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Personal Income Tax Programs

Filing state and federal income tax is either a simple or complicated process, depending on your income and deductions. Many software applications and suites have been developed to assist American taxpayers in preparing their tax returns. For simple returns, there are many free services and programs available. For more complex returns, the cost of tax preparation software varies depending on the specific program and the needs of the tax preparer.


TurboTax is one of the most well-known and widely used personal income tax preparation applications online. TurboTax is free to use if you file a 1040EZ or a simple return. The rates for other types of returns vary, depending on your number of deductions or investments, or on your status as a limited liability corporation or other incorporated business. All service packages from TurboTax include a free efile with the IRS but are only applicable to federal income taxes. TurboTax charges an additional amount to file state income tax. This fee, like the one applied to federal returns, varies depending on the complexity of your filing.

TaxACT Online and TaxACT Online Deluxe

TaxACT Online will file a free federal tax return and provides free efile and IRS forms. Tax forms prepared with TaxACt Online can be downloaded and printed for archiving purposes. The free edition of TaxACT also offers free audit support and email correspondence, if needed, and guarantees that taxpayers will receive the maximum refund allowed by tax laws. TaxACT will also file state income tax returns for an additional fee. Taxpayers who need to claim non-cash donations or utilize additional calculators and reports will find additional support from TaxACT Online Deluxe, which is available for a fee. The paid version of TaxACT also supplements email support with phone support and offers state income tax filing at a reduced rate. TaxACT also offers FAFSA worksheets.

Free Tax Software

The IRS lists a number of other electronic filing services on its website. In 2010, 19 software companies worked in conjunction with the IRS to offer their services for free or at low cost to most Americans. In order to use these services, taxpayers must begin at the IRS Free File page. The same services are not available for free if you visit the companies' websites directly.

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