2016-2017 Tax Season Software Deals, Key Tax Dates and IRS Tax Brackets Information

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Don’t like ’em but got to pay Uncle Sam to stay clean and fund the land we live in. Still pay as little as you have to with these top online e-file tax software packages. Thanks to being a prominent personal finance and tax blogger I get a lot of deals from tax software vendors through out tax season. But I only need one for myself so I thought I would share some of the best offers from each provider, some of which are exclusive to this site. If you find any better deals, post it in the comments below.


Here is a quick summary of the products shown below with some guidance to help you choose the best one for you:

The tech-savvy will prefer TurboTax, tax return worriers will gravitate to H&R Block and the thrifty will opt for TaxACT or e-File.

TurboTax is the most headache-free option, with a very intuitive user interface. From the simplest to the most complex return, TurboTax probably has you covered
H&R Block initially only a brick and mortar service, builds on this strength by offering a comprehensive online tax filing option. You can also get easy access to tax advisers if your taxes get complicated and you want to discuss with someone real (rather than the guided interface)
TaxACT and e-File are bargains as they try and compete (on price) with TurboTax and H&R block. If your return is simple and you want the lowest filing costs, then these providers are the way to go

Tax SoftwareCoupons and DiscountsFree-Filing Options

TurboTax - Choose Easy



H&R Block

H&R Block First Come, First Refunded 300x250

Online - H&R Block Online Free Edition



FREE Filing Tax Options

You can use the IRS Free e-Filing (online tax software filing) if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $64,000 or less. This free filing service is partnership between the IRS and major tax software providers. Note that participating tax software companies can set lower or higher AGI limits for using free file through their online service (see details in this article).

Most tax software provides guidance through the filing process via asking simple questions and putting your answers on the right forms. If does all the math and checks for accuracy. You normally get your refund within 21 days. The following well-known companies (always go with established companies for your taxes!) support the IRS free file e-filing option, but if you want more sophisticated help or have a higher AGI then you may have to pay for filing the return, due to the extra guidance/forms you receive.

TurboTax Free Edition: Turbo tax is the most used tax software and in the years that I have used it, I found it very easy to use thanks to it’s excellent step-by-step program to guide you through filling in your tax return. Like any commercial package though, they will try to “up-sell ” you, so make sure you check the options you really need. Overall, this is the best option for most online tax filers in my opinion.

H&R Block Online Free Edition: HR Block has the highest AGI income limit for free filing and a decent step-by-step guide for users, though not as user friendly and intuitive as other tax software filing options. You can also import last year’s tax data from Turbo Tax and certain other software packages.

Manual Free File Fillable Forms – Unlike the above software options which have an income eligibility to file a free return, if you go with the manual option there won’t be any income limitations. You will need to manually fill in the paper tax forms, check/validate your own numbers and file them online without tax software. That is. you choose, self-prepare, and e-file your 1040, 1040 A and/or 1040EZ return.

The IRS also offers free online tax filing support and guidance via the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers. This service is offered free of charge for those who make less than certain annual adjusted income limits (see IRS site for details). The VITA program is staffed by IRS-certified volunteers. In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

While filing your tax returns for free is a great option for those with lower incomes and simpler tax situations, what you are really paying the tax software providers is for the online assistance guiding you through the process for figuring your taxes and getting the largest refund possible. You also get audit support if any issues are found with your filing – for an extra fee off course if not due to the tax software provider calculations. Given the premium advice and tips you can get from most tax software, the cost of the additional options is more than offset by the larger refund you will likely get.

