TaxSlayer is a solid choice if you're looking for an inexpensive tax software option with mobile app capabilities. The company's 100% accuracy and maximum refund guarantees give added peace of mind.
- Key Takeaways
- Pros & Cons
- TaxSlayer allows you to prepare your tax return yourself with the help of their software and support team.
- TaxSlayer Premium and above tiers get live chat and access to support from tax experts.
- You can file your federal tax return for just $17 no matter how complicated your situation is without upgrading to higher tiers.
- The software and support aren’t high-end but get the job done for a budget tax preparation option.
- State return costs are affordable compared to many competitors.
Free filing for simple tax returns, including one free state filing
W-2 import available for paid versions
Relatively affordable add-on fee for state returns for versions other than Simply Free
Free federal tax return version including all tax situations available for military members
Phone and email support available for all pricing tiers
Live chat support isn't available for all versions
Doesn't support integrations with third-party apps
No import option for information from brokerage firms, etc.
No downloadable version
Military version doesn’t include a free state tax return
TaxSlayer is an online tax filing software for taxpayers who are comfortable taking the DIY route for preparing taxes. There are four products to choose from, including a free version for people who need a basic tax prep tool and a version just for freelancers and contractors. You can even start your return for free when you create your account, with the option to switch to a different version along the way if it better fits your needs.
Here, we'll examine TaxSlayer's features, pricing, and ease of use, along with a look at how it compares to other leading online tax software.
Read on to learn whether TaxSlayer is a worthwhile option for preparing your tax return this year.
TaxSlayer Pricing and Packages
TaxSlayer offers tax prep packages designed to fit a variety of different needs, and each one is priced accordingly. Except for the Simply Free version, there's an add-on charge for filing state returns. Here's how the fees compare for each one, along with a brief description of who they may be good for:
|TaxSlayer Packages & Prices|
|Package||Designed For||Federal Filing||State Filing|
|Simply Free||People who file simple returns||$0||$0|
|Classic||Filers who want easy import of W-2s or need the rest of the tax forms||$17||$32 per state return|
|Premium||Filers who want priority support, live chat, or IRS Audit Assistance for three years||$37||$32 per state return|
|Self-Employed||Self-employed individuals who want access to a tax professional for help with 1099s and Schedule C||$47||$32 per state return|
If you're looking for a cost-friendly online tax filing software, TaxSlayer doesn't disappoint. It's possible to file a simple state and federal return for free, and the paid versions are priced lower than some of TaxSlayer's main competitors. In fact, TaxSlayer offers highly affordable pricing for filers with basic and more complicated returns.
TaxSlayer doesn’t prominently advertise it, but they do offer free federal tax returns for active-duty military members by offering them the Classic tier software for free. State returns cost an additional $32 for military members.
Some features come included with all of TaxSlayer's online software versions but others are only available with the Classic, Premium, or Self-Employed options. Here's a sampling of what you can get, depending on which version of the software you choose:
|Features & Package Options|
|PDF Uploads of Prior Returns||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Fast W-2 Import||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Import Prior Year Tax Info||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|One State Return Included Free||Yes||No||No||No|
|IRS Audit Assistance||No||One year||Three years||Three years, but not for filers with Schedules C, K-1, or Form 2555|
|Email & Phone Support||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Live Chat Support||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Tax Pro Help||No||No||Yes||Yes|
While these are all great features to have, TaxSlayer does leave something to be desired when it comes to integrations with third-party apps. You can't import data from expense tracking apps such as Stride or ItsDeductible or investment data from your robo-advisor's app. You'll need to enter in these tax items manually.
TaxSlayer does offer some other benefits with its software.:
- Guaranteed Maximum Refund: TaxSlayer guarantees that you'll receive the maximum refund you're entitled to or they'll refund what you paid for the software.
- Zero Out-of-Pocket Fees: Instead of paying upfront for your TaxSlayer software, you can choose to have the cost deducted from your federal tax refund. You have to pay additional fees to use this option, though.
- 100% Accuracy Guarantee: TaxSlayer guarantees 100 percent accurate calculations of your taxes or they'll reimburse you any federal and/or state penalties and interest charges. Note that the error must be due to their calculations, not your inputs.
Ease of Use/Design
TaxSlayer features a straightforward design and site layout. To get started, create a free account where you'll need to share your email address and create a password.
From there, you're taken to the TaxSlayer menu where you can begin your tax return. But first, make sure you read through and agree to TaxSlayer's use of information disclosure which details how TaxSlayer uses your information.
Next, select the version of the software you wish to use. The menu is laid out in a sidebar with six sections you can work through:
- Basic information
- Federal section
- Health insurance
- State section
You can start with Simply Free and upgrade if necessary to keeps your costs as low as possible, if your specific situation allows.
