Best Business Tax Preparation Software for Small Business Owners
Filing taxes is the bane of many small business owners’ existence. Worries about entering the right codes, apprehensions around claiming deductions correctly, and fears about getting audited are among the concerns they agonize over. Not only that, it’s time-consuming.
But it has to be done. After all, who wants Uncle Sam knocking at their door?
Should you file your own small business taxes?
Hiring a certified public accountant to tend to your bookkeeping and tax preparation needs is an ideal solution for many entrepreneurs, but it isn’t always an affordable one. That’s why millions of small business owners are doing their taxes themselves. They rely on tax preparation software to help keep them in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service.
Any business can use at-home accounting software. The questions are whether it’s right for your business type and size, and if you have the patience to sit down and do it. Sole proprietors, independent contractors and freelancers have very different tax filing needs than someone running a company with 150 employees. As a result, they can probably get away with a more simplistic tax filing software. The same could be said of small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, as well as startups, which tend to start out small in the beginning. Available products offer different versions of software depending on a business’s size and needs. As such, these products vary in price.
The 4 best business tax software programs for small businesses
Here we’ll review four top tax preparation software programs you may want to consider.
Best for: Partnerships, S Corporations, C Corporations and LLCs
Intuit’s TurboTax Business
Intuit Inc.’s popular tax preparation software is the go-to program for 46 million customers worldwide, which includes small business owners, according to the website. The software can be purchased as a CD or downloaded on your computer. If you’re a QuickBooks user, TurboTax Business will automatically import your income and expense account information from that software. You can also transfer your information from last year’s tax returns. One-on-one tech and product support is available by phone, and the program runs thousands of error checks to make sure your taxes are as accurate as possible. Many customers find TurboTax Business to be easy and cost-effective.
Price: $169.99 (Additional $54.99 for state form)
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Best for: Partnerships, S Corporations, LLCs and nonprofits
H&R Block Premium & Business
Small shops may find H&R Block’s Premium & Business tax preparation software to be the most useful for them. This simple, downloadable software aims to help you get the “maximum refund – guaranteed.” Even if you need assistance, step-by-step guidance is available. Former TurboTax users can find important information as well. You’ll also receive five free federal e-files for your personal return, as well as unlimited federal preparation and printing. Finally, this program also offers advanced Schedule C guidance to help maximize deductions for self-employment income taxes. One caveat, however, is that the 2017 version of this program is only available for computers with a Windows-based operating system.
Price: $89.99 (Includes federal and state forms. If you need to file for an additional state, it’s an additional $39.99 per state.)
Best for: Sole proprietors, contractors and freelancers
Small business owners who file an 1099 tax form may find this software to be the simplest for their needs. TaxSlayer Self-Employed is downloadable and allows you prepare, print and file your taxes electronically. It offers email, phone and live chat support, as well as access to a personal tax expert. In the event that the IRS does audit you, this program will help you resolve the matter as smoothly and quickly as possible. Online reviews show that many sole proprietors find this software easier to navigate than other available programs.
Price: $47 (Additional $29 for a state return)
Best for: All tax filers
This TaxAct version, which is also the most expensive, offers filers “ultimate peace of mind” with its Audit Defense feature that assists with tax debt relief, denied credits, fraud and correspondence with the IRS and your state on your behalf. TaxAct Premium software will also help you get deductions that you deserve and offers a complimentary personalized financial assessment report. TaxAct Premium also has a $100,000 accuracy guarantee in case you incur any errors on your return that it is responsible for. Independent contractors and self-employed filers may want to consider TaxAct Freelancer, which is $59.95, as an option.
Price: $69.95 (Additional $39.99 for state returns)
How to choose the best small business tax software
When it comes to finding the best tax preparation software, doing a thorough online search can be your best bet. Even though some companies actually pay for positive reviews, there are a number of forums featuring small business owners who have no qualms sharing the things they liked or hated about a tax preparation product.
You’ve probably noticed that all reviews for notable tax preparation products aren’t all positive. While there are comments that give detailed examples why a product like TurboTax Business or H&R Block Premium & Business are worth your time, there are those that voice frustrations with using those same programs. These frustrations may include interface errors, poor customer service availability and other filing troubles.
If you’re going to consider online reviews, the key is to read them thoroughly and pay attention to the reasons why a reviewer liked or disliked a product. If a small business with a few hundred employees tried using a software meant for a very small business or a freelancer, then there will understandably be some issues. The same could be said about an independent contractor using a product meant for large or small businesses. Don’t hesitate to contact customer service and ask which of their products they recommend for your company’s size, industry and the number of years you’ve been in business. The IRS also has information available online to guide you.
The bottom line
There is a good number of options available to help you fulfill your small business tax needs. Be sure to research tax prep software online and speak with product specialist to help you get select the best tax preparation software. Know your company’s needs so that you can make an informed decision before purchasing. This software isn’t cheap and filing your taxes can be time consuming therefore don’t waste time on software that won’t serve your needs.