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Tax Solutions: The Top 5 Options for Business Tax Filing

The best tax solution is the least painful tax solution. When you’re planning how to file taxes for your business, you need to measure the cost in dollars, as well as time—spending too much of either during tax season can cause a real headache.

To help you compare, here’s a run-down of the most popular tax solutions for small businesses—including what’s good about each, and what’s not so good.

Bench

Bench (that’s us) gets your business bookkeeping up to date, then works with licensed tax professionals to file your taxes for you.

Bench is America’s largest bookkeeping service for small businesses. When you sign up, you can add BenchTax to your package, and take both bookkeeping and taxes off your plate for good. That means more time in your schedule, and less time spent crunching numbers.

If you’re behind on your books, Bench will get you completely caught up and file your taxes for a one-time fee. It’s kind of like a rescue team swooping in to save you from a stressful tax season.

Features

  • Unlimited state filings. There’s no add-on cost for different states. BenchTax handles all your federal and state taxes for one flat fee.

  • Every detail handled. We file taxes on investments and rental income; file up to five 1099 forms per year; and take advantage of every deduction possible for your business.

  • Quarterly estimated taxes. Your Bench team fills out every remittance form for your quarterly taxes, and lets you know how much to pay and when.

  • A qualified team. We work with the experts at TaxFyle. All their team members are licensed tax pros, chosen and trained to work with your Bench bookkeeper.

  • All-in-one problem solving. With BenchTax, all your business bookkeeping and tax filing is handled in one place, for one annual or monthly fee, coordinated by your dedicated team.

Drawbacks

  • Digital only. While you can use the camera on your phone to import paper documents to Bench, we’re mostly set up for digital bookkeeping and tax filing. If your business is paper-heavy and you’re not comfortable with scanning, BenchTax may not be a good fit for you.

Price

Bench pricing varies by your business need. Check out our pricing page for more details.

TurboTax

TurboTax is a popular online tax prep option. It’s cloud-based software—so all your financial info is saved securely and automatically. You can also access it from anywhere, on multiple devices.

For an extra price, you can have TurboTax’s in-house tax professionals lend a hand. However, they’re only there to provide support, not file your taxes for you.

TurboTax is suited to individuals who don’t have much experience filing business taxes, and want a simple interface that walks them through the process. However, for businesses, TurboTax can be prohibitively expensive compared to other software options.

Features

  • Easy-to-use interface. TurboTax has one of the most straightforward online interfaces of any tax prep software. It’s set up like an interview with an accountant—asking you questions about your business, and letting you provide the answers.

  • Live video support option. When you pay for live video support, you can connect face to face online with one of TurboTax’s in-house tax pros. They can provide advice and give your taxes a final look over before you file.

  • Large online community. You can log on to the TurboTax support forums, where users share advice and tax pros answer questions.

  • QuickBooks integration. If you already use QuickBooks to do your own bookkeeping, it’s easy to import your information into TurboTax.

Drawbacks

  • High price for businesses. While TurboTax starts at $0 for very simple personal returns, businesses can expect to pay a premium to use the software. Out of all online tax prep software, TurboTax is the most expensive.

  • Time cost. Even if you’ve got support from a tax pro, it’s up to you to enter all your information and go through the process of completing your return. It isn’t hands-free the same way using an accountant is.

  • Price of extra support. Unlike paying a tax pro to file taxes for you, you’ll have to pay extra to get help with a TurboTax return. At its heart, TurboTax is software, not a professional service.

  • No bookkeeping support. Your tax return is only accurate if your bookkeeping is too. TurboTax doesn’t have any way to double check that your bookkeeping is correct or help you catch up if you’re behind.

Price

For sole proprietors, TurboTax’s “Self-Employed” package is $119.99 for federal taxes ($199.99 with live support), plus $44.99 per state. For every other business structure, TurboTax Business starts at $169.99 for federal taxes, plus $54.99 per state.

H&R Block Online

H&R Block’s 12,000 brick and mortar locations have long been the one stop option of choice for people filing individual or small business taxes. Their H&R Block software offers most of the same functionality as TurboTax or TaxAct, with the added option of both online and in-person support.

If you run a sole proprietorship, H&R Block Online may be a less expensive alternative to TurboTax. However, H&R Block Online only caters to sole props. Corporations, LLCs, and partnerships are out of luck.

