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Best Tax Software in 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

The most sweeping tax reform legislation in decades was passed in 2018, and this is the first tax year when filers will feel the impact as they set out to prepare their taxes.

The impact on taxpayers will vary based on the individual. Some folks may get a bigger refund than expected, while others may owe extra money (especially if you’re a homeowner in a state with high property taxes). To help reduce any friction in the tax filing process and ensure that your records are filed correctly, choosing the right tax software is key. Software has only gotten better year after year, and in our third annual tax software roundup, we sought to find you the best tax software options out there.

We personally used all 13 of the products mentioned in this article. Our recommendations of the best tax software are specifically based on the following factors:

  1. How well the software meets the needs of the intended user (simple filers, stock traders, etc.)
  2. Price vs. product offerings
  3. Which has the best functionality (such as user interface, most imports, best navigation, etc.)

Which tax software fits your needs? Find out below. Please note, the prices for tax software change regularly. As the April 15th tax filing deadline approaches, prices for the software tend to increase.

Note: The prices reflected in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.

The Best Tax Software of 2019

Best free tax software

Of the 13 tax software packages we reviewed only two allow all users to file state and federal taxes for free.

Winner: Credit Karma Tax

Credit Karma TaxCredit Karma Tax has a clean user interface, limited jargon and easy navigation which makes it a top choice for free filers. Additionally, the built-in calculators make Credit Karma appropriate for even complex filers such as those with rental properties or side businesses. This year, Credit Karma Tax also offers an audit assistance guarantee which can be an excellent bonus for this free service.

Runner-up: DIY Tax

DIY Tax, also known as FreeTax.com, is a free service offered by Liberty Tax Service. DIY Tax has built in calculators to support stock traders and rental property owners, and it has excellent support articles. Despite the positives, its user interface is harder to use than the Credit Karma Tax interface. Experienced filers may be able to navigate the software, but newer filers should stay away.

Best tax software for basic filers

We consider “basic filers” to be W-2 employees who don’t need to itemize their taxes, and who only earn income from a W-2 job and interest from bank accounts. Our tax software recommendations for these filers are completely free (for simple filers), and the offer the easiest to use interfaces.

Winner: H&R Block Free

H&R Block FreeH&R Block is one of the most robust software solutions for people with W-2 jobs. Its free version allows you to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, student loan interest deduction, the Child Tax Credit and the Dependent Care Credit, and the Retirement Saver’s Credit.

Runner-up: TurboTax Free Edition

TurboTax Free Edition offers a simple question and answer navigation style which makes it easy to file your taxes. Using the free edition you can claim the earned income tax credit and a child tax credit (but not dependent care credits). Filers who don’t need to itemize or claim other credits will find that TurboTax offers a great experience

Best tax software for students and recent grads

Most students and recent grads have fairly simple tax returns, but many will need to claim the Student Loan Interest Deduction, the Retirement Saver’s Credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. These recommendations offer the easiest to use platforms that are free for students and recent grads.

Winner: H&R Block Free

H&R Block Free If you’ve got student loan interest, you can claim an “above the line” deduction for it. However, most tax filing services require you to pay for this deduction. With H&R Block Free edition, you can claim the Student Loan Interest Deduction, the Earned Income Tax Credit, Retirement Saver’s Credit and other critical credits to lower your tax burden. The one drawback to H&R Block Free is that you can only enter W-2 and interest income while still qualifying for the free service. If you’re a side hustler, look to the runner-up, Credit Karma Tax

Runner-up: Credit Karma Tax

H&R Block Free is easier to use than Credit Karma Tax, but Credit Karma Tax is completely free for all users. If you’re a student or recent grad employed in the gig economy (driving for Uber, or renting out a room on Airbnb, etc.), Credit Karma Tax is the best choice for you.

Best tax software for itemizers

In 2019, fewer people than ever before will itemize their taxes. That’s because the new tax laws increased the standard deduction, and the deduction for state and local taxes is limited to $10,000. However, if you’re someone who pays state and local taxes, has mortgage interest to deduct and gives charitably, you may pay less to the federal government by itemizing your taxes.

Read more: Should You Itemize Your Taxes This Year?

