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Best Tax Software for Business 2017

Best Tax Software for Business 2017
Credit: Melpomene/Shutterstock

When it comes to your taxes, you don't want to mess around. Nobody likes leaving money on the table, so you need to be sure your business will get all the credits and deductions it deserves. Moreover, you don't want incomplete tax forms or inaccurate information resulting in penalties or attracting an audit, so it's important to choose software that's going to do the job and do it well. To help you choose the right product, Business News Daily reviewed the industry leaders and selected the best online tax software for business. Here's a roundup of our top choices and an explanation of how we chose them.

TurboTax
BUY
Read Review
  • Pricing
    $149.99 for TurboTax Business. Additional $50 for state returns.
  • Ease of Use
    TurboTax is incredibly easy to learn and use, with a guided process to filing your taxes.
  • Features
    A wide-array of features give you immense control over your tax filing process and helps to simplify tax season.
H&R Block
BUY
Read Review
  • Pricing
    $89.95 for H&R Block Premier & Business. State returns cost an additional $29.99
  • Ease of Use
    H&R Block is easy to use and comes with on-location assistance from professionals.
  • Features
    H&R Block offers comprehensive features for both corporate and personal income taxes.
ONESOURCE
BUY
Read Review
  • Pricing
    Request a Quote
  • Features
    ONESOURCE was one of the most powerful software suites we reviewed; designed for complex corporate taxes, it is best suited for mid-sized to multinational corporations.
  • International
    ONESOURCE contains a rules enginge that covers more than 180 countries.

Already prepared to choose an online tax software? Here's a breakdown of the rest of our coverage:

Intuit's TurboTax is our choice for best overall tax software for business in 2016 because of its comprehensive and powerful features. While the cost is somewhat higher than its nearest competitors, you definitely get what you pay for. TurboTax runs a double-accuracy check through your forms and identifies hundreds of deductions and credits that you might qualify for. TurboTax is slightly more expensive than comparable software, but it makes up for it with quality service and robust features. The business package, for example, includes a unique feature called "W-2 Snapshot," which allows the user to upload a photo of a previously completed W-2 for the software to parse and extract information to fill out new forms. If you own several businesses, TurboTax includes a multi-company capability, so you can keep track of all of your financials in one place. Moreover, the software is available for download or online use, and is compatible with mobile devices as well so you can check in on the go. And should you be hit with an audit, TurboTax offers specialized audit support to make the process less painful.

Read our full review here.

Thomson Reuters' tax solution, ONESOURCE, is designed specifically for corporations, from the mid-sized to the multinational. It is our choice for best corporate income tax software in 2016 because it is able to easily navigate the most complex regulations, even for global businesses.  It maintains a rules database covering all U.S. and Canadian compliance regulations, as well as 180 additional countries.  In addition, the software runs entirely online, supports a wide array of filing forms and files in every state, boasts robust reporting options, and automates the most arduous and time-consuming aspects of tax season. Moreover, it is highly accurate. The one caveat is that mom-and-pop operations or even smaller startups probably won't need this level of support; it might be overkill for smaller operations. But midsized companies and beyond will find ONESOURCE a highly reliable, accurate and powerful tax software.

Read our full review here.

H&R Block provides some of the simplest, most effective tax software we've come across. It returns accurate forms, easily corrects human errors and effectively automates the most complicated parts of the tax-filing process. We chose it as our best pick for online tax software for pass-through entities, like LLCs, because along with the exceptional software comes H&R Block's tax professionals, which are available in thousands of locations across the U.S if you need further assistance. However, the software itself is so simple it's unlikely you'll need to seek outside assistance except in extraordinary circumstances. H&R Block's pricing is about the average for the level of service the company offers. For an additional fee, H&R Block offers more helpful services, like audit assistance and even representation before the IRS, if necessary. And overall, our customer service experience was top-notch.

Read our full review here.

To choose the best online tax software for businesses, we created a list of nearly 40 reputable tax software companies. Our selection was based on previous reviews, including this one from our sister site Top Ten Reviews, as well as customer feedback and Better Business Bureau ratings. From there, we eliminated vendors that catered primarily to individuals or who targeted tax professionals' firms, rather than business owners.

After narrowing our initial list, we examined the features of each service and the needs of the average small business owner. We also took part in free trials when available. Finally, we were left with a pool of 10 final candidates to consider for our best picks:

To select the final candidates, one for each category of Best Overall, Best Corporate Income Tax and Best Personal Income Tax, we analyzed the following: 1040.com, FreeTax USA, eSmartTax, H&R Block*, Intuit TurboTax*, Liberty Tax, Jackson Hewitt, TaxAct, Tax Slayer, Thomson-Reuters ONESOURCE*.

  • Pricing: Obviously, price is an object. While it wasn’t the sole factor in our search, price was considered alongside the other aspects of the software. If the price was higher than other comparable companies, we looked to see if the software made up for the difference by offering something unique or particularly powerful.
  • Ease of Use: How easy to use are these programs? If a particular software was confusing, clunky, or aesthetically displeasing, it rated lower on ease of use. Business owners have a lot on their plate and don't need complicated software making their jobs longer and harder.
  • Disbursement Options: How can you get paid using these programs? Many taxpayers are likely to be entitled to a tax return after filing, so how can you collect it using this software? Does it include direct deposit, paid debit cards or virtual accounts? Can you only receive a check by mail? Disbursement flexibility factored into our final decision.
  • Filing Options: How robust are the filing options with this service? Which forms are included and are state returns free or an additional cost? Are essential forms only available at higher pricing tiers? Those services with more access to more tax forms and deductions/credits scored higher here.
  • Online/Software/Mobile: How can you use the software? Is it online, a downloadable software, or mobile friendly? How about all three. The more platforms this software could be used on, the better.
  • Tax Preparers: Does this software come with access to human tax experts? Can you consult with them if you run into trouble? This feature was a must-have for top picks.
  • Technical Support: How accessible and effective is the tech support? Companies scored high for highly accessible support that addressed questions sufficiently and in a timely manner.
  • Customer Service: Finally, we posed as a potential customer and called the customer service departments of each finalist. Our qualitative experiences were included along with the other factors in making our decision.

Here is a full list of online tax software and a summary of what each company claims to offer. This alphabetical list also includes our best picks.

1040.com — 1040.com offers DIY tax filing with an interview-style filing procedure and free updates from prior filings. This software offers accuracy checks, e-filing with direct deposit for fast refunds, auto-complete state returns and encrypted data security. Additionally, 1040.com allows users to pay the balance with the refund, for an additional fee. https://www.1040.com/

Avalara Avalara provides cloud-based tax services for all types of businesses large and small. Avalara's services include a real-time, advanced rate tax calculator, automatic returns filing, full multiple-entity support for every location and department across your organization as well as product taxability and address validation. For an additional charge, customers can also access global calculation for international compliance, consumer use tax and landed cost calculations and automated returns filing. Avalara also offers integration with your POS, CRM, CMS software and shopping carts. https://www.avalara.com/

BNA Corporate Tax Analyzer — BNA Corporate Tax Analyzer automates and manages complex federal taxes. This corporate income tax management software provides a depreciation calculator, a multifunctional engine to calculate and track carryovers and carry-backs for complex tax attributes, and comprehensive, multiyear analysis for planning and decision-making. This solution includes tax and financial documentation to meet financial requirements, such as 10K, FAS 109 and FIN 48 and the ability to accelerate or fast-track the IRS audit process with optimal results, compliance documentation assurance. https://www.bna.com/bna-corporate-tax-p17179917942/

Ceridian Ceridian offers assistance with payroll tax filings. Ceridian payroll- tax-filing services provide access to annual changes in regulatory and tax laws. The service also improves compliance with access to current payroll and tax rules and understanding of those changes to mitigate any risks. Ceridian facilitates correct and on-time payroll tax filing and customizes a business strategy with available add-ons and related payroll tax services. http://www.ceridian.com/products/payroll-tax-filing/index.html

Community Tax Community Tax provides full service tax assistance as well as their specialty of debt relief. Clients receive a dedicated tax preparer with an IRS power of attorney. The company uses IRS tax records to ensure no income or expenses are missed and members of the Community Tax review team analyze the returns to ensure quality. All returns include an audit guarantee. http://www.communitytax.com/

Free Tax USA — Free Tax USA offers federal filing services at no cost. This free service includes all federal filings from simple to advanced returns and everything in between. Free Tax USA processes all major tax situations: joint filing, dependents, home ownership, itemized deductions, self-employment and more. State returns are included for a small fee. The service also offers a deluxe option, at an additional charge, with audit assist, phone support and amended returns. https://www.freetaxusa.com/

eFile eFile's tax service offers a FILucator to determine if filing is necessary and a tax calculator to ascertain if and how much of a refund may be available. eFile offers three tiers of service: from a basic return for free to the deluxe service processing returns with dependents, mortgages and retirement. The third tier includes self-employed taxpayers, itemized deductions and all other forms and schedules. http://www.efile.com/

eSmart — eSmart is an extension of Liberty Tax Services. This tax service provides a credit maximizer, electronic W-2 import, and live customer support online, on the phone and in person. eSmart imports previous taxes to simplify filing and offers professional audit assistance. With eSmart, taxpayers choose from four tax-filing solutions, ranging from free, basic (for families), deluxe (for investors) and premium (for business owners). https://www.esmarttax.com/

Express Tax Refund Express Tax Refund offers free customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An IRS-authorized e-file provider, Express Tax Refund uses the most current security to ensure client privacy. http://www.expresstaxrefund.com/

Free 1040 Tax Return — Free 1040 Tax Return offers online tax-filing service with expert customer support and systems designed with your security and privacy in mind. E-filing makes filing returns quick and safe and receiving your refund via direct deposit fast and simple. http://free104s0taxreturn.com/

H&R Block — H&R Block provides clients with three different options for tax filing — in an office with a Tax Pro, online e-filing or at home with one of four tax preparation software products. With accuracy checks, easy document imports, data security and maximum refund guarantees, H&R Block offers options for all taxpayers. https://www.hrblock.com/

Intuit TurboTax Intuit TurboTax offers clients tax preparation software with a maximum refund guarantee, a comprehensive review of completed returns and accurate calculations. With four products available, Intuit TurboTax services include data imports from other software and step-by-step help. Upgraded options included a state return, help finding deductions and valuing donations, and even creating W-2s and 1099s for employees. https://turbotax.intuit.com

Jackson Hewitt — Jackson Hewitt provides clients in-office or online filing for qualifying returns. Jackson Hewitt offers a maximum refund and accuracy guarantee. https://www.jacksonhewitt.com/

Liberty Tax — Liberty Tax offers personal and business tax preparation and the opportunity for online filing. This company guarantees maximum refunds, accurate calculations and free double check of returns from other providers. Liberty Tax provides year-round support and correspondence and audit assistance. https://www.libertytax.com

ONESOURCE The ONESOURCE platform offers, user-friendly corporate tax software designed to save time, reduce errors and ensure consistency. ONESOURCE simplifies compliance issues. The software provides global supply chain and data management, and analytics. https://tax.thomsonreuters.com/products/brands/onesource

Online Tax Pros Online Tax Pros provides two levels of tax services: standard and deluxe. The tax company provides free e-filing of federal taxes and customer support. For a small fee, clients can also file state returns and have returns reviewed by a tax professional. https://onlinetaxpros.com/

Power Tax Power Tax ensures accurate tax service by keeping employees trained in the latest tax law, along with IRS training. This agency offers quick and accurate returns and refunds. From a courtesy review of the previous year's return to a computer-generated analyzation of the final return, Power Tax's Service Professionals strive to find all the applicable deductions for your return. http://www.powertaxservice.com/

ProtaxLink — ProtaxLink offers IRS compliance training and updating along with ensuring tax preparers are efficiently trained for tax season. ProtaxLink brings tax software for Tax Professionals. http://www.protaxlink.com/

Quicken — Quicken offers several different software options to plan a budget, and simplify, minimize and organize taxes and deductions.  https://www.quicken.com/

Real Asset Management — Real Asset Management supplies fixed asset management software. The Series4000 product range includes modules for fixed asset accounting, asset tracking, lease accounting and maintenance management. http://www.realassetmgt.com/

Sigma Tax Pro Sigma Tax Pro serves tax professionals, providing professional tax software including technical and tax prep support. With three options of software, Sigma Tax Pro covers services ranging from easy-to-use forms-based inputting, support for all federal and state forms, file conversion, coverage for all filing statuses, prediction mode and instant, real-time calculations. https://sigmataxpro.com

TaxAct — TaxAct offers step-by-step, online tax preparation with three pricing options. Data import options, free customer service and audit risk reduction are a few of the features offered. https://www.taxact.com/

TaxAudit TaxAudit provides audit defense through TurboTax. In the event of an audit on a covered return, Audit Defense allows TaxAudit professionals to handle all aspects of the process for clients. Representatives are highly trained, experienced specialists who, with the audit defense service, communicate with the IRS. https://www.taxaudit.com

TaxExact — TaxExact software is professional tax software for tax professionals. The cloud-based software offers data security, unlimited access and no networking required. http://taxexact.us/

TaxMaster TaxMaster from Revenue Solutions Inc. is a tool that supports all processes of the field audit. The software features data gathering, an employer data reviews, audit decisions and computations recording and more. http://www.revenuesolutionsinc.com/taxmaster/

TaxSlayer — TaxSlayer online tax preparation software provides e-file capabilities from multiple platforms ― laptop, tablet and smartphone. Professional representatives are on standby to help with questions and to check returns to ensure accuracy and quick processing. https://www.taxslayer.com

Ultimate Tax — Ultimate Tax provides professional tax software for novice and seasoned tax preparers. All plans include launch pad, daily service availability and context-sensitive help. Interview mode is also an included option. http://www.ultimatetax.com/

Ultra Tax From Thomson Reuters comes Ultra Tax, professional tax software for tax preparers. Timesaving tools, multiple monitor flexibility, a checklist for instant preparation, data sharing between returns and efficient asset entry simply the tax preparation process. https://tax.thomsonreuters.com/cs-professional-suite/ultratax-cs/

uTax uTax employs the front line of today's technology in tax software. With a built-in document manager, multi-office and multiplatform capabilities. From in-office, multi-office and mobile application, uTax brings cutting-edge solutions to tax preparation. https://www.utaxsoftware.com/

Vertex SMB Vertex SMB offers income tax solutions to businesses. Automating and streamlining tax management across the tax lifecycle helps simplify income tax management on a global scale. For tax planning, Vertex Tax Accounting uses breakthrough technology increasing accuracy and efficiency in a secure manner. Vertex Tax Performance Engine collects detailed combinations of data with an advanced data management technology. http://www.vertexinc.com/solutions/income-tax-solutions

Adam C. Uzialko

Adam received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. He worked for a local newspaper and freelanced for several publications after graduating college. He can be reached by email, or follow him on Twitter.