I’m filing my taxes this year through a little-known company called FreeTaxUSA that I found out about through Bogleheads. It’s free to do federal filing (including itemized transactions, investments, and self employed income). Their business model is to give free federal returns and charge $13 for state. FreeTaxUSA properly handles backdoor Roth contributions (remember to enter IRA contributions first, then enter conversion info). I filled out my info at both FreeTaxUSA and TurboTax and got identical results.
My state offers a free e-file option if you fill it out directly on their website. It took me about 5-10 minutes to do so by extracting info directly from the 1040 produced by FreeTaxUSA. It probably wasn’t worth my time, but I like learning about the tax code so I actually enjoyed doing it. I got identical results at my state’s efile site as I did at FreeTaxUSA and TurboTax.
The above combination was easy enough that I see no reason to change it going forward in future years.
Had I not done backdoor Roth IRA Contributions this year, I probably would have simply filed my taxes at Credit Karma Tax, which does free federal + state in exchange for using your information to make targeted ads to you. Some people might be paranoid about the privacy here. Others may be skeptical of their ability to correctly calculate your tax liability. I think both fears are largely unjustified. The reason I avoided them is because I’ve read that they do not properly handle the backdoor roth transaction (at least in years past).
If you trust none of the above, I’d recommend purchasing a TurboTax CD at Costco or Amazon, which allows you to file up to 5 federal returns (the first state efile is free, though additional state efiles are separate). Then split the cost with friends/family.
If you happen to have moderate income or have a simple tax return, these two online versions of TurboTax are great:
https://turbotax.intuit.com/taxfreedom/ (must have < $33k AGI OR qualify for EITC)
https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/online/free-edition.jsp (must make < $100k and have no investment income)
After all was said and done, my 2017 tax calculator ended up being $21 off from my final tax liability (in percentage terms, this is less than 0.1% off). Not too shabby for a spreadsheet monkey (who hates accounting) that reversed engineered the tax code for fun! As a reminder, the spreadsheet handles:
* Investment income (dividends + cap gains)
* Mortgage interest
* Property tax
* Student loan interest
* Charitable contributions
* Medical expenses
* Standard vs itemized deductions
The spreadsheet does not handle:
* Saver’s credit
* Trad IRA deductibility phase out