Winner: Credit Karma Tax

Credit Karma Tax People who qualify to itemize can use Credit Karma to file their state and federal taxes for free. Credit Karma makes it easy to claim deductions for state and local taxes, mortgage interest and charitable contributions. The interface is clean, and Credit Karma Tax offers free audit assistance guarantees. That means a tax specialist will help you if the IRS audits you. This is an important bonus for itemizers in 2019.

Runner-up: TaxSlayer Classic

TaxSlayer Classic has an easy to use question and answer interface that rivals top contenders H&R Block and TurboTax. Using the interface, you’re unlikely to miss even the most obscure of tax deductions. However, TaxSlayer Classic costs $17 to file your federal taxes and $29 for state taxes, and it doesn’t come with audit protection like Credit Karma Tax.

Best tax software that offers audit protection

The IRS has the right to audit anyone, but people with complex taxes run a greater audit risk. No tax software (or accountant) can prevent you from getting audited. However, some tax software will give you access to a tax specialist or accountant if you undergo an audit. These are the software services that can lend a hand if you need it.

Winner: Credit Karma Tax

Credit Karma Tax In addition to being a free tax filing software, Credit Karma Tax offers a free audit assistance guarantee. If you’re nervous about the potential for an audit, filing with Credit Karma Tax is a good move in 2019.

Runner-up: FreeTaxUSA Deluxe

FreeTaxUSA Deluxe costs $6.99 for federal filing and $12.95 for state filing, and this price includes an audit assistance guarantee. If you’re audited, FreeTaxUSA’s audit specialists will help you understand the issues and help you prepare for the audit. FreeTaxUSA is a software worth considering if you want audit assistance.

Best tax software for stock traders

If you buy and sell stocks, bonds, or options outside of your tax-advantaged retirement accounts, you need a tax software that can handle all your information. Tax software for traders must allow users to import their brokerage statements and have internal calculators that minimize capital gains. Please note, if you only sell a dozen or so positions per year, you may want to consider a free service like Credit Karma Tax.

Winner: TaxAct Premier+

TaxAct Premier+  TaxAct Premier+ allows stock traders to import tax forms from most major brokerages, and it is a bit less expensive than competitors- $39.95 for federal filing and $39.95 for state filing.

Runner Up: H&R Block Premium – Online version

H&R Block Premium online software costs $49.99 for federal filing and $36.99 for state filing. But the price is well worth for active traders. H&R Block allows you to import all major forms from many financial institutions.

On top of allowing users to import tax documents, H&R Block also has accurate accounting for short-term gains and losses. This functionality helps investors minimize the tax they owe.

Best tax software for real estate investors

Real estate investors need to calculate depreciation on their properties, and they need to amortize certain expenses and deduct others. If you’ve sold property in the last year, you’ll also need to calculate your capital gains taxes. With all these moving parts, filing taxes can be confusing for real estate investors. The best tax software for real estate investors needs to feature helpful support articles, intuitive depreciation and amortization calculators, and as many import features as possible.

Winner: TurboTax Premier

TurboTax PremierTurboTax Premier costs $59.99 for federal filing and $39.99 for state filing, but despite the high cost, real estate investors will love it. The real estate portion of TurboTax is superior to all other interfaces on the market. If you use QuickBooks software to manage your real estate accounting, you can connect it directly to TurboTax. If you don’t, you can still upload a Schedule E or use the robust calculators embedded in the software.

Runner-up: Credit Karma Tax

Credit Karma Tax isn’t nearly as easy to use as TurboTax Premier because you cannot connect the software to any accounting app. However, it still offers plenty of functionality for real estate investors. Plus, it’s totally free. It’s built-in calculators make it easy to depreciate or amortize expenses. Its question and answer section also help real estate investors determine whether they qualify for the qualified business income deduction.

Best tax software for self-employed people

Are you a freelancer or contractor? If so, you know that you can deduct many business-related expenses. This means that taxes can get messy in a hurry. The best tax software for self-employed people makes it easy to claim business deductions. It will also offer robust explanations that will help you understand amortizing equipment expenses and whether you qualify for a home office deduction.

Winner: TaxSlayer Classic

TaxSlayer Classic TaxSlayer Classic has one of the easiest to use interfaces in the market, and it’s Classic level makes filing self-employment expenses easy. Plus the Classic level comes with IRS inquiry assistance (audit assistance) for a full year after filing. At just $17 for federal filing and $29 for state filing, TaxSlayer is a bargain for people

Runner-up: TurboTax Self-employed

TurboTax Self-employed offers incredible value to self-employed users. It’s the most expensive product on the market ($89.99 for federal filing and $39.99 per state), but it comes with incredible service. User can reach out to certified tax specialists with an questions, and users who file before the April 15th deadline can get a free subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed. When you combine those advantages with TurboTax’s unparalleled user interface, the software can be a great choice despite the price tag.

