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The Best Mobile Tax Apps for 2024

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Do-it-yourself tax prep services and apps have radically changed the way people in the US file income taxes. In the early days of e-filing, you needed a full-size computer or laptop, but now you can prepare and file your taxes entirely from your phone or tablet, even if your tax situation is complex. You can also use mobile tax apps and mobile tax websites to check the status of your refund after you file.

If you’ve felt lost using a tax app in the past, consider giving it another try this year—you might be surprised by how easy it is. Plus, tax apps can help you get the biggest refund you’re due by making sure you’re taking all the deductions and credits you deserve. Since these apps are thorough and encourage accuracy, they can also help you avoid being audited by the IRS.

Read on for our top picks, followed by details on how to choose the right mobile tax app for your needs.


Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Intuit TurboTax 2024 (Tax Year 2023)

Best Overall Experience

Why We Picked It

TurboTax has consistently ranked among the very best tax prep software because it makes doing your taxes more understandable and accessible than any competitor, increasing your chances of getting a refund. Its explanations of both simple and complex tax topics are conversational and comprehensible, and it provides multiple layers of help on its path through IRS Form 1040. Plus, it offers the best user experience of any tax app we’ve tested. Even if you have a complex tax return, you can prepare and file your tax returns on TurboTax’s Android, iPhone, and iPad mobile apps. The apps are attractive and intuitive, making them a pleasure to use.

Who It’s For

There’s a different version of TurboTax for every kind of taxpayer, from Gen Z and millennials who do everything on their phones to people whose financial profiles are complex enough that they need a tax specialist. TurboTax has a version for self-employed people that’s good for both longtime sole proprietors and new gig workers who don’t understand Schedule C.

PROS

  • Outstanding user experience
  • Thorough, conversational interview Q&A
  • Covers tax topics in exceptional depth
  • Excellent help resources and virtual support options
  • Great mobile apps

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Some help responses come from community members, not Intuit

SPECS

Imports Competitors’ Returns
All Major IRS Forms and Schedules
Comprehensive Navigational Outline
Chat Help
Phone Support for Tax Topics
Hyperlinked Help In Interview
Context-Sensitive Help
Searchable Help Database
Mobile Access

H&R Block 2024 (Tax Year 2023)

Best for Context-Sensitive Help

Why We Picked It

H&R Block is a respected household name in in-person tax preparation. Its DIY tax prep lives up to that reputation, and its mobile app is every bit as good as its web app. H&R Block’s numerous products and services feature user-friendly interfaces, extensive topic coverage, and context-sensitive help. The company excels at explaining tax issues in ways you can easily understand. 

Who It’s For

H&R Block’s family of tax preparation websites offers something for almost everyone, from its robust free version for very simple returns to its top-tier sites designed to tackle the intricacies of Schedule C (for self-employment). Its help resources are excellent and always contextual, which can benefit novice taxpayers and longtime filers as they learn whether they owe money or get a refund.

PROS

  • Always-on context-sensitive help
  • Thorough, understandable explanations of tax topics
  • Excellent user experience
  • Tax pros answer tax questions for free
  • Great mobile apps

CONS

  • Navigating some sections requires excessive clicking
  • Federal Accuracy Review could target error-fixing more consistently

SPECS

Imports Competitors’ Returns
All Major IRS Forms and Schedules
Comprehensive Navigational Outline
Chat Help
Phone Support for Tax Topics
Hyperlinked Help In Interview
Context-Sensitive Help
Searchable Help Database
Mobile Access

FreeTaxUSA 2024 (Tax Year 2023)

Best for Free Federal Filing

Why We Picked It

FreeTaxUSA is the best DIY tax prep site for free federal filing (state returns cost $14.99). Though it doesn’t have standalone mobile apps, its mobile website works very well. It has a clean, professional user interface and an understandable navigation system. Its help system and associated tools are unexpected and unusually good for a free product. The site can connect you directly with a tax professional (for $39.99), and its mobile apps are excellent.