Tax Season Filing Deadlines

2016-2017 Tax Season Filing Key Dates and Deadlines

2017 Deadline
Tax Related Activity
January 1, 2017First day to file a 2016 tax return, though the IRS generally will not accept e-file and free file returns until the date below. Even paper based filings won't be processed till later in the month
January 23, 2017IRS E-file to go live, allowing submission of electronic tax returns for the vast majority of tax filers. Paper tax returns will begin processing from this date as well
January 31, 2017Date by which you should have received a W-2 from employers you worked for during the tax year. If not, contact their HR/Payroll department to resend tax documents
February 1, 2017Deadline for 1099 statements (factors in your AGI income) that report non-employee compensation, bank interest, dividends and distributions from a retirement plan. This date is also the deadline for self-employed individuals to file and pay in full their fourth-quarter estimated tax payment
February 16, 2017Financial institutions (e.g Vanguard, Fidelity) must mail out 1099-B, 1099-S and 1099-MISC forms by this date. See what these forms are and if you will need one for your return
March 15, 2017S Corporation and Partnership tax returns due
April 18, 2017*Tax Day* Last day for filing federal income tax returns and extension requests. Since April 15th is a Saturday and Monday is the Emancipation Day holiday the due date has been shifted out to Tuesday, April 18th.
April 18, 2017Deadline for filing state income tax returns (for most states) and extension requests. Last day to make a contribution to a Traditional or Roth IRA, Health Savings Account (HSA), SEP-IRA or 401(k)
June 15, 2017U.S. citizens or resident aliens living abroad must file tax returns and pay any taxes due by this date (or file for a four-month extension)
June 30, 2017FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) forms due for taxpayers who have over $10,000 in total in foreign bank accounts in the prior year. No extensions are allowed and forms must be filed electronically
October 15, 2017Filing approved extended federal, state and S-Corp/Partnership income tax returns Note: you still need to file for an extension request by April 17th
April 15, 2020Filing a 2016 tax amendment. You can file an amended or previous year return anytime, but you have a deadline of 3 years from the original due date to claim any tax refund.

Tax Bracket and Rate Tables

Estimated Refund Schedule

2017 Tax Season IRS Refund Schedule

IRS Accepts Return After
(WMR status = Return Received)
IRS Return Accepted Before (End Date)Estimated Refund Date (via Direct Deposit)Estimated Refund Date (via Paper Check)
January 23, 2017January 27, 2016February 5, 2016February 9, 2016
January 27, 2017February 3, 2017February 14, 2017February 16, 2017
February 3, 2017February 10, 2017February 21, 2017February 23, 2017
February 10, 2017February 15, 2017February 24, 2017February 28, 2017
February 15, 2017February 24, 2017March 7, 2017March 9, 2017
February 24, 2017March 3, 2017March 14, 2017March 16, 2017
March 3, 2017March 10, 2017March 21, 2017March 23, 2017
March 10, 2017March 17, 2017March 28, 2017March 30, 2017
March 17, 2017March 24, 2017April 4, 2017April 6, 2017
March 24, 2017March 31, 2017April 11, 2017April 13, 2017
March 31, 2017April 7, 2017April 18, 2017April 20, 2017
April 7, 2017April 14, 2017April 25, 2017April 27, 2017
April 14, 2017April 21, 2017May 2, 2017May 4, 2017
April 21, 2017April 28, 2017May 9, 2017May 11, 2017
April 28, 2017May 5, 2017May 16, 2017May 18, 2017
May 5, 2017May 12, 2017May 23, 2017May 25, 2017
May 12, 2017May 19, 2017May 30, 2017June 1, 2017
May 19, 2017May 26, 2017June 6, 2017June 8, 2017
May 26, 2017June 2, 2017June 13, 2017June 15, 2017
June 2, 2017June 9, 2017June 20, 2017June 22, 2017
June 9, 2017June 16, 2017June 27, 2017June 29, 2017
June 16, 2017June 23, 2017July 5, 2017July 7, 2017
June 23, 2017June 30, 2017July 11, 2017July 13, 2017
June 30, 2017July 7, 2017July 18, 2017July 20, 2017
July 7, 2017July 14, 2017July 25, 2017July 27, 2017
July 14, 2017July 21, 2017August 1, 2017August 3, 2017
July 21, 2017July 28, 2017August 8, 2017August 10, 2017
July 28, 2017August 4, 2017August 15, 2017August 17, 2017
August 4, 2017August 11, 2017August 22, 2017August 24, 2017
August 11, 2017August 18, 2017August 29, 2017August 31, 2017
August 18, 2017August 25, 2017September 5, 2017September 7, 2017
August 25, 2017September 1, 2017September 12, 2017September 14, 2017
September 1, 2017September 8, 2017September 19, 2017September 21, 2017
September 8, 2017September 15, 2017September 26, 2017September 28, 2017
September 15, 2017September 22, 2017October 3, 2017October 5, 2017
September 22, 2017September 29, 2017October 10, 2017October 12, 2017
September 29, 2017October 6, 2017October 17, 2017October 19, 2017
October 6, 2017October 13, 2017October 24, 2017October 26, 2017
October 13, 2017October 20, 2017October 31, 2017November 2, 2017
October 20, 2017October 27, 2017November 7, 2017November 9, 2017
October 27, 2017November 3, 2017November 14, 2017November 16, 2017
November 3, 2017November 10, 2017November 21, 2017November 23, 2017
November 10, 2017November 17, 2017November 28, 2017November 30, 2017
November 17, 2017November 24, 2017December 5, 2017December 7, 2017
November 24, 2017December 1, 2017December 12, 2017December 14, 2017
December 1, 2017December 8, 2017December 19, 2017December 21, 2017
December 8, 2017December 15, 2017December 26, 2017December 28, 2017
December 15, 2017December 22, 2017January 2, 2018January 4, 2018
December 22, 2017December 29, 2017January 9, 2018January 11, 2018
December 29, 2017January 5, 2018January 16, 2018January 18, 2018