Runner-up: Credit Karma Tax

Credit Karma Tax doesn’t have all the functionality of TurboTax or TaxSlayer, but it is completely free. If your business has straightforward accounting, Credit Karma Tax may offer all the functionality you need.

Best tax software for small businesses

Sole proprietors and single member LLCs can use tax software for self-employed people, but if you’re part of a partnership, a corporation, or a multi-member LLC, then you need more than the standard tax software that we reviewed above.

Corporations need software that supports Form 1120. S Corporations (with more than one member) need tax software that supports Form 1120S. Partnerships and multi-member LLCs need software that supports Form 1065.

Since business tax software is different from individual tax software, MagnifyMoney reviewed just three packages. The software packages include TurboTax Business, H&R Block Premium and Business and TaxAct for Small Businesses.

Winner: H&R Block Premium and Business

H&R Block Premium and BusinessH&R Block Premium and Business costs $89.95 for the federal and State software (this includes up to five federal e-files. State e-filing costs $19.95 per state. Additional state programs are $39.95 each. H&R Block offers an excellent interview style user interface that DIY business owners need. Plus the software allows users to create employee forms, and it supports the major forms for businesses, plus the form for nonprofit organizations. For most business owners that want to file their own taxes, H&R Block Premium and Business offers excellent value for the price.
Credit Karma Tax is a completely free filing service, and it has a decent user interface. Unfortunately, it has had several technical glitches this year, and Credit Karma has struggled to respond in a timely manner. If you run into trouble, you may want to try a different filing service.

Runner-up: TurboTax Business

TurboTax Business is one of the most expensive software packages on the market. It costs $159.99 for the federal software (which includes up to five federal e-files). On top of that, you’ll pay $59.99 per state and $19.99 per state e-filing fee. However, for most business owners the interface may be worth the price. TurboTax Business offers the same interview style interface that consumers love, but it offers increased functionality. Small business owners will especially love that they can use it to create unlimited W-2 forms and 1099-MISC forms.

Tax Software pricing, plans, and insights

In 2019, MagnifyMoney reviewed 13 unique tax software packages, and selected the best tax software options from those packages. Below, you can learn more about the each tax software, it’s pricing structure, and what to expect when you use it.

Credit Karma Tax

Credit Karma TaxCredit Karma Tax offers free federal and state filing for all users. Credit Karma also offers an audit assistance guarantee for its users. The software doesn’t allow any imports, but it’s clean user interface is easy to use and includes helpful knowledge bubbles that explain tax jargon. Users also can get free technical help when filing through Credit Karma Tax.

Superlatives: Best free tax software, Best tax software for itemizers, Best tax software that offers audit protection, Runner-up best tax software for real estate investors, Runner-up Best tax software for self-employed

DIY Tax

DIY TaxDIY Tax offers free federal and state filing for everyone. It’s user interface is cluttered and the navigation can prove to be confusing. However, the calculators in the software are accurate.

However, real estate investors and small business owners need to be careful with this platform. The depreciation and amortization calculators can be confusing. The software comes with limited technical assistance, but they push Liberty Tax Service offices for more robust tax support. The software doesn’t come with an audit support guarantee.

DIY Tax is sponsored by Liberty Tax Service, and you will see ads for its offices in the software. However, filing in a Liberty Tax office isn’t free.

Superlatives: Runner-up Best Free Filing Service

eSmart Tax

eSmart TaxeSmart Tax and DIY Tax are the same software package. However, you have to pay for eSmart Tax. Why would you pay? The Deluxe and Premium packages offer unlimited phone or email support from tax specialists. This is important if you need tax questions answered. However, in most cases, eSmart Tax is a software package to avoid, it’s simply too expensive to be considered worthwhile.

