6 New & Improved Tax Filing Software Features That Will Be a Huge Help to Entrepreneurs This Tax SeasonTax Filings
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You’re running your business, managing employees, working with clients and customers, and trying to fit a personal life somewhere into the mix. The last thing you need is for filing your business taxes to be a hassle.
That’s where online tax filing software comes in.
With tax filing software, doing your business taxes is easy, maybe even intuitive. You probably know the big names in tax software—like TurboTax and H&R Block—but those two are by no means your only options. There are dozens of tax software brands you can choose from, and they all offer different features.
Each tax season, these software programs introduce new features to entice entrepreneurs and business owners. Below we’re reviewing the most exciting features that are available today. As you select your tax software for this year’s tax season, keep these in mind. They’re going to make filing your taxes a whole lot easier.
Auto-fill your info with the W-2 Snapshot from TurboTax
It’s frustrating to fill out the same information over and over again across the myriad forms you complete for your taxes. Plus, you always have to double-check that you didn’t accidentally misenter your social security number or an address.
Save yourself the time and aggravation with the W-2 Snapshot feature from TurboTax. Using their TurboTax mobile app (available for free on iOS and Android), you can scan your W-2 with your phone’s camera. Then TurboTax extracts the information, displays it for you to verify, and automatically adds it into all the right fields on all the right forms.
Buy it: You can try this feature out for free, as the TurboTax app is free to use, and you’ll only pay once you file your taxes. Plans range from $39.99 to $119.99. TurboTax also offers a military discount, or you can save with TurboTax promo codes.
Track expenses and organize receipts with your phone
Many entrepreneurs dread tax season, precisely because they can’t bear to face the paper mountain of receipts they have to review, organize, and manually enter into their tax filing software. You don’t have to be one of those people.
Several tax filing software programs integrate with complimentary mobile apps, which allow you to quickly take photos of receipts while you’re on the go. You can set up categories for your different business expenses, as well as rules that automatically categorize your expenses for you, based on vendor. Staying on top of your expenses is one of the best ways to ensure you maximize your deduction.
Of course, receipts are only one record of your expenses. There’s all the other transactions you manage directly through your bank account, credit cards, and online payment processors like Stripe and PayPal. Guess what? You can link all those to your tax filing software, too. With the H&R Block Stride app, you can even track mileage.
Buy it: Automatic expense tracking and receipt scanning is available with TurboTax, QuickBooks (pictured above), Wave, Zoho Books, TaxAct, and H&R Block (through the Stride Tax app). Save with these promo codes for TaxAct, H&R Block, TurboTax, and Zoho Books.
Work on your return with a pro side-by-side for free with TurboTax Live
You’re an entrepreneur, so you’re confident managing things on your own. That’s why you’re taking the DIY route with your business taxes, after all. But wouldn’t it be nice to confirm you’re doing them correctly and know that you’re taking advantage of all the deductions and credits available to you?
It’s common for some of the higher-end tax software to have CPA-manned customer support or tax experts you can chat with over a 1-800 number. But TurboTax Live is a fresh new offering that takes live support to another level.
With TurboTax Live, you can access CPAs and attorneys on-demand, from the comfort of your home (or your home office), while you’re filling out your taxes. If you have a question, you can turn on screen sharing capabilities to see this person face-to-face and get instant, expert help on how to adjust different fields to maximize your tax refund. It’s like having your own personal CPA on call. They’re also available to review your tax return when it’s complete for accuracy.
The next closest thing to this is H&R Block’s Tax Pro Review, which starts at $119.99. However, there’s no screen-sharing, and it’s not an immediate side-by-side walkthrough of your return.
Buy it: TurboTax Live is available in four plans (Basic, Delux, Premier, and Self-Employed) which range from $50 to $200. Save with these TurboTax promo codes.
File taxes anywhere: online, your phone, or your tablet
Most tax filing software is available online now. There are even options that exist solely in the cloud, like TaxSlayer, Zoho Books, and FreshBooks. With these, you can work on your taxes wherever you are. All you need is access to an internet browser.
That’s convenient, but often it’s easier to use a dedicated mobile app over a mobile browser. That’s why H&R Block, TurboTax, and TaxAct all let you prepare your business taxes using their free mobile app. We’ve mentioned how many of these make it easy to track your expenses, but you can also file your entire tax return, end-to-end!
With the H&R Block Tax Prep app, you can seamlessly work on your tax return across Apple, Android, and Amazon Fire devices. The app has all the functionality you need, including the ability to scan and upload previous years’ returns (even if they were prepared by another tax preparer), and fully complete and e-file your return.
The TurboTax Mobile App works the same way, and includes the same helpful wizard you’d use to complete your taxes online. You can even access TurboTax Live through the app. On TaxAct Express, the TaxAct app for iOS and Android, you can start at the very beginning, using the app to shop for the best product and plan for you. TaxSlayer also has a mobile app, but it’s best for simple returns.
Secure W-2 Early Access for your employees with H&R Block
As an entrepreneur, you know that part of running a successful business is keeping your employees motivated to help you execute your vision.
With H&R Block’s Early Access program, your employees can get a jumpstart on their taxes. All they have to do is visit the H&R Block website, search for your company by name, and they can request to have their W-2 sent electronically to their local H&R Block office for pick-up. This allows them to get started on their tax return without having to wait for you to send them the paper version.
The sooner they send in their return, the sooner they’ll receive their refund. That’s a perk worth offering. Plus, this service is completely free for your employees!
Buy it: This feature is uniquely available with H&R Block. Save with these H&R Block promo codes.
Score extra deductions for life events with TaxAct
TaxAct is often touted as the next all-around best software, after TurboTax and H&R Block. It has many of the same bells and whistles, but the software isn’t as easy to use—which is why it’s significantly cheaper. However, one favorite feature is the Life Events screen.
This screen has you review 19 different situations that may impact your tax return—both what you owe and what you may be entitled to. Situations include some of the obvious ones, like marriage and divorce, but there’s also less well-known ones like moving expenses or being affected by a natural disaster.
Once you select your life events, TaxAct will provide you with tooltips and resources when you arrive at relevant sections in the subsequent screens of the wizard. It won’t automatically fill anything in for you (there’s that affordability again), but it does alert you to the information you need to know to be able to fill it out yourself.
Buy it: TaxAct plans range from $9.95 to $34.95 for federal returns, with additional fees for state returns. Save with these TaxAct promo codes.
Save on tax filing software with these promo codes
Now that you know about the best features for entrepreneurs, it’s time to choose your tax filing software.
You’re already saving money by not paying a CPA to prepare your taxes. You deserve to save even more with these tax software promo codes: