5 Tax Preparation Services to Avoid This Year

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5 Tax Preparation Services to Avoid This Year

This tax season, there’s no shortage of tax preparation services to choose from. However, not all your choices are created equal. Some tax preparation services come with serious pitfalls that may make your tax filing process a lot more complicated than it needs to be. Combining this with high costs, hidden fees, and complex interfaces, certain software can turn what should be a straightforward process into a real headache.

For this reason, it’s vitally important for you to use discretion when choosing a tax preparation service. (Especially considering no two taxpayers are the same, and everyone has unique financial needs that must be satisfied to file properly and on time.) Let’s shine some light on five tax preparation services to avoid this tax season, paying close attention to all the ways they’re likely to let you down. Choose wisely!


CreditKarma home page.
CreditKarma is one of five tax preparation services to avoid this tax season.

Despite its part in the larger Intuit family, CreditKarma’s tax preparation service is not worth your time or effort. (This is especially true for those with intricate or otherwise not very straightforward finances, such as freelancers.) Truth be told, CreditKarma’s software lacks the depth needed for complex tax situations. It tends to oversimplify, making you miss potential money-saving deductions. Users may also face unexpected fees for certain forms and may experience limited customer support to boot.

H&R Block

H&R Block home page with pricing.
Despite its recognizable name, H&R Block is more trouble (and money) than it’s worth.

Like CreditKarma, H&R Block is another tax preparation service to avoid. For one, its services can be costly. Don’t be fooled by that alluring free offer the company peddles this time of year. Only the most simple of returns will get to enjoy that low-cost preparation. For the rest of us, we’ll be stuck with a much higher bill. Their online options have many hidden fees, and their overall pricing structure is not much clearer. Most filers can easily find cheaper alternatives elsewhere.


TaxSlayer home page.
TaxSlayer is a lesser-known software that you should avoid when filing taxes.

Though it doesn’t boast the same kind of brand recognition as CreditKarma or H&R Block, TaxSlayer nevertheless deserves a mention here. TaxSlayer’s user interface is not nearly intuitive enough for a tax preparation service in the 2020s. This often leads to plenty of frustration for its users. What’s more, its customer support is extremely lacking. Such limited guidance from TaxSlayer’s customer service department only leads to more possible mistakes in tax filings.


TurboTax home page.
Many professionals and individuals alike have urged people to avoid TurboTax.

Though Intuit puts a lot of money into advertising TurboTax as quick, easy, and affordable, its messy reputation tells the true story. TurboTax is cluttered with hidden fees, unexpected charges, confusing pricing models, and plenty of pressure to pay for additional services you probably don’t need. Many have reported difficulties in getting their refunds on time (let alone without inaccuracies). You’re better off avoiding this one at tax time.


TaxAct home page.
TaxAct’s hidden fees and hard-to-use software have left many disappointed.

TaxAct is another one of our tax preparation services to avoid this year. Like some of these other services listed, TaxAct has gotten a lot of complaints about its complex user interface and confusing cost structure. (Some have even gone as far as to say it’s intentionally complicated to get you to pay more without realizing it.) Similar to TurboTax, TaxAct tends to upsell you — and then leave you with a filing full of errors and a problematic return to boot.

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