Who It’s For

Since the self-employed versions of competitors’ tax prep websites can be expensive (eating into any refund you might get), FreeTaxUSA is a good choice for gig workers who don’t have a lot of income and expenses to report but must file Schedule C. It’s also good for more complex returns if you’re on a budget because of its usability, thorough coverage of tax topics, and guidance options.

PROS

  • Free federal e-filing, inexpensive state filing
  • Supports all major forms and schedules
  • Numerous help options
  • Excellent mobile website
  • Affordable professional tax support

CONS

  • Can’t import most 1099s
  • Help pages obscure Q&A pages

SPECS

Imports Competitors’ Returns
All Major IRS Forms and Schedules
Comprehensive Navigational Outline
Chat Help
Phone Support for Tax Topics
Hyperlinked Help In Interview
Context-Sensitive Help
Searchable Help Database
Mobile Access

TaxAct 2024 (Tax Year 2023)

Best Final Review

Why We Picked It

TaxAct has retired its mobile apps, but you can still prepare and file your taxes from your phone or tablet using the mobile version of the website on a mobile browser, which worked well in testing. Navigation, help tools, and the Q&A mirror the desktop site. Switching back and forth between the mobile and desktop versions is easy.

TaxAct excels at simplicity. Its user interface and navigation system help users through the complexities of the IRS tax code, and its final review is one of the best we’ve seen. It digs deep, asking questions about your finances to help you find all the deductions and credits you should get.

Who It’s For

Though it can be used to prepare complicated tax returns, TaxAct is best used by taxpayers with simpler financial scenarios. It does a great job for W-2 employees who want to itemize in hopes of getting a refund and who don’t necessarily need the targeted support that TurboTax and H&R Block offer. It also provides a detailed walk-through of Schedule C.

PROS

  • Good user experience
  • Excellent mobile access
  • Accessible context-sensitive help
  • Affordable professional tax help
  • Terrific final review

CONS

  • Some help links lead to IRS documents
  • Search results not always targeted
  • Expensive per-state filing

SPECS

Imports Competitors’ Returns
All Major IRS Forms and Schedules
Comprehensive Navigational Outline
Chat Help
Phone Support for Tax Topics
Hyperlinked Help In Interview
Context-Sensitive Help
Searchable Help Database
Mobile Access

TaxSlayer 2024 (Tax Year 2023)

Best for Budget-Conscious Tax Filers

Why We Picked It

TaxSlayer started as a tool for accountants and professional tax preparers more than 50 years ago. It’s been in the online DIY tax prep business since the 1990s. TaxSlayer has walk-throughs of common Form 1040-related topics and a searchable database of help files—improved for the current tax year—as well as guidance sprinkled throughout. The mobile apps for Android and iOS are comprehensive and easy to use.

Who It’s For

TaxSlayer’s price is lower than most competitors at the Self-Employed level (where we concentrated our testing), aside from the free Cash App Taxes and FreeTaxUSA. TaxSlayer supports the preparation and filing of complicated financial profiles. Its target market is individuals and very small businesses whose returns require Schedule C and who want help finding all the deductions and credits they can claim to maximize their refunds.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Fast
  • Clean interface with intuitive navigation
  • Supports all major IRS forms and schedules
  • Good data import options

CONS

  • Little context-sensitive help on Q&A pages
  • Help content quality needs work

SPECS

Imports Competitors’ Returns
All Major IRS Forms and Schedules
Comprehensive Navigational Outline
Chat Help
Phone Support for Tax Topics
Hyperlinked Help In Interview
Context-Sensitive Help
Searchable Help Database
Mobile Access

Cash App Taxes 2024 (Tax Year 2023)

Best Free Tax App

Why We Picked It

Cash App Taxes, which used to be called Credit Karma Tax, is the only service we tested that doesn’t cost a dime for comprehensive federal and state preparation and filing. All major and most minor tax forms and schedules are supported. The app is fast, has an excellent interface and navigation system, and has almost everything you need to prepare the most difficult of returns—except for a robust onsite help system and access to professional help. One catch is that you have to create (or already have) a Cash App account to use Cash App Taxes.

