Best Way to File Taxes in 2024: Say Goodbye to Paperwork & Pay Online!

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Written By kevin

A financial strategist with a knack for demystifying taxes and insurance, Kevin distills complex concepts into actionable advice.

Filing taxes can be tedious and time-consuming, especially when doing them on paper. In 2024, the best way to file your taxes is online using tax preparation software or professionally-assisted services. Online filing brings numerous benefits over paper filing:

  • Convenience: File your taxes entirely online from your computer or mobile device. No printing, mailing, or in-person meetings required.
  • Speed: Receive your tax refund much faster, with most e-filers getting refunds within 21 days versus 4-6 weeks for paper filing.
  • Accuracy: Online software does the math for you and flags common errors, ensuring 100% accuracy.
  • Cost savings: File your federal return for free and even state returns for no additional cost depending on the software.
  • Support: Get expert assistance from tax professionals over messaging, phone, video chat, etc.

The IRS expects over 90% of taxpayers will e-file their 2024 tax returns. This guide covers everything you need to know to easily file online, including choosing tax software, eligibility for free filing services, paying any taxes owed, and more.

Choosing Tax Software

With so many options for online tax preparation, selecting the right software for your unique tax situation is key. Here are the most important factors to consider:


The cost to file can vary greatly depending on the complexity of your tax return and income level. Many services offer free federal filing for simple returns and free state filing as well. Be sure to understand exactly what is covered under the free options before assuming your situation qualifies.

User Experience

You’ll spend hours entering tax information, so user-friendly and intuitive software is essential. Look for simple step-by-step guidance, easy importing of tax forms and prior year data, mobile app access, etc.

Accuracy Guarantees

Reputable tax software should guarantee 100% accuracy in calculations and maximum refund potential. This protects you in case an error leads to an audit or penalty.

Availability of Tax Forms

The software needs to support all tax forms and schedules relevant to your sources of income, deductions, tax credits, etc. This includes self-employment, investments, rental property, foreign income, and more.

Access to Tax Professionals

Many services provide different tiers of live support from tax professionals to help prepare your return and answer questions. Consider your need for assistance when choosing software.

Audit Support

Paid tax software usually includes expert audit representation and support if you ever get audited by the IRS or state tax authority. This can provide valuable peace of mind.

Top Recommendations

Based on the key selection criteria, here are top picks for DIY online tax filing in 2024:


TurboTax is the easiest to use tax software with exceptional guidance for filers at every level. It’s accurate, covers all situations, and provides robust support options. The user experience is unmatched.

H&R Block

H&R Block is best suited for those who want to file taxes independently with confidence. The DIY guidance and accuracy is excellent. Support options are more limited than TurboTax.


TaxAct matches TurboTax’s depth of coverage at a lower price point. It’s a great option if you want comprehensive software on a budget. Phone and chat support requires an upgrade fee.


TaxSlayer has one of the most affordable options for simple to intermediate tax situations. The user experience has improved but still lags competitors. Support is primarily self-service.

Filing Taxes for Free

If you meet certain income requirements, you can prepare and file your federal tax return for free using IRS-approved software and e-file services. Here are some of the main free filing options:

IRS Free File Program

This public-private partnership between the IRS and tax software providers enables free federal return filing for those earning $73,000 or less in 2023. Depending on the provider, free state filing may also be included. You can browse offers at

Free Fillable Forms

Regardless of income, you can electronically file a basic federal tax return through the IRS’s Free File Fillable Forms. This is best for those comfortable filling out tax forms manually without guidance.

Other Free Options

Additional free filing services are offered through IRS partners for military members and lower income filers. See the IRS site for details.

Paying Your Taxes

If you end up owing taxes for 2024, you have several quick and easy electronic payment options including:

  • Direct withdrawal from your bank account when e-filing
  • Debit or credit card through IRS Direct Pay
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) via your bank’s bill pay service

Paying electronically helps avoid mailing delays and ensures faster processing of any refunds owed to you. Just be aware that credit card and EFT payments may incur small third-party convenience fees.


Filing taxes online using e-file software is clearly the best way to tackle your 2024 tax return. It saves time, provides accuracy guarantees, allows expert support, enables free filing for many, and gets you refunds faster. Just be sure to choose the right software for your tax situation and payment abilities. Follow the guidance in this article to say goodbye to paperwork and pay online!

Categories Tax