It’s that time of year again: Tax Season.

While it is a time we all dread, it doesn’t have to be that way. It can and should be as simple as logging onto a website, punching in your W-2 numbers and a few of your interest forms, and getting the result.

There are a multitude of sites out there claiming to offer tax prep, but for brevity and the security of your finances, we’re going to stick with the big three: H&R Block, TaxACT and TurboTax.

H&R Block

This company is probably the most famous — mostly because they do television advertising — but they are known for quality work and “100% Accuracy and Maximum Refund – Guaranteed.” Their basic federal return is free and they offer free in-person support, but anything beyond that comes at a cost.


The less known of the three, TaxACT does offer a free Federal return, a similar guarantee, and says that their site is “FREE to prepare, FREE to print, FREE to e-file.” They also advertise free extension filings, which is a plus as we get nearer to the filing deadline.


The last of the big three is TurboTax which also offers free federal returns along with a 5% bonus on your federal return. With TurboTax, you also get free live support on the phone. Just like the others, if you have deductions, you’re going to have to pay to prepare and file.

One thing to remember is that if you have a detailed return; one that includes using itemized deductions, investments, and retirement, you’re not going to be able to file for free. Only the simplest returns get to file for free.

The deadline for filing 2013 taxes is April 15.