Features

  • Comparable to TurboTax. H&R gives you the same tools as TurboTax, but it costs less for small businesses. That includes online live support for an extra cost.

  • In-person support. If you want to talk face-to-face with a tax pro, appointments at any H&R Block location start at $59. There are plenty of locations, too, so you shouldn’t have to travel far to find someone to talk to.

  • Tax review services. For an additional fee of $89.99, an online H&R Block tax pro will review your business tax return, and help identify any deductions or credits you may be missing.

Drawbacks

  • Sole props only. If you’re a sole prop now, but transition to an LLC down the road, you’ll have to change tax prep services.

  • CPAs not guaranteed. H&R Block guarantees that all its in-house tax pros get at least 60 hours of training each. But not all of them are CPAs—meaning you could get a lower level of service than if you hired an accountant.

  • No monthly bookkeeping. H&R Block Online doesn’t handle day-to-day income and expense tracking. You’ll need to have all your bookkeeping for the year up to date and organized before you can use H&R Block Online to file your taxes.

Price

For sole proprietorships, H&R Block Online starts at $104.99 for federal taxes, plus $34.99 per state. Live online support is an additional $49.99.

TaxAct

A low budget alternative to TurboTax and H&R Block, TaxAct has similar features, with a little less polish. You can do the same things with TaxAct as you can with other tax prep software. But expect a plainer interface, and fewer pop-up help menus to help you along the way.

TaxAct is a good choice if you’re already comfortable filing business taxes, and want to save a bit on the price of tax prep software.

Features

  • Screen share support. While you can’t video chat with tax pros, you can share screens with them—so you get some hands-on help walking through the TaxAct software. This comes included with business packages.

  • All business structures for the same price. It costs the same to use TaxAct regardless of how your business is structured.

Drawbacks

  • No professional tax review. While TaxAct’s support agents can answer your questions, they can’t look at your return and tell you whether you’ve missed deductions, or identify other ways you can save money.

  • Not beginner-friendly. TaxAct’s interface is less intuitive than other tax prep options. If you’re new to tax prep software or filing taxes for your business, working with TaxAct may come with a steeper learning curve.

Price

TaxAct’s business packages are $69.95, regardless of business structure. State taxes are an additional $39.95 per state.

Local accountant

The biggest benefit to hiring an accountant is that they file your taxes for you. Any qualified accountant should be able to take all your bookkeeping info for the year, and prepare a tax return for you. They can also help you identify deductions, and find other ways to save your business money.

Hiring a local accountant comes with the benefit of in-person meetings. They’re also able to work with paper records, which is handy if your business makes a lot of cash transactions.

All that being said, hiring an accountant is the most expensive way to file your taxes.

Features

  • Experience. Services like H&R Block Online can’t guarantee the experience level of their in-house pros, save the amount of time the company spends training them. On the other hand, most local accountants are only too happy to advertise their credentials—making it easier to find a certified expert.

  • Face to face interaction. If you like being able to sit down across from your accountant and have a conversation with them—no emails, no texts—then a local accountant is a good choice.

  • Paper friendly. Most online tax prep services work primarily with digital files. To import paper records usually means photographing them and uploading them in the software. If you have a lot of physical paperwork, an accountant can take it off your hands, literally.

Drawbacks

  • Cost. Accountants are always the most expensive option.

  • Unavailability. Online tax prep options let you instantly message in-house experts when you have questions. While you can always phone or email a local accountant, they may not get back to you right away—especially during tax season, the busiest time of year for accountants.

  • Catch-up bookkeeping is expensive. If you’re behind on your bookkeeping, your accountant can bring it up to date for you. However, you’ll pay a premium for them to do it—far more than if you hire a bookkeeper during the year.

Price

Having your taxes filed by an accountant costs between $220 and $800, depending on the size, complexity, and structure of your business. You’ll need to pay more if your business records are disorganized or your bookkeeping isn’t caught up and tax-ready.

What's Bench?

We're an online bookkeeping service powered by real humans. Bench gives you a dedicated bookkeeper supported by a team of knowledgeable small business experts. We’re here to take the guesswork out of running your own business—for good. Your bookkeeping team imports bank statements, categorizes transactions, and prepares financial statements every month. Get started with a free month of bookkeeping.


This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

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