The easiest approach is to start with entering your basic information, which includes your name, Social Security number, date of birth, mailing address, and occupation. You'll also enter your filing status and information for your dependents here as well as information about your Economic Impact Payment.
Next, you'll enter your federal tax information, including income, deductions, and credits. You'll also need to provide information about your health insurance. TaxSlayer transfers your federal return information automatically to complete your state return.
TaxSlayer offers unlimited email and phone support to Simply Free and Classic users. You can view the support phone number and current hours when you sign in. You can also send email questions to the support team directly from your account or forward them to email@example.com.
You'll need the Premium or Self-Employed software to get access to live chat help. You can also unlock Priority Support and the Ask a Tax Pro service with the Premium or Self-Employed versions.
With Ask a Tax Pro, you can pose a tax question to a trained tax professional. Then, they'll contact you with an answer after researching your question. The upgrade cost to add this service is the $20 difference between the Classic and Premium software options or $37 between the Simply Free and Premium software options.
TaxSlayer's Knowledgebase includes answers to many common tax questions. If you don't want to wait for an email response or stay on hold over the phone, try searching the Knowledgebase to find the information you need.
You can also get support from TaxSlayer if you're audited. Audit Assistance is available for three years from the date you purchase your tax software for Premium customers.
There are some limitations, however. TaxSlayer offers no audit assistance if you file Schedule C, K-1, or form 2555 with your return. The program doesn't extend to state returns, either.
Audit Assistance is limited to preparing and resolving the inquiries, not representing you in an audit.
TaxSlayer Mobile App
Unlike some of its competitors, TaxSlayer doesn't offer a downloadable version. But there is a mobile app available for iPhone and Android users. You can use the app to:
- Estimate your tax refund using your W-2 or paystub.
- E-file your tax return.
- Check the status of your tax return.
Compared to other tax software mobile apps, TaxSlayer doesn't give you quite as many options. For instance, TurboTax lets you input your W-2 by snapping a picture.
TaxSlayer vs. Other Tax Software
TaxSlayer is just one of many online tax filing software options. As with any other purchase, it's a good idea to do some comparison shopping first. This table highlights TaxSlayer's pricing and best features alongside three other popular tax filing options.
|Considerations||TaxSlayer||TaxAct Online||TurboTax Online||H&R Block Online|
|Cost Range (Pricing as of January 1, 2021)||$0 to $47 for federal returns; $32 for state returns||$0 to $64.95 for federal returns; $4.95 to $44.95 for state returns||$0 to $170 for federal returns; $0 to $50 for state returns||$0 to $144.99 for federal returns; $0 to $36.99 for state returns|
|Best Features||Multiple low-cost filing options; deductions finder for maximum deductions; live chat and IRS Audit Assistance for Premium and Self-Employed Users||Mobile app W-2 capture; import federal tax returns filed with other tax software in PDF form; Accuracy Guarantee; Protection Plus Audit Defense available for a fee||Integrates with ItsDeductible; import tax returns filed with other software in PDF form; professional tax prep assistance with TurboTax Live for eligible packages||Mobile app W-2 capture; import tax returns filed with other software in PDF form; 3.5% refund bonus when you load some or all of your refund to an Amazon gift card|
|Download/Mobile App Support||Mobile app only||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Customer Support||Unlimited phone and email support for Simply Free and Classic users; Priority Support, Live Chat and Ask a Tax Pro available with Premium and Self-Employed||Phone and email for online and download users||Chat, phone, and through the online TurboTax community; fees apply to speak to a live tax expert||Help center, phone, and chat or unlimited tax expert help with Online Assist tier products|
Who TaxSlayer Is Good For
TaxSlayer is a good budget option for those with tax situations that don’t require a lot of transaction entry. In some cases, you can file both federal and state returns for free. Even people with complex situations can file a federal tax return for only $17.
Who TaxSlayer Isn’t Good For
TaxSlayer isn’t good for people who have many transactions to input, such as investment sales. The software doesn’t support importing information other than the prior year’s tax return and your W-2 (on paid tiers only). People who want help from a licensed CPA (Certified Public Accountant) may want to look elsewhere as TaxSlayer doesn’t specify whether their Ask a Tax Pro professionals have CPA certification.
When deciding whether to use TaxSlayer over another tax software, it all comes down to the features you want and the price you're comfortable paying. TaxAct, TurboTax, and H&R Block all offer more features than TaxSlayer, but as you can see they all come with a higher price tag. That's something to consider, especially if you're not sure you'll need a lot of premium features to get your taxes done.
TaxSlayer may not be as flashy as other tax software programs, but it does offer the advantage of being budget-friendly for every tax filing situation. It could be a great fit this tax season for taxpayers who want a low-cost option for preparing and filing their federal and state returns. The built-in accuracy and maximum refund guarantees, along with its library of tax knowledge, add to its appeal.