 

FreeBasicDeluxePremium
Price$0 Federal
$29.99 State
$34.95 Federal
$36.95 State
$45.95 Federal
$36.95 State
$59.95 Federal
$36.95 State
Best For1040EZHomeowners, people with dependents, sole proprietorsStock market investors without capital gains or lossesFreelancers, real estate investors, people who sold a home in the previous years

Superlatives: None

TaxSlayer

TaxSlayerTaxSlayer has an incredible question and answer user interface and helpful support articles. When it comes to itemizing deductions or finding credits, it is one of the easiest to use tax software packages on the market.

Unlike most tax software, TaxSlayer supports all forms on its second-tier Classic level. This means that anyone could complete their entire tax return at a relatively low price. TaxSlayer’s Premium and Ultimate levels gives you access to live chat support, audit protections, and help from tax professionals. The Self Employed tier offers similar but it doesn’t offer audit protection.

However, TaxSlayer has one demerit. It doesn’t allow you to see internal calculations for depreciation and amortization. That makes TaxSlayer inappropriate if you’re a real estate investor or self-employed.

TaxSlayer is also the only software company offering an interest free advance on your refund is TaxSlayer. With TaxSlayer you can get an advance of $500 or $1,000 after the IRS accepts your file. The loan is deposited on a TaxSlayer Prepaid Visa® Card powered by Green Dot. The card charges a $7.95 monthly fee, so you’ll want to use your refund quickly. After your refund appears, TaxSlayer will repay itself and then deposit the remainder of your ` in your bank account.

 

Simply FreeClassicPremiumSelf employedUltimate
Price$0 Federal
$0 First State ($29 each additional)
$17 Federal
$29 State
$37 Federal
$29 State
$47 Federal
$29 State
$57 Federal
$29 State
Best For1040EZAll others (itemizers, stock market investors, real estate investors, self-employed, etc.)Comes with audit assistance, ask a task professional, and live chat support

Superlatives: Best for self-employed, Runner-up Best for Itemizers

TaxAct

TaxAct TaxAct uses simple questions, helpful knowledge articles, and easy navigation to help you complete your taxes. It’s even easy to import your prior year’s taxes into the software. The one area where TaxAct shin

Despite all these praises, the software stumbles somewhat on its real estate coverage. The depreciation calculator seems clumsy in certain areas. Plus, it’s interface isn’t as easy to use as most of the top software packages, but it’s prices are nearly as high.

Overall, TaxAct tends to be a software to avoid unless you’re an active stock trader.

 

FreeBasic+Deluxe+Premier+Self- employed+
Price$0 Federal
$0 State
$9.95 Federal
$19.95 State
$29.95 Federal
$39.95 State
$34.95 Federal
$39.95 State
$49.95 Federal
$39.95 State
Best For1040EZ, 1040A (no dependents, claiming standard deduction)People with dependents claiming the standard deductionPeople with student loan interest, other itemizers.Real estate investors, stock market investorsSelf-employed people and contractors.

Superlatives: Best for Stock Traders

OLT.com

OLT.comOLT.com offers bargain basement pricing, but it shows in the interface. It’s clumsy user interface only allows you to import prior year tax forms from its own database. Its support articles send you to the even more confusing IRS website.

However, OLT.com offers a few bright spots. The health insurance coverage is easy and accurate. It is the only tax software that makes it easy to claim the premium tax credit for part of the year. Also, the real estate depreciation calculators are flexible enough to deal with complex circumstances. In most cases, we don’t recommend OLT.com since there are free options that offer better service.

 

FreePremium
Price$0 Federal
$9.95 State
$7.95 Federal
$7.95 State
Best ForAll major schedules supportedAnyone who wants audit support

Superlatives: None

1040.com

1040.com - Tax Software Pricing According to 1040.com, tax filing should be smart and simple, and to a certain extent, 1040.com delivers. The software is friendly and informative. It offers free live chat and email technical support. It also offers support articles that are approachable and informative.

Unfortunately, it’s friendly interview style interface starts to falter if you’re a real estate or stock market investor. The software doesn’t have built-in calculators which makes it inappropriate for people with complex filing situations.

Although 1040.com is easy to use and has a decent interface for people with simple filing situations, it’s not a recommended software. Users in most filing situations can find less expensive software options that deliver more value.

