You may be on the hunt for the best tax software for early filers, especially if you know you’re getting a tax refund. Three out of four Americans receive an annual tax refund from the IRS and with the average refund worth around $2,300, it makes sense to want to get your taxes done as early as possible.
And we know historically that a lot of tax filers try to take their last paystub and look at filing their tax return in late December or Early January.
However, there are benefits and drawbacks to starting and filing your taxes early. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of filing taxes early and our picks for the best five tax software choices for early filers in 2023.
Americans can legally start mailing their tax returns on Jan. 1, 2023, and e-filing officially opens later in January. Our estimate is that the IRS will being to accept e-File on January 23, 2023.
Despite the delay in e-filing, people hoping to get a jump on filing can start preparing their returns by late December using their chosen tax software.
However, most people shouldn’t start working on their taxes in December or even January. Even if you really need that refund, here are reasons to hold off on doing your taxes until February or later.
In most situations, we suggest holding off until February to do your taxes, but you can sign up and enter your personal information today.
If you get a jump on choosing your software, you may be able to lock in a deal with a lower price before they increase closer to tax day.
Note: Another option for early filing is a tax refund anticipation loan or tax advance loan. You can see our full guide to tax refund anticipation loans here.
While filing too early is problematic, filing as early as reasonably possible makes sense in most situations. That means you’ll need to determine when your tax information will arrive to make the best decision.
Get your refund faster: Many people will receive windfall amounts this year. This refund can be especially welcome after a year of underemployment or limited income.
Identify expected tax forms: When you start filing early, you can figure out whether you’re missing forms. Tracking these down is much easier when you have plenty of time and a good list of what you need.
Reduce identity theft risk: Someone else may file a fake tax return to claim a fraudulent refund using your Social Security number, but they can’t once you’ve filed your tax return. Early filing is a small added protection against identity theft.
Estimate what you owe: If you’re self-employed, run a side hustle, or bring in any other income outside of work, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise when you find you owe money this year. Filing earlier gives you more time to put the money together to make a payment.
Avoid the stress of last-minute filing: It’s stressful to line up at the post office or struggle against the deadline on your computer on the tax due date. When you do your taxes early, you’ll have plenty of time to finish them and even take a second review to ensure they’re error-free.
Getting a jump on collecting and entering that information can help you file as early as possible. Savvy tax filers keep a paper folder at home and a digital folder on their computer or cloud drive to gather their information in one place, so it’s all readily available when they want to file.
Many taxpayers find they have all the information they need to file their taxes by mid-January. If you’re an early filer, you can expect importing functions and other “bells and whistles” to be available when you have your forms in hand. Early filers can typically e-file their federal returns a few weeks after the start of the new year.
If you file in early January with tax software, your tax return will be among the first sent to the IRS for processing, putting your refund at the front of the line. You can watch our Tax Refund Calendar to see when you can expect your tax refund to arrive.
State filing, unfortunately, isn’t always as quick and easy. Each tax software company opens state filing on different dates as they’re ready to process those states’ returns. The companies must update all 50 states, which can take some time. If you live in a state with big tax law changes this year, you can expect delays in state filing.
In some cases, state filing options may open as early as mid-January, while others could be delayed until early March. Remember that users can e-file their federal returns before filing their state returns.
For early filing, all of the major tax software providers have options. We narrowed down these five competitors as top options for early filers in 2023. To compare the top tax software for early filers, we judged the following criteria:
Note that all tax software undergoes frequent updates. Many missing pieces are expected to be released before Christmas, but some may not be ready until mid-January.
You can read our full reviews here:
Ease of Use
Easy to Moderate
All income, credit and deduction sections worked, but states are still delayed.
Schedule C (Self-Employed income) doesn’t work yet. State filing will not be ready until late December. Importing not available until January.
All income, credit and deduction sections worked. State filing planners are ready, but software updates will continue through January.
All income, credit and deduction sections worked. State filing will not be available until the end of January
All income, credit and deduction sections worked. State returns are not currently available.
Do You Need To Sign Up To Try?
Any Technical Issues?
$89Self Employed: $119
$44.99Self Employed: $44.99
Early filers choose to start filing early for different reasons. We’ve ranked the top filing options based on features early filers often seek.
TurboTax and TaxSlayer both offer early refund options for e-filers using their software. Users who choose either product can have a percentage of their refund advanced to a prepaid debit card. In both cases, the loans charge no interest (but do come with added costs).
This year, TurboTax retains its title as the easiest software overall and the easiest for early filers. The user interface helps users easily navigate between various forms and requirements, and users can switch sections in a couple of clicks.
TurboTax offers the most robust integration and form upload features to avoid manual data entry.
TaxHawk offers excellent functionality at a very low price. Early filers, even those with complex filing situations, can complete their federal filing for free.
State filing costs $14.99 per state. TaxHawk is an excellent option for experienced filers who don’t want to upgrade just because they have daycare expenses or an HSA.
H&R Block Premium and TaxSlayer Classic are both high-value picks. H&R Block Premium is ideal for side hustlers, landlords, and anyone with an active stock trading account. The software is incredibly easy to use, especially given the competitive pricing.
Try H&R Block Premium >>
TaxSlayer Classic gives users access to every major tax form, so even complex filers can use it. The software is also easy to use and full of great knowledge articles. TaxSlayer’s biggest drawback is a lack of support for W-2 or 1099 imports.
Try TaxSlayer Classic >>
It's important to remember that this guide is our earliest snapshot of tax season and what software is available. We're not even able to test some until early January. However, we also know that many Americans want to file their taxes as early as possible.
If you’re racing to claim your tax refund, any of these options should meet your needs. If you're looking for more in-depth reviews, check out our YouTube tax software reviews here.
Editor: Claire Tak
Reviewed by: Robert Farrington
The post Best Tax Software For Early Filers In December 2022 appeared first on The College Investor.
By: Eric RosenbergTitle: Best Tax Software For Early Filers In December 2022Sourced From: thecollegeinvestor.com/14678/reviewing-best-tax-software-early-filers/Published Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2022 08:15:00 +0000