The 7 Best Small Business Tax Software of 2020

Avoid an audit without spending a fortune

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The only thing more stressful than filing a personal tax return is filing one for a business. Fortunately, small business tax software makes it easy for owners to file their taxes, maximize their deductions and refunds, and avoid an IRS audit, all without having to hire a CPA.

Due to the increased reliability of tax preparation software, business owners who do their own taxes can see a significant amount in savings. According to the National Society of Accountants, having a tax return prepared by a professional can run as high as $1,563. By comparison, small business tax software costs between $50 to $200 plus state filing fees (typically $45). 

We looked at nearly a dozen business tax software providers for this review and chose the best based on ease of use, preparation and audit support, cost, accuracy and refund guarantees, and more. Here are our top picks.

The 7 Best Small Business Tax Software of 2020

TurboTax: Best Overall

TurboTax

TurboTax

Created in 1984 by Intuit, the company behind QuickBooks, TurboTax is the most popular and widely used tax preparation software for both individuals and businesses. We chose it as the best overall because it offers an easy-to-use interface and both DIY tax filing and filing with the assistance of a tax professional.

TurboTax has created one of the most intuitive user interfaces available. Users can get started by importing a PDF of a past tax return and uploading pictures of W-2 and 1099 forms. From there the software uses a series of prompts and questions to help finish and file the return.

When it comes to business taxes, TurboTax searches for industry-specific deductions other providers might miss. Users get guidance through the software for common expenses and can even track them through a free complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed.

Although TurboTax offers a comprehensive guided walkthrough, the software also offers an option to get direct help from tax professionals through TurboTax Live. Users can connect live on their screen with a CPA or enrolled agent (EA) for advice or a line-by-line review of their return or even hand off the entire return to be completed and filed by a professional.      

TurboTax offers both a DIY TurboTax small business plan and a TurboTax Live plan. Fees for all plans are only due at the time of filing.

TurboTax Self-Employed Plan

  • $120 + $50 per state filed
  • Covers W-2 income, Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC), and Child Tax Credits
  • Covers stocks, bonds, ESPPs, and other investments
  • Import a PDF of a return from another tax software
  • Audit Support Guarantee
  • 24/7 access to an online community
  • Searches 350+ tax deductions and credits
  • Maximizes mortgage and property tax deductions
  • Homeowner tax breaks (Schedule A)
  • Auto import investment income
  • Rental property income and tax deductions
  • Guidance for contractors, freelancers, and small business owners
  • Uncover industry-specific deductions for more tax breaks
  • One-on-one help from self-employment specialists
  • Expense, mileage, and job tracking
  • Import 1099-MISC from a photo

TurboTax Live Self-Employed Plan

  • $200 + $55 per state filed
  • Prep, print, and e-file with help from a tax expert
  • Import W-2 from a photo
  • Final review and/or filing from a CPA or EA
  • Talk with a tax expert about 350+ deductions and credits
  • Review mortgage tax deductions with a CPA or EA
  • Donation deduction support
  • Covers stocks, bonds, ESPPs, and other investments
  • Covers rental property income and tax deductions
  • Auto import investment income
  • Account for gains and losses from cryptocurrency transactions
  • Tax advice to make the most of self-employment income and expenses
  • Industry-specific deductions
  • Personalized audit assessment
  • Expense, mileage, and job tracking

H&R Block: Runner-Up, Best Overall

H&R Block

 H&R Block

Established in 1955, H&R Block is one of the oldest and most well-known tax preparation services, with over 12,000 offices worldwide. We chose it as our runner-up because it offers most of the same online services and professional assistance as TurboTax with a less-intuitive interface but at a lower cost.

Although H&R Block offers a similar walkthrough with guidance as TurboTax, its interface is not quite as elegant and some terms and steps are not as well explained. Users can still get started quickly by importing previous tax returns, uploading images of W-2 forms, and filing Schedule 1 through 3 Forms which let them report business income.

Like TurboTax, H&R Block also offers users the option to file taxes completely on their own or have their return reviewed by a tax expert, EA, or CPA for an extra fee. Users can also schedule an in-office appointment with a tax professional at one of H&R Block’s thousands of locations.      

Like TurboTax, H&R Block splits its offering between the DIY File Online and Online Assist plans. All plans include on-demand chat, screen sharing, and an online help center.