Tax Refund and Return Customer Service Numbers

Some useful IRS Phone Numbers to Get More Information on Your Return and/or Refund
Talk To a Live Person
(800) 829-0582 Ext. 652

Tax Help Line
(800) 829-1040
for human? press 1 for English, then 0, 0 again

Refund Hotline
(800) 829-1954

TeleTax
(800) 829-4477
Taxpayer Advocate Service Hotline
1-877-777-4778

Turbo Tax Customer Service Line
(877) 908-7228

H&R Block Customer Service Line
(800) 472-5625

Full disclosure : while I may get a small commission when you sign-up for the above links, which helps me keep this site running, I did not get paid to put the above providers not the list. I actually believe they are the best providers our there and the deals to be genuine. For more see my terms of use policy.

Also, here are some tax related articles that may save you a few bucks:

See more in the Taxes and Retirement Planning category

Leave a Reply

18 Comments on "2016-2017 Tax Season Software Deals, Key Tax Dates and IRS Tax Brackets Information"

waiting

I hear that if you can order a transcript you will get your refund within 72 hours? I was able to order mine over the phone. Is this a good sign?

also waiting

I ordered my transcript (refund transcript) on Saturday (02/20/16) – two weeks after filing (02/06/16). I had no problem ordering them; however, I didn’t get my tax refund yet. On the 27th it will be 21 days. I helped a friend file his taxes on the same day (02/06/16) and he got his refund last week. I always hate waiting, but it’s not looking like the “72 hour” rule really applies.

lissa namch

Also Waiting, Have you gotten anything yet?

Louise Ossai

I filled over two weeks ago and I still haven’t seen any change on the Wheres my IRS tax refund. Why is it taking so much longer for my taxes to be processed? I only had 1 income and 1 dependent.

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Darlene Law

I lost my copy, of my taxes so that I can find out if it was mailed out yet or not. But I would need the amount to find it out. Cause I need to pay my rent for this mouth, I hop that you can help me cause I don’t need to be livining in the street. Thank you!

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James Baker

I bought my home in june 2010 I think as a vet its wrong I cant get a first time home owners tax credit served 8 yrs still missed it by 45 days there should be a wavier for people like me

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