integrate it into your tax forms.

Support

Currently, every TaxAct online plan comes with complimentary unlimited access to Xpert Assist. This service allows you to pose any tax-related queries and receive a callback from a specialist who can examine your tax return and guide you through any problems. After you've finished your filing, TaxAct will review your documents to notify you of potential issues, such as missing or inaccurate information.

For questions related to technical support, TaxAct provides the option to contact them during regular business hours or utilize the online chat feature. However, TaxAct's online plans offer a fundamental level of audit support, which includes guidance on understanding the IRS's requirements and initiating the process but does not extend to representation.

Pricing 

  • Federal return: starting at $39.99
  • State return: starting at $39.99

The cost for each state return with TaxAct Premier is slightly above what other sites charge, yet at $39.99, the price is quite reasonable for a plan that caters to investors. If you're looking to report investments, the TaxAct Deluxe plan won't suffice, making the Premier level the minimum requirement.

Best for expenses and deductions: H&R Block Premium Online

For investors who prioritize comprehensive coverage and seek extensive audit assistance, H&R Block Premium could be the ideal choice. This service provides a range of features comparable to the other tax software options discussed, with the added benefit of optional audit support and representation, plus complimentary assistance.

For investors, we recommend the H&R Block Premium Online plan.

H&R Block Premium Online features

  • Import investment info from hundreds of trading platforms and brokerages
  • Support for reporting rental property income
  • Free audit assistance
  • Optional paid audit representation

Filing 

The Premium Online plan from H&R Block has several assurances: accuracy, maximum refund, no surprises (ensuring clear pricing), and audit support. The audit support included offers basic guidance through the audit process rather than expert representation, although you have the option to pay extra for this enhanced service, a notable benefit.

For those with complex tax situations, typical among investors with diverse assets, H&R Block streamlines the filing process. The platform enables you to upload investment data directly, guides you through questions on rental properties, and offers a variety of calculators to expedite the filing process while minimizing errors in reporting income, transactions, and capital gains or losses. It accommodates Schedules D, E, and K-1, plus any investor-required credits or deductions. Moreover, access to live chat technical support is available at no additional cost.

Support

Subscribers to the Premium Online plan enjoy unlimited access to live technical support, available through both phone and chat.

Additionally, for an added fee of $115 for federal returns, there's the option to secure unlimited assistance from a tax expert. This service allows you to share your screen with them, facilitating direct communication about specific issues you're encountering.

Another optional service to consider is Block’s Worry-Free Audit Support, available for $19.99. This service ensures that H&R Block supports you in the event of an audit by the IRS. Should you be audited, H&R Block will assign an Enrolled Agent (EA) to assist in your preparation, organization, filing of any necessary reports, and representation throughout the entire audit process, including any in-person appearances.

Pricing

  • Federal return: $55 
  • State return: $37 

Pricing summary: H&R Block offers pricing slightly below TurboTax, with both platforms offering similar services. While the Deluxe plan permits itemization of deductions, only the Premium and Self-Employed plans accommodate investment reporting.

Best for professional support: TaxSlayer® Premium

TaxSlayer stands out for its affordable rates, notable features, and distinct pricing model, making it an excellent choice for those seeking professional tax assistance.

If you have investment income, TaxSlayer® Premium is the right plan for you.

TaxSlayer® Premium features

  • Unlimited access to a tax professional for filing questions and guidance
  • Three years of Audit Assistance including representation
  • Priority phone and live chat support

Filing 

TaxSlayer is celebrated for its straightforward and quick filing process, a feature that resonates well with most of its users. Investors, in particular, will find a comprehensive suite of forms, deductions, and credits at their disposal, with the ability to seamlessly transfer forms from previous tax platforms. The highlight of this online filing service, however, is the unlimited personal support offered.

Navigating the complexities of tax forms related to investments can be challenging, especially without a clear understanding of the reporting requirements. Unlike other services that may charge extra for additional assistance, TaxSlayer Premium includes both enhanced technical support and access to tax professionals within its reasonable fee.

While TaxSlayer may not provide as step-by-step a filing experience as some of its competitors, its intuitive design paired with the significant benefit of unlimited support makes it a standout choice.

Support

This package offers enhanced technical support, access to professional assistance when required, and IRS Audit Assistance. Following the acceptance of your TaxSlayer e-file by the IRS, you have up to three years of support from the company's qualified team of Enrolled Agents (EAs) and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) to navigate the audit process.

Unlimited inquiries are permitted, setting this plan apart from others, including TaxSlayer Classic, primarily due to the additional support features. If such extensive support seems unnecessary for your needs, opting for the Classic plan still allows you to itemize deductions, declare investment income, and more.

Pricing

  • Federal return: $54.95
  • State return: $39.95 

The capabilities TaxSlayer offers at this price level are impressively extensive.

Best free option: Cash App Taxes

Excuse me. Free? You heard that right. Cash App Taxes, previously recognized as Credit Karma Tax, stands out distinctly for several reasons. This provider breaks away from the conventional pricing model by offering its services entirely free of charge, including for investment taxes.

