Best Overall Tax Software for Small Business
As yearly requirements go, making sure your business's taxes are filed as accurately as possible is one of the most important. It doesn't matter how many other things you have on your plate as a small business owner – without careful consideration, you can run afoul of federal or state regulations. Though accuracy and timeliness are paramount in dealing with small business taxes, the process doesn't need to be difficult.
With the right business tax software in hand, you can quickly and correctly file your annual taxes without much issue. After examining multiple solutions to do just that, we recommend Intuit TurboTax as the best online tax filing option available.
To understand how we chose TurboTax, you can find our methodology and a list of software vendors on our best picks page.
Over the years, TurboTax has remained a top name in the tax software sector for several reasons. Intuit's offering boasts robust features for small businesses and promises to help users accurately file with the IRS each year. The software's online interface is simple to use, so you can easily file your taxes without having a degree in finance or reading the federal tax code's thousands of pages. All you need is a computer or mobile device.
Intuit's software also gives its users peace of mind by maintaining a database of more than 350 deductions and credits. The program seeks out any relevant deductions and credits to help you get the largest tax return possible. Once the forms are complete, TurboTax runs an accuracy check before sending them off to the IRS. An error or omission can make things especially difficult for businesses, so the ability to double-check your filing is a major feature you need from your software.
Interface and Usability
During our research, we found TurboTax's interface easy to understand. Each prompt throughout the process is easy to read, and the information displayed doesn't make you decipher complicated tax jargon or legalese. You answer a series of interview-like questions, and the software automatically puts your answers into the relevant tax document. If you've used the software before, your previous years' returns are automatically transferred to the new return.
As you go through the program's easy-to-follow process, you will complete five tabs: My Info, Federal, State, Review, and File. As you fill out each section, TurboTax recalculates how big of a refund will come from the federal or state government.
At the end of the tax filing process, TurboTax lets you review both your state and federal returns before e-filing them with their respective tax agencies. The software generates both returns based on the information you provided.
While Intuit offers four tiers for TurboTax, small business owners should really only look at the TurboTax Self-Employed package. This tier of TurboTax goes beyond basic tax needs, from managing retail assets to helping you calculate asset depreciation. The Self-Employed version includes all of these features and more:
- Filing forms: In addition to filing forms for every kind of incorporated business, TurboTax allows you to create unlimited W-2, 1099-MISC, 1099-INT, and 1099-DIV forms for your employees, contractors, and other business associates. TurboTax also includes a K-1 form for estates and trusts.
- E-filing: Your returns can be sent directly to the IRS at the end of preparation through a secure, encrypted channel. You can track your return and receive confirmation when it is delivered.
- Rental assets: TurboTax Business includes a guided real estate and rental component that tallies income and expenses related to any rental properties you may own.
- Direct deposit: You won't have to wait for a check by mail if you don't want to. TurboTax supports direct deposit of your refund into your bank account.
- Asset depreciation: This feature tracks the depreciation of your large purchases year over year. Moreover, TurboTax helps you determine a specific tax strategy for them.
- W-2 snapshot: Take a photo of last year's W-2 if your income hasn't changed and upload it to TurboTax; the software will do the rest. The snapshot saves you the tedious task of filling out all those fields manually.
- Cryptocurrency transaction support: It wasn't too long ago that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin were breaking records on the open market. While those days are mostly gone, that doesn't mean the government won't tax cryptocurrency. This year marks the first time TurboTax has helped users report any gains or losses from the cryptocurrency gamble.
- Support for startups: This year's edition of TurboTax gives new entrepreneurs tax assistance by helping you find deductions related to new and small businesses.
Like many other programs, TurboTax guarantees its software will be 100% accurate. With so much riding on the accuracy of your personal or business tax forms, it's important that everything comes out right. TurboTax runs an accuracy check on every return; anything irregular generates an alert.
If your TurboTax filing is inaccurate, Intuit will pay any IRS or state penalties you incur, according to its "100% accurate calculations guarantee." You can see other accuracy guarantees and assurances on the company's website.
The support we received in all our interactions with TurboTax customer service was excellent. Posing as a small business owner, we asked a series of tax and software questions that the customer representatives answered quickly and clearly. Representatives were informative and attentive to our needs. We came away with a better understanding of the product and felt that their responses were tailored to the specific needs we explained for our fictional business.
TurboTax offers phone support, though the hours of operation vary by location. Other support options, including email and a forum community of experts, are available. You can also find tutorial videos and FAQs, which explain common issues, on the company's website.
While TurboTax is our top pick for small businesses, some issues cropped up during our evaluation – the biggest being the pricing. While the TurboTax Self-Employed tier is the best fit for small businesses and entrepreneurs, it's also among the most expensive options at $120 (though at the time of this review's publication, it was on sale for $90). State taxes are not included in that price, with each state filing carrying a $40 price tag.
Ready to choose your online tax software application? Here's a breakdown of the rest of our coverage:
- Choosing Online Tax Software for Business: A Buyer's Guide
- Best Online Tax Software for Business 2020
- Best Online Tax Software for Enterprises: ONESOURCE
- Best Tax Software for Self-Employed Filers: H&R Block
- Best Free Online Tax Software: TaxAct
- Best Online Tax Software for Tax Professionals: Drake Tax