Who It’s For

Cash App Taxes is the way to go if you’re determined to file your taxes for free. Ideally, it’s best for people with only W-2 income and a few deductions and credits. While it can do more, like reporting on self-employment, it does not offer the step-by-step data entry and guidance in areas like investment sales that other tax apps do, so it isn’t necessarily the best choice for a return requiring tons of forms and schedules. As mentioned, Cash App Taxes supports most IRS forms and tax situations, but not all. For example, you can’t file in multiple states or have foreign-earned income. Be sure to check the list of what’s not included here.

PROS

  • Free
  • Pages load quickly
  • Supports major IRS forms and schedules
  • Simple, understandable UI and navigation
  • Excellent mobile apps

CONS

  • Support lacks depth
  • Can’t import interest or investment data
  • Missing some forms and situations
  • No expert tax help
  • Requires a Cash App account to use

SPECS

Imports Competitors’ Returns
All Major IRS Forms and Schedules
Comprehensive Navigational Outline
Chat Help
Phone Support for Tax Topics
Hyperlinked Help In Interview
Context-Sensitive Help
Searchable Help Database
Mobile Access

Jackson Hewitt Online 2024 (Tax Year 2023)

Best for Jackson Hewitt Clients

Why We Picked It

Jackson Hewitt has an online DIY tax prep service, though it’s best known for in-person tax preparation at more than 5,500 locations, roughly 3,000 of which are in Walmart stores. You can trust the company’s financial expertise and expansive coverage of tax topics in its online tax service, and the price is very reasonable at just $25, which includes both federal and state returns. You won’t find any standalone mobile apps, but the mobile website works just as well as the desktop version. Jackson Hewitt professionals are always ready to take over if you find that you can’t complete your return yourself.

Who It’s For

We recommend Jackson Hewitt for taxpayers who have used the product before and liked it or are more comfortable patronizing a company with a recognizable brand. Jackson Hewitt is also for anyone who wants a no-frills tax prep experience with backup assistance if needed as they work toward a bigger refund. However, its online help tools aren’t strong enough to support someone who needs a lot of handholding along the way.

PROS

  • Low price
  • Comprehensive coverage of tax topics
  • Proactive error checking
  • Excellent final check

CONS

  • Can’t import a prior year’s return from a competitor
  • Context-sensitive, searchable help lacking in amount and quality
  • User experience not on par with competitors
  • Not all pages auto-save
  • Some navigation quirks

SPECS

Imports Competitors’ Returns
All Major IRS Forms and Schedules
Comprehensive Navigational Outline
Chat Help
Phone Support for Tax Topics
Hyperlinked Help In Interview
Context-Sensitive Help
Searchable Help Database
Mobile Access

Liberty Tax 2024 (Tax Year 2023)

Best for Liberty Tax Clients

Why We Picked It

Liberty Tax is a competent online tax preparation service from a well-known brick-and-mortar tax preparer. Pages load fast, and its UI is simple and clean. Liberty Tax doesn’t have a standalone mobile app for Android or iOS, but you can complete and file a return in the browser on your phone or tablet. The mobile site gives you access to all the features and content included in the desktop version, except for a real-time total of your tax refund or obligation.

Who It’s For

Liberty Tax might appeal to taxpayers who have used it before and don’t want to deal with learning a new website. It might also be a good choice for current in-person clients of Liberty Tax who want to save money by trying to do their taxes on their own. It’s more expensive than Jackson Hewitt, though, and it lacks a state-of-the-art interface. It also doesn’t have the guidance you might need if you’re trying to maximize your refunds with a lot of income, credits, and deductions.

