Best Online Tax Filing Options For 2022
Sarah Li Cain4-minute read
January 19, 2021
There are plenty of options to help you file your taxes efficiently, many of which are budget-friendly and don’t require you to leave your home or speak with an accountant. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best online tax filing options available for 2022.
Preparing To File Your Taxes: Important Details
Whether it’s your first or fifth time filing your taxes, you’ll need to know the following details to file taxes online.
When The 2022 Tax Season Is
In general, January 15 – February 15 signals the start of the 2022 tax season for the 2021 tax year. This means you can begin to submit your paper and electronic tax returns during this date range. Check in the Internal Revenue Service’s website to determine the exact date. You’ll need to file income taxes once a year; for the 2021 tax year, these are due April 15, 2022.
Keep in mind that you may be paying taxes throughout the year depending on your situation.
What You Owe In Taxes In 2022
What you’ll end up owing in taxes in 2022 will depend on factors such as your living situation and type of employment.
Some of the most common taxes you’ll need to pay include:
- Federal income tax: Federal income tax refers to the tax you pay on your income, wages and earnings. If you work a traditional job for an employer, this tax will come out of your paycheck. However, if you’re self-employed, you’ll need to take care of this tax on your own. You may do so via estimated quarterly payments or a different method depending on your business tax structure.
- State and local income tax: Depending on your location, many states and municipalities charge an income tax much like federal taxes. States that don’t charge any state income tax include Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. New Hampshire doesn’t tax its residents’ earned wages.
- FICA and payroll tax: Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and payroll tax are removed from your paycheck by your employer for those who have a full-time job. You’ll have to pay for these yourself if you’re self-employed – they’re usually done quarterly.
- Self-employment tax: If you work for yourself, you’ll be on the hook for self-employment tax, which is 12.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare. These percentages are for both the employer and employee (yes, you’re both in the eyes of the IRS).
- Property tax: Own property? If so, you’ll need to pay property taxes which will depend on its value and location.
The final amount of taxes you pay may be different depending on whether you’re eligible for tax allowances and deductions. For instance, those who haven’t received the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit or took advantage of the advance Child Tax Credit payments may be able to claim these to lessen their tax liability, according to the IRS.
Your Tax Filing Options
You typically have three options when it comes to filing your taxes: doing it yourself manually, doing it yourself with the help of tax filing software, or hiring an accountant.
Doing it manually may be fine if you’re used to going that route, but using tax preparation software can help ease the burden. Besides, there are plenty of free options, and it can save you time from doing calculations manually. Some even store your tax return from the previous year and import relevant information to the next, saving you even more time.
Hiring a tax professional can be a smart move if you have an extremely complicated tax situation, or run a business with employees. Of course, this is the most expensive option, but it might be worth it if you want to ensure your taxes are done correctly.
Best Online Tax Filing Options Of 2022
Now that you know what to look for, here are some of the best online tax filing options for the 2022 tax season.
TurboTax offers an incredibly intuitive interface and a number of tools that make it easy to calculate your numbers with accuracy. Also, TurboTax saves your information from previous years and allows you to import data from QuickBooks. In addition, it gives you the ability to capture your W-2 and other tax forms with your phone’s camera.
It also offers tiers for almost all types of situations, including those who are self-employed and those who have more complex personal tax situations. There’s also a free tier if you’re a full-time employee and don’t itemize your deductions.
TaxSlayer’s interface is well-designed, as it allows you to skip around to various sections and keep track of your progress. You can also use the self-employed area to determine if you’ve forgotten to deduct any expenses and to help you find tax breaks specific to your industry. Additionally, you’ll get free tech and phone support. If you have a basic tax situation, you can use the free version as long as you create an account.
It’s also one of the most budget-friendly options – the price doesn’t go up based on the forms you file, unlike other competitors. Instead, you pay more for the level of professional support you need.
With H&R Block’s tax filing software, you get similar services and products like TurboTax, but generally at a lower price point. It also has tiers based on the tax forms you need, plus one for those who are self-employed.
Like many other competitors, you’ll know exactly how much you owe and receive real-time insight into your refund or tax balance as you go through the filing process.
Taxpayers can also opt for the Tax Pro Review as part of H&R Block’s hybrid service. You’ll be able to fill out your own tax returns but have a tax professional look at it before you officially send it off to the IRS.
Credit Karma Tax
The Credit Karma tax software is a free way to file your federal and state income taxes. You can file your taxes in one of two ways: interview-style filing or self-guided filing.
With the interview approach, you’ll answer easy questions such as whether you contributed to retirement in the past year and how many dependents you have. The self-guided method allows you to navigate to the sections that you need to fill out. You’ll find labels and tutorials on everything, as the software was created to eliminate any confusion.
However, if you have a more complex tax situation or are self-employed, Credit Karma Tax probably isn’t your best choice.
TaxAct has a user-friendly website in which you can quickly choose any of their tax filing options based on what you need. If you're an active-duty military member, you'll get free federal and state tax filing through their TaxAct military landing page.
What we also like about TaxAct is that it's straightforward to use and there aren't any complicated bells and whistles. Plus, it’s much more budget-friendly compared to bigger companies like TurboTax, and there’s even a free tier (though you’ll need to pay to file state taxes).
However, if you want extras such as having a tax professional review your return before you file, you'll need to choose one of the others on our list.
E-File is a great fit for those who have simple tax returns and don't need a lot of hand holding. The company claims that most users will be able to file their taxes electronically within 15 minutes or less. You’ll get assistance within their sidebar as you’re submitting your information, though you’ll need to pay an additional fee for phone or email assistance.
Plus, their fees are less costly compared to many of their competitors. If you poke around their website or review sites, you should be able to find discounts and promotions throughout the year, helping you save even more.
Jackson Hewitt, like H&R Block, offers both online and hybrid tax filing services. You can completely DIY using their tax filing software, or enlist the help of tax professionals virtually (though it comes at a higher price tier).
One of their main perks is that you can file unlimited state taxes without paying more fees. Also, their customer service is one of the best – with many contact options such as phone, live chat, and more. Most, if not all, of their tiers also include IRS audit assistance, on the off chance that the IRS decides to take a closer look at your tax filing.
Free Online Tax Filing: What Are Your Options?
All of the above options on our list of the best online tax filing software have a free tier you can use to file your taxes. However, these versions may be more limited because it’ll only offer certain types of tax forms for you to use. Keep in mind that you may only be able to file for free for federal taxes only. If you’re required to file state or local taxes, you may have to pay an additional fee to do so.
If you have a simple tax return to file – such as being a full-time W-2 employee and opting for the standardized deduction – then free online tax filing will probably be fine for you. However, if you want to itemize your deductions or have other sources of income like self-employment or real estate income, then you may have to choose one of the paid tiers. It’s best to contact a tax professional if you have questions on how to best file your taxes.
The Bottom Line
Before you choose a tax-filing software option, explore all of the options available to you. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision for your unique situation.
Don’t forget, to help make the tax filing season a breeze, update any necessary information, such as changing your tax withholding before the 2022 tax season begins.
Best of luck and happy filing!
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