 

Free$24.95$44.95
Price$0 Federal
$0 State
$24.95 Federal
$19.95 State
$44.95 Federal
$24.95 State
Best For1040EZStock market investorsSelf-employed, real estate investors, itemizers

Superlatives: None

H&R Block Online

H&R Block OnlineH&R Block is one of the biggest names in tax software for good reason. People with complex tax returns will love the value that H&R Block offers. H&R Block offers unlimited technical support to all filers, and phone and chat tax support for those who pay. The only disappointment is that H&R Block online filing customers do not get a free in-person audit support. This is reserved for those who purchase a $119.99 (plus $36.99 per state) Tax Pro Review service.

However, H&R Block offers easy navigation, helpful interview questions, and robust articles that can help you untangle even the most complex filing situation. H&R Block’s built-in calculators are flexible enough to deal with uncommon tax situations. Plus, you can import most major forms, including prior year’s tax returns from competitors. H&R Block’s software isn’t quite as easy to use as TurboTax, but it’s less expensive in most situations.

 

FreeDeluxePremiumSelf-employed
Price$0 Federal
$0 State
$29.99 Federal
$36.99 State
$49.99 Federal
$36.99 State
$79.99 Federal
$36.99 State
Best ForNew filers, people with dependents, people with student loan debt.Best for itemizersReal estate investors, self-employed people with less than $5,000 in expenses, stock market tradersSelf-employed with more than $5,000 in expenses

Superlatives: Best for Simple Filers, Best for Students and Recent Grads, Runner Up Best for Stock Traders

TurboTax

TurboTax If you’re looking for the Cadillac of tax software, TurboTax emerges as the winner. The interface is easy to use no matter how complicated your tax situation is. And anyone who pays for the service can get help from tax professionals. And the professional help is a step above most other providers. With your permission, support staff can “draw” on your screen to guide you through tough situations.

Real estate investors, self-employed people and small business owners will appreciate TurboTax’s robust interface. However, TurboTax is consistently the most expensive software, so only users who really need TurboTax’s features should pay for the high price.

 

FreeDeluxePremiumSelf-Employed
Price$0 Federal
$0 State
$39.99 Federal
$39.99 State
$59.99 Federal
$39.99 State
$89.99 Federal
$39.99 State
Best ForW-2 employees, people with children but no dependent care costs.Itemizers, people with dependent care costsInvestors, real estate investorsSelf-employed

TurboTax also offers TurboTax Live where you can get help from a CPA. Federal costs range from $49.99 to $169.99 for federal filing and $29.99 to $39.99 for state filing. This offer is available when you create an account with TurboTax.

Superlatives: Best for Real Estate Investors, Runner-up Best for Simple Filers, Runner-up Best for Self-Employed.

FreeTaxUSA

FreeTaxUSAFreeTaxUSA and TaxHawk offer the same tax software at the same price. They are owned by the same parent company, and you can even move your profile from one site to the next. The websites offer a decent user experience, and experienced filers will find everything they need to complete their taxes.

FreeTaxUSA offers two pricing tiers. Both levels support all major tax forms. Users can also access chat support from tax and technical specialists from both levels. However, upgrading to the Deluxe level will give you priority access to tax specialists, and it gives users audit support.

The name might lead you to believe you’re getting free tax filing, but you’ll have to pay at least $12.95 for state filing. Nonetheless, FreeTaxUSA is a great bargain — especially if you have a complex filing situation.

 

FreeDeluxe
Price$0 Federal
$12.95 State
$6.99 Federal
$12.95 State
Best ForAll major schedules supportedAnyone who wants audit support

Superlatives: Runner-up Best Audit Protection

Jackson Hewitt Online

Jackson Hewitt OnlineJackson Hewitt brings the neighborhood tax filing office online. They feature excellent knowledge articles and easy interview style tax filing. It’s easy to import your taxes from any major competitor or from Jackson Hewitt. This makes switching to Jackson Hewitt Online easy.

Jackson Hewitt Online has some excellent features including built-in calculators make depreciation and amortization easy. It also offers live chat tech support to all its customers. However, the navigation and built-in knowledge articles are subpar. Those drawbacks make Jackson Hewitt online somewhat difficult to use.

Overall, the Jackson Hewitt Online software is a middle of the pack software, and most users can find better software at lower prices.

It’s important to note that this review is only for the online Jackson Hewitt software package. Magnify Money did not review Jackson Hewitt office preparations.