File Online Plans

Premium Online Plan

  • $69.99 + $44.99 per state filed
  • For freelancers, contractors, and investors
  • Snap-a-pic W-2 import
  • Self-help via a help center
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Child care expenses
  • Student loan interest 
  • Retirement plan income
  • Social Security income
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Six years' access to tax returns
  • DeductionPro® to optimize donations
  • Technical support (by chat or phone)
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • Real estate taxes
  • Mortgage interest
  • Import expenses from popular expense tracking apps
  • Cost basis calculation
  • Freelance/Contractor income with expenses less than $5,000
  • Stock sales income
  • Rental property income

Self-Employed Online Plan

  • $104.99 + $44.99 per state filed
  • For self-employed and small business
  • All Premium Online Plan features
  • Expense import from popular expense tracking apps
  • Import Uber driver tax information
  • Small business expenses, including home office, depreciation, and vehicle expenses

Online Assist Plans

Premium Online Assist Plan

  • $159.99 + $49.99 per state filed
  • For freelancers, contractors, and investors, including help when needed
  • Unlimited expert help
  • Snap-a-pic W-2 import
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Child care expenses
  • Student loan interest
  • Retirement plan income
  • Social Security income
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Unlimited expert help 
  • Six years' access to tax returns
  • DeductionPro® to optimize donations
  • Transparent pricing with Price Preview
  • Guidance for homeowners
  • Technical support (by chat or phone)
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • Real estate taxes
  • Mortgage interest

Self-Employed Online Assist Plan

  • $189.99 + $49.99 per state filed
  • All Premium Online Assist Plan features
  • Expense import from popular expense tracking apps
  • Import Uber driver tax information
  • Small business expenses, including home office, depreciation, and vehicle expenses

Jackson Hewitt: Best for Additional Support

Jackson Hewitt

 Jackson Hewitt

Jackson Hewitt was founded in 1982 by American entrepreneur John Hewitt and began offering online tax preparation and filing services in 2014. We chose it as best for additional support because it offers robust online help for true DIYers with the option to hand over the process to a trained professional anytime.

Jackson Hewitt’s basic online filing services don’t offer anything more than its competitors. Users can import their previous year’s return, upload their W-2 forms, and use the software’s step-by-step guide combined with live online help during business hours to complete and file their returns. 

Jackson Hewitt also offers hybrid versions that bridge the gap between doing it yourself and working with a professional. Its Tax Pro From Home plan lets users start their return on their own and upload it anytime to be finished by a tax professional. The company also gives users the option to drop their tax documents off or sit with a tax pro at a Jackson Hewitt office near them.      

Those who want to do all their filing online themselves can access an online help center, talk to a real person during business hours on live chat, and take advantage of the company’s 100% accuracy guarantee.  

Jackson Hewitt offers a Premier Plan plan that’s suitable for small businesses. Pricing for its Tax Pro From Home plans is available by request.

Premier Plan

  • $69.95 + $44.95 per state filed
  • Best for complex returns
  • Income over $100,000
  • Self-employment
  • Rental property
  • Itemized deductions
  • Other income, credits, or deductions

Liberty Tax: Best for Experienced Accountants

Liberty Tax

 Liberty Tax

Established in 1997 by Jackson Hewitt founder John Hewitt, Liberty Tax operates 3,000 locations in the United States and Canada and prepares more than 1.7 million tax returns a year. We chose it as the best for experienced accountants because it lets users work on any part of their returns instead of being forced to start at the beginning.

Liberty Tax makes it easy to get started by importing returns from other platforms and also offers both live chat and email support. Like other providers with physical locations, Liberty Tax lets customers start their returns online and transition to working directly with a real person at a local office.

Liberty Tax’s self-employed plan is cheaper than most others and is geared toward small business owners, independent contractors, and freelancers. The company also offers a 100% accuracy guarantee, free double-checks at participating locations, and audit warnings that alert users to anything on their return that can put them at risk for an audit.     

For those who really want to do it all themselves, Liberty Tax offers a variety of online tax preparation resources, including links to common forms with instructions, guides to different types of taxes, and tax estimation and calculation tools.

Liberty Tax offers three simple plans with the same pricing, differentiated by the forms each supports. Only the Premium Plan supports the forms most small businesses are required to file.  

