TaxSlayer Review

What you need to know before you file

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TaxSlayer

TaxSlayer

overall rating
4.0

Our Take

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
Key Takeaways
  • 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.
Pros & Cons
What We Like
  • 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

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

TaxSlayer Features

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
 Feature  Simply Free  Classic  Premium  Self-Employed
Deduction Finder  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes
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
Priority 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
  • Summary/print
  • E-file
Tip

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 Support

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 support@taxslayer.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.

Warning

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.

Competitive Analysis
 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.

Final Verdict

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.