 

Free$29.99$49.99
Price$0 Federal
$0 State
$29.99 Federal
$36.95 State
$49.99 Federal
$36.95 State
Best For1040EZ

Superlatives: None

Liberty Tax Online

Liberty Tax  Online Liberty Tax Online is identical to DIY Tax and eSmart Tax, but the price is quite a bit higher. While the clunky user interface doesn’t make tax filing easy, the high price tag actually might be worthwhile to some consumers. Unlike Liberty Tax’s other software projects, Liberty Tax Online comes with a Double Check Guarantee.

With the double check guarantee, users can fill out their tax return online and then visit a Liberty Tax retail location. In the Liberty Tax retail outlet, a tax professional will review the user’s form before filing. If you miss anything important, a certified professional can help you out. All of Liberty Tax Online’s packages come with audit assistance guarantees as well.

 

SimpleBasic EditionDeluxePremium
Price$24.95 Federal
$35.95 State
$34.95 Federal
$39.95 State
$54.95 Federal
$39.95 State
$79.95 Federal
$39.95 State
Best ForW-2 Income only.Itemizers, Self-employed people with less than $5,000 in expensesSelf employed peopleStock market traders, real estate investors, people who sold a home in the previous year

Superlatives: None

ezTaxReturn

ezTaxReturnezTaxReturn has a clean and fairly easy to use interface for people with simple filing situations, but it doesn’t support state returns in every state. Plus, the software is a mess for people with complex filing scenarios need to avoid it. ezTaxReturn doesn’t have built in calculators to depreciate rental property or business depreciation. Additionally, the software only supports one rental property. It also doesn’t support many capital gains calculations such as wash sales, options trading, or selling a rental property.

The only way to qualify for ezTaxReturn’s free offer is if you qualify for the earned income tax credit (EITC), and you don’t have dependents, and you only have W-2 or interest income. Since knowing whether you qualify for the free software can be a challenge, it’s best for most people to avoid ezTaxReturn in 2019.

 

FreeAll others
Price$0 Federal
$0 State
$29.95 Federal
$19.95 State
$39.95 Federal + State
Best ForSimple filers in some states*Anyone else who qualifies.

*ezTaxReturn supports these states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin. Free returns for Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and Utah.

Superlatives: None

Tax Software FAQs

Tax-related identity theft is the number one reported form of identity theft. However, most theft isn’t the direct result of using online software. Any time you apply for a credit card or use online banking, your information enters the digital world. If this information gets stolen, you’re at risk. Nobody can eliminate the possibility of identity theft, but you can work to protect yourself.

Part of protecting yourself involves only giving out your information on trusted websites. When you file your taxes, you provide all your personally identifiable information to a software service. You need to know whether or not that information is safe.

Every software company that we reviewed is an Authorized IRS e-File provider. This means that these sites comply with the security and business standards set forth by the IRS.

None of the software packages we reviewed will sell your personal information to a third party. Each of the software packages we reviewed requires you to use multi-factor authentication. This makes it difficult for hackers to access your personal information. These websites are as secure as possible, but they are not 100% safe.

If you think you’ve been the victim of tax fraud, contact the IRS immediately at 1-800-908-4490 to work with the IRS resolution specialists. You will need to file an identity theft affidavit that explains that someone filed taxes in your name.

If you don’t want to use tax software, you can choose a paper filing option. Each state requires you to mail your check to a different office.You can also use the IRS’s free electronic fillable forms. However, these offer limited guidance and can be difficult to use. With so many other free options, these should be a last resort.

Finally, you can hire a professional tax preparer to do your taxes for you. Be sure that the person you hire is in the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.

An accountant can save you time, headache, and in some cases, money. Tax professionals must follow the tax code, but their specialized knowledge helps them pick up on deductions or credits that you might miss on your own.

In general, the more complex your tax return, the more you may want to hire an accountant. If you choose to hire an accountant, be sure that they are an authorized tax return preparer. They should sign your return as an authorized preparer.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Hannah Rounds
Hannah Rounds |

Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here

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Best of

Best Savings Account Bonus Offers

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

There’s no shortage of checking account bonus offers, with everyone from small local banks to the big household names offering hundreds of dollars to new customers. Banks know it’s hard to get you to leave your old bank, especially when you’re comfortable with the accounts you have. But what better way to entice you than with a big cash bonus?

You’ll find these bonus offers attached to more checking accounts than savings accounts. After all, checking accounts are a crucial part to banking, as they allow you to easily access your money for purchases and transfers.