PROS

  • Pages load quickly
  • Covers self-employment topics
  • Great review process
  • Excellent mobile access

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Substandard user experience
  • Weak help content and little context-sensitive help
  • Some atypical navigation

SPECS

Imports Competitors’ Returns
All Major IRS Forms and Schedules
Comprehensive Navigational Outline
Chat Help
Phone Support for Tax Topics
Hyperlinked Help In Interview
Context-Sensitive Help
Searchable Help Database
Mobile Access

Buying Guide: The Best Mobile Tax Apps for 2024


How We Test Tax Apps

This year we reviewed eight personal tax preparation services and their companion mobile versions. Some of the mobile versions are dedicated apps for Android and iOS, while others are mobile versions of the websites, which you can access from any mobile browser.

Of the tax services we tested, the following use dedicated mobile apps: 

The services that use mobile versions of their websites are:

  • FreeTaxUSA

  • Jackson Hewitt

  • Liberty Tax

  • TaxAct

In our reviews of the best online tax services, we include information about the mobile access they provide and the quality of that access. You can read more about our two favorite apps in TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Which Tax Prep Software Is Best for Filing Your Taxes Online?

PCMag Logo Filing Your Taxes Online: What You Need to Know

How Much Does It Cost to Use a Tax App?

The best tax prep solutions cost more than $100 for their self-employed editions, but you’ll usually pay much less. There are a few free options, covered in the next section.

Most of the companies behind these applications offer multiple levels of their services. The price goes up the more forms and schedules you need to file. The best tax apps guide you to the right option by asking you questions about your tax situation before you even start filing. Prices also go up if you need to add extra help services. 

The prices are the same whether you use the tax prep and filing service on your desktop computer or a dedicated mobile app, and you can switch between them at any time. You don’t pay until you’re ready to file, so you can check out different sites without making a financial commitment.


What’s the Best Free Tax App?

Many people can prepare and file their taxes for free, but you have to know where to look.

For the first time ever, the IRS has a pilot program for people to file for free online directly. To qualify, you must have lived in one of the 12 states chosen for the program and you have to meet a few other requirements. The states are Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

Alternatively, you might qualify to use paid commercial software like TaxSlayer or TaxAct for free if your adjusted gross income is below $79,000 or you’re in the military through the IRS Free File Program. TurboTax and H&R Block no longer participate in the Free File Program, but there are several other choices.

Cash App Taxes is the only commercial app that’s free for both federal and state filing, no matter how simple or complex your taxes are. There are some tax situations that Cash App Taxes does not support, though they are not highly common.

Cash App Taxes mobile app

(Credit: Cash App Taxes/PCMag)

FreeTaxUSA is free for federal filing, but state tax returns cost $14.99 each, which is still very reasonable. Both Cash App Taxes and FreeTaxUSA support things like reporting self-employment income, capital gains, and rental income.

If your financial situation is simple enough that you need to file no more than a 1040 and a few other forms and schedules, several tax apps (TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxSlayer, to name a few) offer free editions you can use.

As always, you can file for free if you fill out the IRS forms and your state’s forms on paper and mail them.


Are Mobile Tax Apps Similar to the Desktop Versions?

Whether you’re viewing them on a spacious and beautiful monitor or a petite phone screen, personal tax preparation services work similarly. You don’t see the official IRS forms and schedules, though some apps give you a sneak peek of them. Instead, the apps ask you questions about your tax-related information, and as you answer them, it takes what it needs and fills in the IRS forms in the background. Since this process keeps you from having to enter data on any IRS forms, it reduces the amount you need to know about the ins and outs of the tax code and how it has changed over the last year.

If you’ve ever used a tax prep service on a desktop computer, you may wonder if getting the same experience on a smartphone is possible. The short answer is yes. We’ve been pleasantly surprised to see what the apps’ designers can do. Content is compressed, and there isn’t as much room for decorative graphics and big icons, but the small screens look remarkably similar to their desktop counterparts in many cases.

You have to scroll more to read help articles and simply to get through pages that have a lot of questions, but you can indeed complete a return that includes Form 1040, Schedules A through F, and myriad other supporting forms and schedules.

