Best tax software for small business owners 2019

Tax software that’s capable of tackling complex returns can be every small business owner’s saving grace during tax season.


Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.


Intuit TurboTax Business

Support options that are included by default seem limited for a premium product, but its overall impressive lineup of features makes its lofty price tag totally worth it.


TaxAct Business

An affordable yet functional tool for single return filings that lends itself best to SBOs who aren’t concerned about getting audited.

As a small business owner (SBO), you can handle the occasional hiccup or headache like it ain’t no thang. It’s basically part of your job description. In fact, the thrill of it all is probably part of the reason why you decided to pursue entrepreneurship in the first place. You relish the challenge of doing it all yourself. You’re not just a businessman (or woman) — .

There’s an impressive amount of gutsiness that’s associated with small business ownership, one that’s essential to your company’s growth. But research has shown that if there’s one aspect of the gig that intimidates you, it’s getting your shit together come tax season.

In the latest edition of its quadrennial survey , the National Federation of Independent Business found that half of the 10 “most severe” problems facing modern SBOs were related to doing taxes.

“Small business owners not only find current [tax] rates a burden,” the NFIB wrote, “but equally problematic are the complexity of tax compliance and the frequency of changes in tax laws.”

Let’s go out on a limb, then, and assume you’re like most SBOs in that you’re perturbed by the idea of doing your business taxes solo. Not only are you daunted by all the paperwork involved and the potential of filing errors, but your busy schedule just doesn’t allow for that sort of drudgery. (Nine to 5 just doesn’t exist when you own your own business.)

Enter: small business tax software, a type of computer program that simplifies the process of preparing your annual return so you can get back to doing what you love for a living. 

Tax software 101: How to choose the best program

Whether your preferred tax software comes in an online or desktop format is neither here nor there. Instead, the program you choose will depend on both the nature of your business entity and the forms you’ll be filing. If you’re a sole proprietor who’s filing Schedule C, for instance, you’d look for a program that includes Schedule C support. If you’re an LLC that’s treated as a corporation for tax purposes, you’d want tax software with Form 1120. 

Now, for the dirty details: Since a small business tax situation is relatively complicated no matter your business’ specific type, your best bet is to shell out for a paid program. Expect to spend upwards of $50 to $60 to have your federal return prepared, plus more for an additional state return. (If that price tag is making you balk, just think of it this way: It’s far less expensive than having a certified public accountant prepare your return for you.)

Free options do exist — we recommend one below for SBOs who decide to go that route — but generally, they’re geared toward simpler returns and don’t have all the features or support you’d want/need in a business tax software.

Get it? Got it? Good. Without further ado, then, here are the small business tax software programs we think you’ll find the most helpful based on consumer reviews. 

Free e-filing • Users can import info from QuickBooks • Accuracy and maximum refund guarantees • Audit support included • Conversational, interview-style walkthrough is easy to understand

Expensive • Personalized, live support will cost you

Support options that are included by default seem limited for a premium product, but its overall impressive lineup of features makes its lofty price tag totally worth it.

1. Intuit TurboTax Business

Support options that are included by default seem limited for a premium product, but its overall impressive lineup of features makes its lofty price tag totally worth it.

  • Federal:
    $169.99 (includes five free federal e-files)
  • State:
“Comprehensive,” “robust,” “intuitive,” and “thorough” are all words that can be used to describe TurboTax, the big daddy of tax prep programs. Its Business edition is especially powerful, offering assistance with more than 350 industry-specific deductions and credits, guidance for asset depreciation and real estate rental property activities, tools for creating W-2s and 1099 tax forms for your employees and contractors, and other easy-to-use tax solutions. 
Help-wise, each license includes access to a database of blog posts and video tutorials, an active online support forum, and technical support by phone. For unlimited, live video chat support and a final review from a knowledgeable certified public accountant or enrolled agent, you’ll have to add TurboTax Live to your package. (Plans start at $80 for federal returns.)
TurboTax Business is geared toward the SBO who runs an LLC, partnership, S-corp, or C-corp — although if you own more than one company, that’s cool, too. The program lets you prepare income tax returns for multiple businesses, no matter their entity type.
User writes:

“Have been in business (S Corp) for many years and Turbo Tax has yearly held my hand and guided me through the apprehension of doing taxes and successfully helped my yearly filing. Would have lost a lot of sleep without Turbo Tax. Recommend keeping copies of all business activity receipts and etc. with those next to you during tax time Turbo Tax will take it from there and instruct you on what and how anything should be applied. They offer numerous venues of help and let you relax during and after the process. Would never have a year of tax filing without Turbo Tax by my side and on my computer!!!”

