Tax Fees Compared: How Will You File?

Tax season is upon us and before you know it you will have to file your 2015 tax return. You should compare tax fees to figure out how you want to file — will you use a tax professional or file on your own?

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Thanks to technology and free software available to help you file online, the filing has become easier than ever. You can save time, money, and help the environment by filing a tax return online. See the comparison below of 2016 tax fees so that you have a clear understanding on how much each preparer charges.

Tax fees

Think about the type of return you need to file. Your financial situation will determine which type of return you should file. Here is a breakdown on what the different filing type typically entails. Keep in mind it will vary by company.

  • Free – Designed for students or people with a simple return.
  • Basic – This is for people with a simple return and wants basic support. This option usually allows for simple access to previous tax returns in the years to come.
  • Deluxe – A person that owns a home, has charitable donations, and other more complicated things to deduct should look into this service.
  • Premier – Anyone that has sold bonds, stocks, or mutual funds is going to want to file a premier tax return. This also applies to people that own rental property, or that sold employee stocks.
  • Home and business – Sole proprietors and small business owners are going to want to file through this option. It is also ideal for someone that has small office deductions.

Now that you understand what each type means, take a look at these tax fee comparisons.

Tax PreparerFederal FeesState FeeTotal Cost
Turbo TaxFree-$0, Basic-$19.99, Deluxe-$34.99, Premier-$54.99, Home & Business-$79.99$36.99Free-$36.99, Basic-$56.98, Deluxe-$66.98, Premier-$86.98, Home & Business-$111.98
H&R BlockFree-$0, Basic-$19.99, Deluxe-$29.99, Premium-$49.99$27.99Free-$27.99, Basic-$47.98, Deluxe-$57.98, Premium-$77.98
TaxACTFree-$0, Deluxe Federal-$12.99, Ultimate Bundle-$17.99, Home & Business Bundle $59.99Free-$14.99, Deluxe-$8 (if filed separate to federal tax return)Free-$14.99, Deluxe-$17.99 (when both state and federal are filed together), Ultimate Bundle-$17.99 (Ultimate Bundle includes state return), Home & Business Bundle $59.99 (Home & Business Bundle includes state return)
eSmart (by Liberty Tax)Free-$0, Deluxe-$9.95, Premium-$29.95$9.95Free-$9.95, Deluxe-$19.9, Premium-$39.9
Jackson Hewitt OnlineBasic-$0, Deluxe-$26.95, Premium-$44.95$29.95Basic-$29.95, Deluxe-$56.9, Premium-$74.89
FreeTaxUSAFree-$0, Deluxe-$5.95$12.95Free-$12.95, Deluxe-$18.9

What about personal tax preparers?

If you do not feel comfortable filing online, you may want to look into personal assistance. Take note that personal tax preparers charge their own rate to file your tax return. The National Society of Accountants calculated the average fee charged in 2013 to file tax returns was $246. How much you are charged depends on where you file, the type of return you file, and ultimately the rate you are charged by your tax preparer.

If you or someone you know is struggling to pay for this fee, do not worry, there is a help. The AARP Foundation offers free in-person tax preparation for low to moderate income taxpayers. The service is especially in favor of helping taxpayers age 60 or older. View AARP Foundation to find a location in your area.

Check before you file

Before you file taxes either online or through a person, check the credibility of who is filing your return. Ensure you do not file somewhere that does not have a good reputation as being known as a reliable place to file a tax return.

For instance, last year’s big mistake by H&R Block resulted in about 660,000 people from receiving their tax return on time. Doing the proper research before choosing a tax professional is crucial before filing.

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Gerald Morales

Gerald is a staff writer at He is an expert in real estate, mortgages and credit.

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