We don’t necessarily recommend you take on a big job using a smartphone. If your return is complex—if you have to file Schedule C for self-employment or Schedule D for cryptocurrency transactions—it will doubtless be easier to complete your tax return on a big screen with a full-size keyboard. But no matter where you start your tax preparation, you can continue it on any device by signing in with your username and password. So, you could work remotely on your phone and finish up on your laptop, or vice versa.


Which Tax Apps Have the Best Help?

Even if they didn’t have extensive help resources (which they do), tax websites and apps would still make tax prep easier than if you were filing using paper IRS forms and schedules. Their guidance can mean the difference between completing your return yourself and taking it to a professional—which may still be necessary if your financial situation is convoluted. Do-it-yourself tax prep is not for everyone.

Some of the best tax apps named in the list above are the products of well-known in-person tax prep companies (H&R Block, Liberty Tax, and Jackson Hewitt). If your tax prep gets to be too much for you, these companies are happy to have their tax professionals finish what you’ve started—for a fee. TurboTax and H&R Block offer more expensive versions that connect you to tax professionals via screen share, chat, or phone. You get unlimited access to this service year-round, which can be handy if you file an extension or do tax planning in the offseason.

TurboTax mobile app

(Credit: Intuit TurboTax/PCMag)

Tax apps have other kinds of help, too. For example, they put links next to some questions that open windows with an expanded explanation of the question. These explanations do not use the complicated language you see on IRS forms, for the most part. Nor do they cover topics in excruciating detail. They’ve been written and revised over many years to make tax concepts as simple and understandable as possible.

Recommended by Our Editors

Tax apps also have searchable help databases. Type in a word or phrase, and they provide links to articles on the topic. They may also tell you how to get to the page in the app where that information should appear. Most apps also have chat, phone, and email help, and some host online communities.


Should You Use IRS2Go?

You might want to check out another mobile tax app, one hosted by the Internal Revenue Service itself. IRS2Go, the official app of the IRS, includes a handful of tools that can help with tax preparation and filing. You can check the status of your refund by entering your Social Security number, filing status, and refund amount. If you file electronically, you should be able to get your status within 24 hours of the IRS receiving the transmission. The status of paper returns is usually available within four weeks. 

Individual taxpayers can submit payments directly from their bank accounts using IRS Direct Pay, a free, secure method. Credit card payments are accepted, too, for a fee, either online or by phone. The app accepts three approved payment processors.

IRS2Go mobile app

(Credit: IRS/PCMag)

IRS2Go points you to three other kinds of tax help. One is IRS Free File, described earlier. Another is a search tool that helps you find free tax help in your area if you are elderly, have a disability, speak limited English, or make less than $64,000 annually. Lastly, the AARP Tax-Aide Site Locator lets you search for nearby free tax preparation services or those with remote options. AARP volunteers focus especially on taxpayers who are 50 and older or who have low to moderate income.


Are Tax Apps Secure?

One note on filing your taxes with a mobile device: You need to think about security. The information in your taxes is, by definition, sensitive. All our recommended services take security seriously, but it’s important to do your part as well. 

Most of us don’t think enough about the security of our Wi-Fi traffic. If at any point in the filing process, you’re at all likely to use a Wi-Fi network you don’t control (for example, at a coffee shop, library, or airport), you should use a VPN app for Android or a VPN app for iPhone. If you’ve never used one, read up on why you need a VPN. If the VPN conflicts with your tax app, wait until you can connect to a network you control before doing anything else with your taxes.

Most mobile tax apps and websites support multi-factor authentication, which you should set up and use because it adds another layer of security to your online account.

One other important security fact to know is that the IRS will never call you or send you an email out of the blue to ask for private information. The agency prefers to communicate through written letters sent via the US Postal Service.


It’s Tax Time, Get Started!

However you choose to do your taxes, it’s definitely time to buckle down and get it done. The tax deadline of April 15 will be here before you know it.



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