That’s not to say there aren’t any opportunities to earn money with a new savings account. We’ve found five of the best savings account bonus offers as of the date of publishing. It’s easy to go straight for the highest amount, but pay attention to the bank and the account you’re getting ready to open. Make sure it’s a bank you actually want to do business with.

Further, double check that you’ll be happy with the new account for months to come. It can take months to meet the offer requirements and even longer to actually receive the bonus. If there’s a monthly fee on the account, you could be stuck paying that unnecessary fee, especially if you can’t meet the balance requirements to waive it. You may not even be happy with the interest rate on the account, which might make the savings account bonus offer not entirely worth it.

The 5 best savings account bonus offers in 2019

Methodology

To find the best savings account bonus offers, we looked for the highest bonus amounts offered. Below, you’ll find the five biggest bonus offers on savings accounts being offered. Offers are current as of this publication date and we will update the article periodically to show the freshest ranking.

Citi — $500 bonus with $15,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2019

Offer rules: You must be a new Citibank customer and open a Citibank Account Package, which includes a checking and savings account. Within 30 days of opening these accounts, you must deposit at least $15,000 in either of these two accounts with money new to Citibank, and maintain a minimum balance across both accounts of $15,000 for 60 days.

After meeting the above requirements, you’ll get $400 in bonus money deposited into your checking account (or savings account if you’ve closed the checking account). If you make at least two ACH deposits into the checking account portion of the Account Package within 60 days of opening the account, you’ll receive an additional $100.

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Account details: There’s a $25 monthly maintenance fee, which you can avoid be keeping a minimum of $10,00 deposited across both accounts (which you’ll want to do anyone in order to qualify for the bonus, which requires a minimum of $15,000). You may not want a checking account and are free to close it, but keep in mind in order to get the $100 bonus (to bring the total amount to $500) you need to make the ACH deposits into a checking account, not a savings account.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Citi’s secure website

Discover — $200 bonus with $25,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/3/2019

Offer rules:Discover customers can benefit from a $200 bonus by opening a Discover Online Savings account for the first time by June 3, 2019, which is the same date this offer ends. You’ll then need to deposit at least $25,000 into the account by June 17, 2019.

If you can’t meet that minimum amount, you can earn a $150 bonus instead by depositing at least $15,000 into the new account by June 17, 2019.

The bonus will be credited to your account by July 1, 2019.

Who’s eligible: You must be a new Discover savings customer to qualify for this savings account bonus offer. You must not have had a savings account that was co-branded or an affinity account provided by Discover either.

You can apply for the offer with the code “MM519” either online or by phone.

Account details: Discover’s Online Savings Account earns at a competitive interest rate of 2.10% on all balances. There’s no monthly service fee and Discover promises no hidden fees. You’ll only face a charge for excessive withdrawals, stop payments, insufficient funds and outgoing wire transfers. Discover will waive the first excessive withdrawal, insufficient funds or stop payment fee you encounter each calendar year. Keep in mind that the bonus is considered interest and will be reported on a 1099-INT form.

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Chase — $150/$350 bonus with $10,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 7/15/2019

Offer rules: In another bonus offer from Chase, you can get $150 when you open a new Chase Savings account. You’ll need to deposit at least $10,000 in new money (not previously held with Chase or its affiliates) within 20 business days and maintain at least that minimum balance for 90 days.

Want to do more banking with Chase and open a Chase Total Checking account, too? Opening both a new checking and savings account can get you a $350 bonus, as long as you follow the above savings account rules and set up direct deposit on your new checking account.

Who’s eligible: You’re eligible for the Chase Savings account bonus offer if you are not already a Chase savings customer. You also cannot have had an account that was closed within 90 days or with a negative balance.

If you close this new savings account within six months after opening, Chase will deduct the bonus amount from the account at closing.

Account details: The Chase Savings account earns interest at a nominal rate of 0.01% APY, which isn’t ideal for savings growth. There is a $5 monthly fee on the account. You can waive the fee with one of the following, each statement period:

  • A daily balance of at least $300
  • At least one repeating automatic transfer of $25 or more from your personal Chase checking account or Chase Liquid® Card
  • An account owner who is younger than 18
  • Linking this account to a Chase Premier Plus Checking, Chase Sapphire Checking or Chase Private Client Checking account

You could also face a $5 fee for each excessive transaction you make over the six-transfer limit per statement cycle.