Satisfaction, accuracy, and Price Lock guarantees • Affordable • Highly functional mobile version • Unlimited phone support

Users filing for multiple businesses must purchase multiple plans • No audit assistance, although users can add audit defense for an additional fee • Lacks support options compared to competitors

An affordable yet functional tool for single return filings that lends itself best to SBOs who aren’t concerned about getting audited.

2. TaxAct Business

An affordable yet functional tool for single return filings that lends itself best to SBOs who aren’t concerned about getting audited.

  • Federal:
  • State:
TaxAct Business is a program that’s sorted into four different plans based on users’ tax situations: Take your pick from Sole Proprietor (Form 1040 and Schedule C), Partnership (Form 1065), C Corporation (Form 1120), and S Corporation (Form 1120S). No matter which plan you choose, you’ll pay just $69.99 for a single federal return and $39.95 for state — an incredible value for SBOs who are only filing for one business entity.
TaxAct Business users get access to a sizable array of features for that reasonable fee, including fast data entry tools, step-by-step guidance to maximize deductions, unlimited phone support for your technical questions, free e-filing, and the TaxAct Answer Center (an FAQ page). Most notably, every TaxAct Business plan comes with a Price Lock Guarantee that ensures you’ll never pay more than the price listed at the time you started your return; such guarantees are few and far between among tax software programs.
User writes:

“It’s easy to use. Customer support is very helpful. Once you gather all your tax papers, the app leads you with questions to fill out your tax forms easily.”

Intuitive interface • Great value • Audit assistance included • Accuracy and maximum refund guarantees • Refund advance available for qualified filers

Mobile app could use some work • Advanced support is limited compared to competitors

For relatively simple small business tax situations, it delivers an appealing one-two punch of affordability and user friendliness.

3. TaxSlayer Self-Employed

For relatively simple small business tax situations, it delivers an appealing one-two punch of affordability and user friendliness.

TaxSlayer Self-Employed is an online tax prep service that’s been highly rated for value, speed of filing, and ease of use. At less than $80 for both a federal and state return (including support for Form 1099-MISC and Schedule C), it’s a steal as far as premium tax software programs go, and an amazing deal for proprietors who are running things solo. 
Every TaxSlayer Self-Employed license comes with: an exclusive guide to deductions and credits for SBOs and other self-employed workers; access to a self-employed tax professional who can answer all your technical questions; phone, email, and live chat support; a self-employed deduction finder that’s designed to “[get] all the tax breaks you deserve”; and tax tips and reminders that’ll keep you on top of your tax game all year ‘round. 
Want identity protection, three years of audit defense, and prioritized support from a bona fide tax pro? You can upgrade to the plan for an extra $10 per federal return.
User writes:

“Easy to understand, thorough and can chat with a rep when you have questions, but I didn’t have many since its walked me through my itemized so well! Very pleased!”

Excellent customer service • Satisfaction, accuracy, and maximum refund guarantees • Users can import data from TurboTax and Quicken

If you’re a sole proprietor, it’s probably overkill • Expensive

More established small businesses that have the budget for it will benefit most from this all-inclusive tax solution.

4. H&R Block Premium & Business

More established small businesses that have the budget for it will benefit most from this all-inclusive tax solution.

  • Federal and state:
    $89.95 total (includes five free federal e-files)
This lime green-branded tax prep service is designed to save you some serious green with an advanced software program for SBOs that guarantees a maximum refund. Each license features specialized business tax filing guidance for all forms related to S corporations, partnerships, LLCs, and nonprofits, as well as bonus tools that allow you to create payroll tax and employer forms (i.e, W-2s and Forms 1099) — a seriously stellar perk if you’ve got full-time employees and/or contractors. 
H&R Block shines in the realm of customer service, offering users free audit support, opportunities to chat online with trained tax experts in real time 24/7, and access to a detailed database of articles and resources at no extra cost. Plus, if you need in-person assistance, you can schedule an appointment with one of Block’s tax pros at one of their offices for an additional fee. (There are more than 12,000 locations nationwide, so there’s a decent chance there’s one near you.)
User writes:

“In a day, I prepared Federal and Georgia returns for our family corporation and joint for us. Although I haven’t been audited in years, I am comfortable with Block’s audit guarantee, because they have conditioned me to keep good records. I buy the download each year, as soon as it comes out. The updates are predictable and unbuggy.”