Premium Plan

  • $44.95 + $34.95 per state
  • Self-employment income and related business deductions
  • Taxable income over $100,000
  • Rental or Farming income
  • Partner or Shareholder income issued on Schedule K-1
  • Beneficiary income issued from an estate or trust on Schedule K-1
  • Unreported tips
  • All other less common income sources, credits, and deductions

TaxSlayer: Best Value

TaxSlayer

 TaxSlayer

TaxSlayer was founded in the 1990s by local Georgia tax preparation company Rhodes-Murphy & Co. and currently prepares and files over 10 million returns each year. We chose it as the best value of all software reviewed because it offers the lowest cost business tax filing plan with support compared to all the providers we reviewed.

TaxSlayer operates like most other tax prep software, letting users easily import W-2 forms and PDFs of past tax returns regardless of who prepared them. The software then walks the user through the step-by-step process, finding deductions along the way and offering popup explanations of confusing terms. TaxSlayer also offers phone and email support as needed.

Although TaxSlayer doesn’t offer personal support on par with some of the larger firms we reviewed, users still get a lot for their money. Its Ask a Tax Pro feature lets customers submit tax questions online which are then reviewed by IRS-certified tax professionals who answer with step-by-step guidance. TaxSlayer also offers a 100% accuracy guarantee and maximum refund guarantee, reimbursing its customers for any penalties and interest charges as well as their fees if something gets flagged by the IRS.        

Self-Employed Plan

  • $47 + $39 per state filed
  • Prepare, print, and e-file
  • Student loan interest and education expenses
  • Free phone and email support
  • Includes all credits like Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit
  • Includes all deductions and adjustments to income
  • Includes all income types, no form or schedule restrictions
  • W-2 import and PDF upload
  • IRS Audit Assistance for three full years
  • Ask a Tax Pro service
  • Priority phone and email support
  • Live chat
  • Unlimited assistance
  • Guidance with 1099 income
  • Maximize Schedule C work expense deductions
  • Quarterly estimated tax payment reminders
  • Personalized guide to self-employed taxes
  • Year-round tax and income tips

FreeTaxUSA: Best Free Software

FreeTaxUSA

 FreeTaxUSA

FreeTaxUSA was founded in 2001 by CPA firm TaxHawk to provide fast and free online tax preparation services. All 150+ employees live and work in the United States and have filed millions of federal tax returns since the company started. We chose it as the best free software because it offers free federal tax filing services in states with no tax return requirements.

FreeTaxUSA works similarly to the other software we reviewed and lets users get started by importing their prior-year returns from TurboTax, H&R Block, or TaxAct. Users also get a maximum refund guarantee and a 100% accuracy guarantee with real-time checking as they enter information, double-checking as they complete each section, and a final check before they file their return. 

FreeTaxUSA lets small business owners file their federal tax returns absolutely free. State fees are only $14.99 per state filed, which means that business owners in a state where no state tax return is required can still file for free. FreeTaxUSA also offers a deluxe plan for $6.99 which lets users chat directly with specialists, amend tax returns after they’ve been submitted, and access audit specialists who can answer questions in the event of an IRS audit.   

As mentioned above, FreeTaxUSA offers free federal filing for business taxes reported on Schedule C.

Self-Employed Plan

  • $0 federal + $14.99 per state filed
  • Over 350 credits/deductions
  • Import from TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct
  • Print finished tax returns now or later
  • Itemized deductions
  • Get credit for donations
  • Compare this year's numbers with last year
  • File taxes with self-employed, 1099, or contractor income
  • Report income from stocks, bonds, and dividends
  • Claim your expenses and rental income
  • Get a deduction for Health Savings Account
  • Write off the interest paid on student loans

TaxAct: Best for Partnerships and Corporations

TaxAct

 TaxAct

TaxAct was founded in 1998 as a budget-friendly online tax preparation service. Since its creation, it has helped file over 65 million returns. We chose it as the best for partnerships and corporations since it’s the only provider we reviewed that lets partnerships and corporations file online.

TaxAct offers the typical user-friendly interface with a help wizard and the ability to import forms and previous returns from other providers common to most online business tax software. Unlike other platforms, however, it also offers a downloadable version for both Mac and PC computers for those who want the option to work on their returns offline.

TaxAct also supports the widest variety of business types of any of the other providers we reviewed. Whereas other tax software only allows self-employed individuals, freelancers, and independent contractors to file online, TaxAct also supports the filing of forms for sole proprietorships, partnerships, and both C- and S-corporations. Tax-exempt organizations required to file Form 990 can also use TaxAct.   

Finally, TaxAct offers one of the most generous tax accuracy and maximum refund guarantees we’ve seen, refunding the cost of the software and paying the difference in either the lower refund or higher tax liability, plus any legal costs or penalties, up to $100,000.     

TaxAct offers paid plans for different small businesses depending on the type all for the same fee.

Business Tax Filing

  • $109.95 + $54.95 per state filed
  • Sole Proprietor: Form 1040, Schedule C
  • Partnership: Form 1065
  • C-corporation: Form 1120
  • S-corporation: Form 1120S
  • Tax-Exempt Organizations: Form 990
  • W-2 income
  • Dependents
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Current students
  • Retirement income
  • Prior-year import
  • Unlimited account support
  • Child & dependent care
  • Mortgage interest
  • Real estate taxes
  • Student loan interest
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • Adoption credits
  • Tax specialist phone support
  • Stocks, gains and losses, sales of home or other investments
  • Royalty and Schedule K-1 income
  • Investment income expenses
  • Rental property income
  • Foreign bank and financial accounts
  • Prioritized support, including screen sharing
  • Freelance income
  • Business & farm income
  • Personalized business deductions
  • Calculate depreciation
  • Year-round planning resources

What Is Small Business Tax Software?

Business tax software helps business owners find the most deductions and ensure that all of the required forms are filled out and filed correctly to avoid any penalties. Most come with a user-friendly interface that walks the owner through filling out information and recording income and then electronically files it for a fee.

“One major benefit of using tax software is that it will help you maximize your tax deductions,” says Carol Tompkins, Business Development Consultant at AccountsPortal. “Look for software that provides you with easy-to-follow instructions and explanations on different tax laws and tax items.”

In addition to online support, many business tax software platforms also offer the option to consult with a real person for solutions to more confusing and complicated issues.  

Why Do People Need Tax Software Programs for Small Businesses?

Unless a business has the money to pay a trusted CPA or tax firm to prepare and file their taxes year after year, most can and should turn toward tax software as the next best option. Most people who’ve only experienced the minor complications of filing personal taxes on their own have no idea what they're getting into with filing taxes for their business.

The biggest risk to any business, of course, is the IRS audit. Mistakes like claiming too many deductions, overestimating income and expenses, and underpaying taxes can all potentially trigger a time-consuming and costly audit. Business tax software not only double-checks each item in a return for accuracy but most also offer accuracy and maximum refund guarantees and audit support in the event an error occurs.   

“Today’s tax software is comprehensive and backed up by guarantees of support,” says Haris Bacic, Co-founder of Pricelisto. “From freelance to small and not so small business owners, there’s tax preparation software out there for everyone at a fraction of the cost of an accountant and bookkeeper.”   

How Much Does Small Business Tax Software Cost?

While business tax filing plans tend to be the most expensive tier offered by most tax software, the cost is still far lower than that of paying a CPA. The business plans we reviewed ranged from as low as $17 plus $39 per state filed to as high as $200 plus $55 per state filed. Only one provider we reviewed offered free federal tax filing, charging just for any state fees. 

Because business tax filing is often the top-tier plan offered, they typically include the most robust support options, like actually getting on the phone or email with a certified tax professional who can answer complicated and detailed tax questions.

How Is Tax Software Different From Small Business Accounting Software?

Small business accounting software typically allows business owners to track all of the expenses and income throughout the year needed to accurately fill out a tax return at the end of the year. Almost none take the next steps of preparing and filing the taxes for the business.

With that said, some small business accounting software prepares certain forms that are required for tax returns. Even without these, the detailed tracking offered by nearly any business accounting software can give business owners the confidence and peace of mind of knowing that the information in their return is accurate and documented in the rare event of an audit.          

How We Chose the Best Tax Software for Small Business

We looked at nearly a dozen software providers for this review. Because preparing business tax returns can be overwhelming and create a lot of anxiety, we made sure to choose platforms that were extremely clear and easy to use. 

Support was a leading concern. Because business taxes are often more complicated than personal taxes, being able to consult with a real person rather than just an online help center can often mean the difference between filing a correct or incorrect tax return.

Finally, because businesses provide the main livelihood for those using the software we reviewed, it was important to find providers who backed their claims of accuracy with real dollars. Business owners should be confident that they’re paying only what they owe and getting back every penny they deserve. Software providers willing to reimburse their customers for any errors they make are not just an expense for a business, but an investment.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. National Society of Accountants. "NSA Survey Reveals Fee and Expense Data For Tax Accounting Firms in 2016 and 2017 Projections." Accessed September 7, 2020.