Let’s dig into how Cash App Taxes works and if it might be the right platform for you.

Cash App Taxes features

  • Free
  • Three years of Audit Assistance including representation
  • Priority phone and live chat support

Filing 

Cash App Taxes offers completely free state and federal tax filing for everyone, without exceptions. Whether you're submitting a straightforward return featuring just a W-2 or dealing with a more complicated financial landscape involving investments, rental properties, and businesses, Cash App Taxes allows you to file without any fees, and there's no premium option available for purchase.

The primary limitation of Cash App Taxes is its scope of service. For instance, it doesn't support the filing of foreign-earned income or multiple state returns. While you can submit a Schedule K-1 Form 1065 for partnerships, Schedule K-1 Form 1041 for estates or trusts is not supported. Nevertheless, it does allow for itemized deductions and supports filing Schedules A through F.

Cash App Taxes meets the needs of a broad range of filers, including investors, landlords, those self-employed, and small business owners, covering most required functionalities. However, it's best suited for individuals who are comfortable navigating their tax situation without needing additional support.

Support

Support offerings from Cash App Taxes are predictably basic for a free service. The service doesn't include live assistance from tax professionals, audit help, or other advanced features common in many paid plans. What it does offer, however, is entirely free.

Should you find yourself in need of assistance, you can consult the help section for articles related to your query or contact Cash App's general support team. While this resource is not exclusively focused on tax-related inquiries, it can offer guidance on technical issues and similar concerns.

Pricing

$0 for all filing

Pricing summary: 

Yes, it’s free. But we can only recommend Cash App Taxes to the most confident of filers. If you think you might need help at some point along the way, some of the others on this list might be better options.

Best for in-person filing: Liberty Tax Deluxe

Liberty Tax transcends the familiar sight of a person clad in a Statue of Liberty outfit advertising on the sidewalk. It offers a variety of filing options: You can either visit a physical office, file online independently, or opt for a professional to file on your behalf remotely. A significant advantage of choosing Liberty Tax is the availability of in-person support. But let’s focus on the optimal online self-filing plan for investors.

Among the three online plans offered, the Deluxe plan stands out as the most suitable choice for a wide range of filers.

Liberty Tax Deluxe features

  • Optional in-person filing
  • Audit Assistance included with in-store plans
  • Correspondence Assistance included with in-store plans

Filing 

Liberty Tax Deluxe is particularly suited for basic investment activities due to its more straightforward approach to tax filing. It accommodates Schedules A, B, and C, which, while fewer than what many other reviews might cover, could be adequate if your investment activities are limited to straightforward stock trades and purchases. 

If you don't need more complex forms such as Schedule E and K-1, the simplicity offered by this provider might be appealing. Despite its streamlined nature, you can still access deductions and credits related to your investments and monitor capital gains with this plan.

Moreover, like several tax filing services, Liberty Tax ensures its services with a 100% accuracy guarantee. Should an error on your part during the filing process result in interest or fees, Liberty Tax commits to compensating you for those charges.

Support

Liberty's online tax plans are backed by guarantees for maximum refund and accuracy. Opting for paid preparation services further includes Audit Assistance and Correspondence Assistance, offering support in case of an audit with a representative to assist in presenting your case.

Liberty Tax boasts several thousand branch locations, allowing you to seek in-person assistance at no additional charge, even post-filing. While other services mentioned, such as H&R Block, also offer in-person support, Liberty Tax's network of offices is notably more extensive.

Pricing

  • Federal return: $65.95
  • State return: $36.95

Pricing summary: 

For investors, the Deluxe online plan represents the most basic option suitable for their needs. However, should you require completion of a Schedule E form, upgrading to the Premium plan is necessary, for $85.95. Pricing for preparation services differs based on location and specific requirements.

Which tax preparation service should you use?

Tax software can be a lifesaver for investors. With numerous transactions to track, manual filing is error-prone and time-consuming. Software helps navigate complexities and avoids mistakes. Many programs find deductions and credits you might miss, potentially increasing your refund.

These software platforms will also handle tedious calculations and paperwork, freeing your time for other activities. Additionally, some programs offer guarantees and review your forms before submission, adding an extra layer of security.

We've compiled a list of top tax software options for investors in 2024. Consider your specific needs and preferences to select the best fit for you.

  • For a feature-packed plan that will walk you through every step, go with TurboTax.
  • For a well-priced option with a user-friendly platform, go with TaxAct.
  • For a plan that’ll help you uncover more tax advantages, go with H&R Block.
  • For a simple and affordable option packed with support, go with TaxSlayer.
  • For a free option that's great if you know what you’re doing, go with Cash App Taxes.
  • And for filing in person with help from a pro, go with Liberty Taxes.

With files from Lauren Graves

Chris Clark Freelance Contributor

Chris Clark is freelance contributor with MoneyWise, based in Kansas City, Mo. He has written for numerous publications and spent 18 years as a reporter and editor with The Associated Press.

Disclaimer

The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.