Tax season in the US presents challenges not found anywhere else in the world. Several software options have popped up across the internet to make this process easier. TaxSlayer is one of them, allowing its users to file both federal and state taxes electronically through a cloud-based system. It has gained a Better Business Bureau rating of ‘A+’, the highest possible rating it could get. Although it has plenty of competitors on the market, such H&R Block, TurboTax, TaxAct and FreeTaxUSA, we’ve found it to stand head and shoulders above the rest. It features several unique aspects that make it a standout tax client in our eyes.
|Tiered pricing to suit any needs||Little educational content|
|Easy-to-use software||Access to tax pro only with some packages|
|24/7 tech support||Searchable database smaller than some|
|Military discounts||Tax audit services only available for some|
|Mobile app available|
|Refund of fees available|
|Free option for some taxpayers|
|Widely informative blog content|
What Is It?
TaxSlayer’s software is remarkably easy to use. The option to e-file is clearly visible immediately from opening the homepage. As most of the subheadings are gathered into sections, viewable with a click. Account setup is easy, simply involving the entering of an email address, username, password, and phone number. When entering your income, you can choose whether to be guided through the process or do this autonomously from the beginning of using the software, ensuring very little is left to fall through the cracks. You begin by entering personal details, such as your name, your Social Security number, date of birth, home address and occupation. Then you add federal tax information, information about your health insurance, and so on.
As the self-employment section of the software has received an update this year, the software makes it easy to see all aspects of your business easily. All packages come with a tax refund calculator and constant updates on changes to tax laws. If you use the software multiple years in a row, it also has a feature where you can pull up tax returns from previous years and compare them side-by-side, meaning you can better spot potential errors before they happen. This tiered pricing structure is one of the greatest advantages TaxSlayer offers when compared to other tax programs on the market.
There are several options available for potential users: simply free, classic, premium and self-employed. With simply free, which as the name suggests, is free, the user gets a range of features. It includes services to prepare, print and e-file taxes, covers W-2 income, student loan interest, and education expenses as well as including unlimited free phone and email support. The classic tier, at $17, includes all tax credits, deductions and adjustments to income and includes all income types. Because of this, it’s best suited to taxpayers with a large number of dependents.
Best of all, it comes with free PDF and W-2 form import software to save the taxpayer time and energy retyping information. At $37, the premium tier comes with a live chat client for technical support, priority in the phone and email support queues, IRS audit assistance for three years after the date of payment and access to a tax professional for help. The highest tier is that of the self-employed tier at $47.
This comes with quarterly reminders to file taxes, a personalized guide to taxes as a self-employed person, guidance with 1099 income, guidance with estimated tax payments and guidance on how to maximize your work expense deductions. There will be no need to upgrade in the middle of the tax filing process due to this or that file not being covered by your pricing plan. Since all tax processes are covered, there’s no room left in TaxSlayer for hidden costs. When compared to the price tag of up to $79.99 for federal tax returns on H&R Block or price tags of up to a whopping $89.99 on TurboTax, with far fewer options of scaling the price according to your needs on these platforms, it’s easy to see which software client comes out on top here. If you were formerly part of the military, you’re also in luck.
TaxSlayer offers steep discounts to military veterans, with their classic package being offered for free if you served in the U.S. army. For as low as $42, TaxSlayer also allows you to create and post an amended tax return if there was an error in your original tax return, in the form of the 1040X form. While we’ve found that the lower price tiers are best for single people or the newly married filing as a joint tax, as TaxSlayer doesn’t allow the filing of federal taxes that claim lots of dependents at the lower price scales, those who earn over $100,000 or those who have any kind of investment, this is still highly impressive.
Best of all, TaxSlayer guarantees a full refund of any fees you paid on any of its packages or services if you don’t receive the maximum tax refund you are entitled to. This ensures the company is incentivized to ensure you get the best deal possible, which is one of the greatest additions to tax software in our book. This scaling of tiers with clear guidance on what each involves makes TaxSlayer an especially efficient and transparent tax client. Another particularly standout feature is that there’s an option for them to take their fees out of your tax return, eliminating the step of directly paying them entirely.
As touched on above, TaxSlayer’s support system is one of the features that for us distinguish it from its competitors on the market. With free technical support via phone and email, the option of having a tax professional’s advice on the higher tiers, with them usually get back to you within one business day, and assistance with a tax audit either part of the higher packages or available for the price of $29 on the lower tiers, there is a wealth of support available for those who feel a lack of confidence with the tool. This tax audit service is not available for users who file Schedule C, K-1 or form 2555 with your tax return. It is also an audit assistance service rather than an audit defense service, meaning they will offer you advice but will not represent you in front of the IRS.
They do, however, offer an audit defense service separately, along with an identity protection package named SecurelyID for $44. Unlike competitors such as TurboTax, with a searchable database on the ins and outs of taxes, or TaxAct, which includes an online FAQ as standard, TaxSlayer includes far less educational content that could be used for independent research. There is a Knowledgebase that can be searched, but according to the testimonials of former users, this is far less thorough than the information bases on TurboTax or TaxAct. This leads us to our second caveat: the tax professional. As this service is only available at the premium and self-employed package tiers, this means that if a taxpayer opts for one of the more budget options, they will have to answer all questions they have about the tax system independently. Tech support may be unlimited, but expertise on the tax system is far from it. Yet the tech support is available even within the free package is not available in any other tax client on the marketplace.
Overall, we’ve found TaxSlayer to be one of the most budget-friendly options for electronic tax filing on the market. Its tiered pricing structure means you can easily pick and choose between plans to find one that really fits your needs. The software layout is clean and friendly to any user, and with its downloadable app, it’s optimized for use on any device. This software is further enhanced by the unlimited tech support via phone and email that comes with it, no matter how much or little the user pays. However, with few options provided within the software for independent education on the tax system and direct advice on the tax system only provided at the higher levels, TaxSlayer can be difficult to navigate if you’re on a shoestring budget and don’t have much time for independent research. It’s so important to ensure you get your tax filing right, particularly in such a daunting and complex system as the United States has. We think TaxSlayer is ideal if you already have some experience filing your taxes and have a relatively simple tax situation, but aren’t ready to shell out on the higher-priced tax clients just yet.