Maximum refund and accuracy guarantees • Affordable • Ample resource section on its website • Free audit assistance

Reviewers say interface is clunky • Customer support can be slow

A budget-friendly option for sole proprietors that’ll serve you best if this ain’t your first rodeo.

5. eSmart Tax Premium Edition

A budget-friendly option for sole proprietors that’s best for small business owners who know what they’re doing.

  • Federal:
  • State:
Owned by Liberty Tax Service, an established tax prep company with more than 4,000 branches nationwide, eSmart Tax is a bare-bones online program that’s best suited for confident filers who know what they’re doing and want a cost-effective way to do it. Its Premium plan aims to maximize deductions from your small business, and supports Form 1040, Schedule C, Schedule D (“Capital Gains and Losses”), and Form 8829 (“Expenses for Business Use of Your Home”).
eSmart’s website boasts a packed “Tax Resources” section, which covers the Affordable Care Act, rental property tax deductions, and other tricky tax-related topics — a great support option if you’ve got a quick question about something on your return. (It also includes a simple income tax calculator, because sometimes math is hard.) For more personalized and/or in-depth support, you can head into any brick-and-mortar Liberty office for in-person help. Premium users also enjoy unlimited live chat, phone, and email support with their plan.
, writes:

“The few questions I had were outlined clearly or accessible via help assistance links on the site itself and easy to navigate it. …. Associated fees, process, security and handling of sensitive financing data was top-notch, although the turnaround time was longer than expected.”

Supports QuickBooks integration • Live CPA support available during business hours • Filing takes just 10 minutes on your part • Audit support included

Expensive, especially if you want a Schedule C or other add-ons • Service is rather new so there’s not much information online

Look into this new kid on the block if you’re running an S-corp or partnership; sole proprietors should steer clear unless they’ve got cash to burn.

6. Halon Tax

Look into this new kid on the block if you’re running an S-corp or partnership; sole proprietors should steer clear unless they’ve got cash to burn.

A newcomer to the tax software scene, Halon Tax is a service that specializes in small business returns — specifically, S-corp and partnership tax prep and planning for Forms 1120S and 1065. It relies on a combination of manpower and robot-power: While its CPA Tax Team looks over your information to guarantee its accuracy, Halon, its AI tax engine, will process and prepare your returns. As soon as you’re ready to file, Halon will have you e-sign your returns and then e-file them for you at no extra cost. The whole process takes about 10 minutes of your time, or so Halon’s website claims.
You can add a handful of services to your Halon package for an additional fee, including a personal tax return on Schedule C plus state ($399); S-corp conversion ($49); CPA chat support within the Halon app ($69); and audit defense (pricing on its website). 
User writes:

“I needed last minute help with our small business taxes and Halon got the job done for us. They were always quick to respond to my questions and provided me resources to help me better understand the forms. The turnaround time is great! Will definitely use them for future tax returns.”

Users can import info from TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct • Simple interface • Audit support available with an inexpensive upgrade • Accuracy and maximum refund guarantees

Very limited support options compared to competitors • Technically not free if you’re filing a state return

The most basic, cost-effective option for SBOs running small- to medium-sized companies who already know their way around a tax return.

7. FreeTaxUSA Free Edition

The most basic, cost-effective option for small- to medium-sized companies that already know their way around a tax return.

  • Federal:
    Free ($6.99 for Deluxe version)
  • State:
Free tax software typically doesn’t offer the features and customer assistance most SBOs need during the filing process, which makes FreeTaxUSA an anomaly. It’s best suited for really simple tax situations, to be sure, but it supports most major business forms and offers email chat (as well as a searchable Q&A section) for all your tax queries.
For users who want a little extra help, FreeTaxUSA offers a $7 Deluxe Edition that includes a live chat feature, prioritized support, audit assistance, and unlimited amended returns. 
User writes:

“I always have my taxes prepared by the CPA, due to owning my own business and being head of household as a single mom. In the past I would pay $600-800 per year to have my taxes professionally prepared. This year I tried FreeTaxUSA, and double checked the results against last year’s filing. FreeTaxUSA covered each and every deduction and category. It was incredibly fast and easy. I am sold on FreeTaxUSA!”


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