If you've been rooting around the Mac App Store for an app that'll help you prepare and file your tax return, you've likely come up empty-handed — there aren't any on Apple's Mac app store.
That said, you don't actually need an app: There are plenty of great web-based services to help you get your taxes done on time and, hopefully, audit-free.
Note: We will note that arguably, you shouldn't need specialized tax software or companies to prepare your taxes — the U.S. government has entertained several proposals throughout the years to simplify its tax code, but lobbyists from the top tax prep companies have spent millions of dollars to squash those plans to save their own bottom line. This isn't necessarily an argument against using these services — many of iMore's U.S. writers still use them. But it's worth being informed.
TurboTax Online Edition
TurboTax is often the top name you might recognize when it comes to self-filing, largely because Intuit's online software is simple and quick to use. TurboTax breaks down the whole process to make filling straightforward and simple, and it makes sure you're giving the IRS all the necessary information and in turn maximizing your return.
You can file your federal taxes for free and file state taxes for free if you're filling a 1040EZ or 1040A. If you're someone who makes under $100,000 and you don't own a home, this is the way you will file. Otherwise, it costs about $30 per state to file with TurboTax. If you need more help, this site also offers Deluxe, Premier, Self-Employed, and TurboTax Live versions for higher price points.
TaxAct is another online service in the same vein as TurboTax. It's a simple, step-by-step guide that will walk you through all the necessary questions and paperwork to make sure you get the most out of your return. These kinds of filling sites are quick and easy to follow, not to mention quite a bit cheaper then TurboTax.
You have three options for filing: Free, Basic+ for $15, Deluxe+ for $50, Premier+ for $60, and Self Employed+ for $80 as well as an additional $20-$40 for each state. You'll get free phone support with each package, so if you prepare your return and get stuck, you can call up a TaxAct rep to guide you through the process. TaxAct also has a "Price Lock" guarantee, so you'll pay the price listed at the time you create your return, even if you decide to file months later.
Like TurboTax, H&R Block's online filing service breaks everything down from the very start. When you arrive on the site, you'll be able to choose the options that best describe your situation to get the preparation process that fits you the best without frivolous details or questions in the mix. You can file online and even have a tax professional take a look at your return beforehand to make sure everything's in order and you've maximized your return.
You can choose their Free version, Deluxe version for $33, Premium for $46, or the Self-Employed version for $68, based on which one best fits your lifestyle. Free is great for the simplest tax returns, and going up to Premium is for rental property owners or contractors. All of these options are started for free and paid out by the end of the return, whether it's out of pocket or out of the return.
Credit Karma is heard every where, be it TV or radio, but not typically for taxes. The company doesn't just offer a free way for you to check your credit score, you can also prepare and file your tax return on its website. Currently you can file both your federal and state taxes for free — with no hidden fees — though Credit Karma offers significantly more complicated step-by-step instructions than a service like TurboTax.
Even though it's not as simple as H&R Block or TurboTax, going more in-depth with your refund isn't necessarily a bad thing. Credit Karma guarantees to get you the most out of your refund, and it's easy to see that with all the information they get out of your paperwork. If you're not sure Credit Karma is right for you, you can even make sure that it supports all the forms that are relevant to your tax return.
TaxSlayer offers several tax packages designed to help you prepare and file your federal and state tax returns and get the tax deductions to which you are entitled. Each version of TaxSlayer, Classic, Premium, Military, SimplyFree, and Self-Employed, let you prepare, print, and e-file your taxes, offer an accuracy guarantee, and let you upload last year's tax return.
Except for the SimplyFree version, TaxSlayer also focuses on getting you your deductions. For $17, TaxSlayer Classic also offers support for every type of tax form and IRS inquired assistance. The $37 Premium package offers IRS audit assistance, support from tax professional and priority support. The TaxSlayer Military offers the features of Classic for free to members of the military. All of TaxSlayer's plan pricing is for your federal return, while adding your state return will cost an additional $29 on top of the rest of these plans.
IRS Free File
If you don't trust online tax prep services or you just want to go straight to Uncle Sam, check out the IRS's Free File service. It's free-to-download software that helps you prepare and e-file your return, and it's available Free in two versions: one for people with an income of less than $66,000/year and the other for those with an income greater than $66,000.
The IRS service is very DIY so make sure you know a bit about self-filing your taxes. If you make under $66,000, you have software to file both federal and state taxes for free. However, if you make more than $66,000, you'll have to print the forms for federal taxes and manually mail them in since there's no software option. The IRS does not have state forms for you to mail in, so use Free File's lookup tool to find out where you can get them, or it can help you find free federal and state filing options if you're not interested in filling out the form directly.
What to know if you owe
Hopefully you'll be receiving a big refund from your completed taxes but for those of you who end up owing the IRS, there are several payment methods available. Most people will pay their tax liability by direct withdrawal from their bank account or with a physical check. You also have the option to pay using a credit or debit card but you'll have to go through a 3rd party service and pay fees upwards of 1.99% on credit cards and a flat fee of up to $4 on debit cards. Except for a few fringe cases, those added fees basically wipe out any points or miles benefits when paying with a credit card. If you're unsure which payment method to use, we'd recommend reaching out to a tax professional for assistance.
How do you file on your Mac?
Do you file your own taxes using your Mac? Which service do you use? Tell us in the comments below and let us know why you like it.
Updated April 2019: Added TaxSlayer and updated pricing for the 2019 tax season.
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