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Should I file my state or federal taxes online?

Filing taxes online has never been so fast, easy and secure. Top-rated online tax companies such as TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxAct make filing state and federal returns easy, even for folks who own property, do contract work or hold other investments and assets that might otherwise complicate the filing process. Want to make sure you get the most from your deductions and maximize your tax refund? If so, no problem -- downloadable tax software from the best online tax companies can help. Tax forms are automatically generated so you don't need to worry about finding the right paperwork. And when all is said and done, there's no faster way

to get your refund than by filing your taxes online.

TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxAct are three of the most well-known companies for helping people file their taxes online. For years, TurboTax -- produced by the software company Intuit -- was the undisputed leader and pioneer of online tax filing services. To this day, TurboTax enjoys more brand recognition than any other tax-filing product. However, TaxAct and H&R Block closed the gap, and now each company offers software with simple step-by-step processes to guarantee maximum refunds. TaxAct and H&R block both offer email and chat support, which is something customers couldn't get with TurboTax in past years. TaxAct and H&R block also use all major IRS forms and schedules, and TaxAct offers more assistance with accounting for major life events such as deaths and divorces. There are numerous differences between these highly rated online tax companies. Each tax service also has its own suite of mobile apps, and again TurboTax is being the market's pioneer with a fully functional app that lets customers work on their tax returns on the go.

Each online tax service charges different fees for its lineup of tax preparation software packages. TaxAct and TurboTax offer free software for filing simple federal and state returns, while H&R Block offers free simple federal returns with low-fee state filing. Beyond that, each company offers tiered bundles that handle different complexities of tax returns. TurboTax is the most expensive, but Intuit's product is also incredibly streamlined and easy to use. TaxAct and H&R Block are much cheaper and ultimately offer the same results, but customers can benefit from choosing the company they're most comfortable using. Take our quiz to get help with choosing a tax-filing service and explore the many benefits of filing your taxes online.

Do you normally file either a 1040EZ or 1040A?
Would you prefer to pay extra for more streamlined tax-filing software?
Do you face a high risk of being audited? Risk factors include things such as claiming a home office, filing a schedule C and income changes (up or down) of at least 20 percent.
Do you want to be able to file your taxes online from a mobile app?
Have you used either of these online tax services in the past?
Do you prefer phone, email or chat support?
Did you go through a significant life change, such as a divorce, during the previous year?
Do you plan to itemize deductions?