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Associated Bank — $100 bonus with $10,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 12/31/2019

Offer rules: Opening a new Associated Bank Money Market account can get you a $100 bonus. You’ll need to deposit at least $10,000 in new money (held outside Associated Bank) at opening and maintain at least that much in the account for 90 days to receive the bonus.

The bonus will be paid within 120 days of account opening if you meet the requirements. The account must be open at that time. You must also keep the account open for at least 12 months.

Who’s eligible: You can redeem this offer online or by taking a coupon sent via email to an Associated Bank branch. This offer is limited to one per household. Households who have or have had an Associated Bank Money Market account within the last six months do not qualify. You must be 18 years or older to apply for the bonus. If you close the new account within 12 months of opening, Associated Bank can deduct the bonus amount from your funds at closing.

Account details: The Associated Bank Money Market account is a true money market account, with the ability to write convenience checks and access Associated Bank and MoneyPass ATMs. It earns interest, too, between 0.05% and 1.00% APY. You can earn at higher rates by having a higher balance and a qualifying Associated checking account.

The money market account does charge a $16 fee, which you can waive by maintaining a $1,000 minimum balance.

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First Tennessee — $50 bonus with $5,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2019

Offer rules: When you open a new First Tennessee Money Market Savings account with at least $2,000 you have a chance at earning a $50 bonus. To snag the offer, you must also deposit a total of at least $5,000 in the first 30 days of account opening. Your deposits must be made from accounts outside of First Tennessee Bank.

Who’s eligible: To redeem the offer, you can open the account online with the Promo code “SVSC50.” You can also visit a First Tennessee branch and present a copy of the offer. You must be a resident of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee or certain parts of Virginia (Bristol, Weber City, Gate City) to qualify. You must also be a new customer to the bank, meaning households with current consumer savings accounts or accounts closed within the past 12 months at First Tennessee Bank or Capital Bank cannot redeem the offer.

Account details: The bank’s Money Market Savings account earns interest according to balance tiers, so the higher your balance, the higher the rate. Overall, however, the rates are relatively low, ranging between 0.01% and 1.00% APY. You’ll need $250,000 or more to earn at the highest level.

You can access your Money Market Savings funds through ATM or check. There is a $9 monthly fee on the account. You can waive the fee with either a qualifying checking account or if your total combined balance in First Tennessee accounts is at least $5,000.

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How do these accounts compare to the best online savings accounts?

When looking for the best online savings accounts, you won’t find much overlap here. Bonus offers tend to come from brick-and-mortar banks, as incentives for you to place your deposits with them.

Online banks still win by and large. But don’t let these financial carrots mislead you into thinking they are the best on the market — many of the best accounts are being offered by online banks these days. Online accounts tend to have the highest interest rates and the lowest fees — what more could you want? That’s why you’ll find most sign-up bonuses being offered by brick-and-mortar banks.

Know the pros and cons. You should figure out whether it’s worth it for you to open a new account with a traditional bank just for a bonus offer. Don’t forget, you can’t open a new account for a bonus offer and close it immediately. Qualifying for and receiving the bonus takes months. You could even lose your bonus offer if you close the account too soon. Plus, a savings account bonus offer is a short-term boost in savings, rather than the ongoing growth of a high-yield account. It won’t help your savings situation if your new account charges a monthly fee that you can’t waive, either.

Factor in fees. If you do desperately want to snag a couple hundred dollars by opening a new account, make sure you won’t be paying a monthly fee for the months you have the account. That way, you won’t lose any of that bonus right off the bat. Again, double check the account’s closing terms to ensure you won’t lose the bonus at closing, either. It’s also important to be able to meet the account’s minimum balance requirements. It may not make sense for you to keep $10,000 in a low-earning account just to earn a $200 bonus, for example.

Do the math. Let’s say you do deposit and maintain $10,000 in a new savings account that has an interest rate of 0.01%, which is typical of brick-and-mortar savings accounts. After a year, you’ll have earned $1 in interest. Add that to your $200 bonus and you can add a whopping $201 to your savings. Now, if you were to forgo the bonus offer and deposit your $10,000 into a high-yield savings account with a 2.25% APY, you’ll earn just over $227 after a year (with monthly compounding) — a better savings boost than the savings account bonus offer.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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