Consumer Reports reviews DIY tax preparation software

(KOMO file photo)

Consumer Reports is out with its review of do-it-yourself tax preparation software. The editors tested the online and mobile offerings for each of the four major tax-prep companies: H&R Block, TaxAct, TaxSlayer and TurboTax.

All four products did a good job of handling simple returns, are generally easy to navigate and guarantee accurate calculations. They also let you import wage and tax statements (W-2 forms) from your employers.

Consumer Reports says the best choices for someone new to do-it-yourself tax preparation are H&R Block Deluxe and TaxAct Plus.

Tax Slayer Premium is a very good option, it's rather low-priced, but they're a little bit more bare bones and don't have some of the features the other do,” said Consumer Reports Senior Editor Tobie Stanger. “For a more complex return, I would go with TurboTax Deluxe or frankly with a human tax pro. If you're subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax or other more complex returns, you're probably better off going with a tax pro."

Consumer Reports pointed out that it did not include Credit Karma Tax, a relative newcomer to DIY tax prep. "Credit Karma makes newcomers submit their Social Security numbers, which our tester found off-putting. Even after she relented and provided her SSN, Credit Karma said she had to unfreeze her TransUnion credit report before she could use the tax service. She balked. For that reason, Credit Karma is not part of this tax-prep software test," the editors explained.

Michael Goodbody, director of communications for Credit Karma, told me there is nothing nefarious about asking for the user's Social Security number.

"Because security is a top priority for Credit Karma Tax, we go beyond the IRS security standards by asking our members to validate their identity.," Goodbody said. "This level of security for Credit Karma Tax helps us combat the problem of income tax refund fraud."

More Info: How to Choose the Right Do-It-Yourself Tax Software

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