Liberty Tax Review for 2020
Liberty Tax is a tax preparation business that offers online and in-person tax filing solutions. Liberty Tax has over 3,000 retail branches located in all 50 states across the U.S.
This post explains everything you need to know about Liberty Tax, including the tax filing options they offer, the pros and cons of working with them, and answers to frequently asked questions you might be wondering about.
Liberty Tax Services
Liberty Tax Service was created in 1998 by John Hewitt. That’s the same John Hewitt who started Jackson Hewitt, a tax service that sold for a cool $438 million!
Fast-forward to today and Liberty Tax is a massive company that’s headquartered in Virginia Beach. In 2018, Liberty Tax processed over 1.7 million tax returns.
The company prides itself on offering personalized services to customers—which it’s able to do quite effectively thanks to a combination of robust online services and retail branches in every state in the country.
Here’s an overview of the various services that Liberty Tax provides.
Liberty Tax Online
Liberty Tax offers a range of online tax filing plans that account for various tax situations. For a full overview of what each of their plans includes, check out their website.
To make your life a little easier, here’s a synopsis of each plan:
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Liberty Tax Online Simple Edition
The Liberty Tax Online Simple Edition is designed for individuals and families with simple tax situations. The plan costs $34.95 for federal returns and $35.95 for state returns.
This plan includes the following features:
- You can file Form 1040
- Forms for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are included
- Earned Income Credit is covered
- Easy importing of your W-2 forms
- Easy importing from previously filed returns with competitors (e.g., TurboTax and FreeTaxUSA)
- You can deduct childcare and dependent expenses
- Free amendments if needed
- Customer support through chat and email
Liberty Tax Online Basic Edition
The Liberty Tax Online Basic Edition costs $44.95 for federal returns and $39.95 for state returns. In addition to the features provided in the simple edition, the Basic edition enables you to:
- Itemize deductions
- Declare health savings accounts (HSAs)
- Declare self-employment income
- File interest and ordinary income on Schedule B
- Deduct business expenses
Liberty Tax Online Deluxe Edition
The Liberty Tax Online Deluxe Edition is designed for folks with more complicated tax situations. For a fee of $64.95 for federal returns and $39.95 for state returns, the Deluxe plan includes all of the same features as the Basic plan. It also allows you to file the following additional items:
- Form 4562 for real estate and asset depreciation
- Schedule C for sole proprietor income
- Form 8829 for home office deductions
Liberty Tax Online Premium Edition
The Liberty Tax Online Premium Edition costs $89.95 for federal taxes and $39.95 for state taxes. This plan includes all of the same features as the Deluxe edition but also accounts for the special circumstances that might affect small business owners and property managers.
With that in mind, here are the additional features the Liberty Tax Premium plan lets you take advantage of:
- Filing Schedule D to declare capital gains and losses
- Filing Form 1040 in case you have sold your home
- Declaring rental property income
Liberty Tax In-Office Services
When it’s time to file your taxes, some people would rather work with a tax professional face-to-face. If you’re one of these people, you might want to stop by one of Liberty Tax’s branches.
To find a location near you, check out the handy Liberty Tax Office Locator.
Liberty Tax Tools
Liberty Tax offers a variety of helpful tax tools and tax calculators that help you estimate your return and maximize your deductions.
Here are some of the tools that you’ll be able to access via your Liberty Tax online account:
- Tax Return & Refund Calculator
- W-4 Withholding Calculator
- Mileage Reimbursement Calculator
- Tax Organizer
- Tax Return Downloader
- W-2 Downloader
- Mileage Log
Liberty Tax FAQs
Next, I’m going to answer several of the most common questions I’m hearing about Liberty Tax.
How Much does Liberty Tax Charge?
It depends on your situation and the products and services you need. However, it’s worth pointing out here that—unlike many of their competitors—Liberty Tax doesn’t offer a free plan.
Here’s a quick overview of Liberty Tax’s fees:
|Plan Name||Federal Fee||State Fee|
|Simple Online Edition||$34.95||$35.95|
|Basic Online Edition||$44.95||$39.95|
|Deluxe Online Edition||$64.95||$39.95|
|Premium Online Edition||$89.95||$39.95|
Is Liberty Tax any Good?
Yes. Liberty Tax is a solid tax preparation company. You can easily file your taxes online or in-person with Liberty Tax. In fact, Liberty Tax is the third-largest tax preparation franchise in the U.S.
How Long Does Liberty Tax Take to Get Your Refund?
Liberty Tax offers a variety of refund options. I recommend taking the standard route and waiting for your full refund to arrive by means of direct deposit or paper check from the IRS. According to the Liberty Tax website, this typically takes around 21 days.
It appears that Liberty Tax heavily promotes refund advances and loans targeted to potentially lower-income individuals who might not want to or be able to wait 21 days to receive their full refund. This is probably because they make a killing on these types of situations.
I highly advise against taking out a loan or any type of advance when it comes to your tax returns. Always try to avoid situations where a for-profit company can charge you an unnecessary fee or get in between you and your hard-earned money.
Does Liberty Tax do an Instant Refund?
No, they don’t. However, Liberty Tax does offer a service where they provide a loan in exchange for your tax refund. But let’s be clear. This is designed for one reason and one reason only: to earn money by lending cash to you at a premium.
I’ve got nothing more to say about this product offering. It really rubs me the wrong way when companies prey on individuals who might be in less-than-ideal financial situations.
Pros & Cons of Liberty Tax
Liberty Tax Pros
- Liberty Tax offers an easy-to-use and intuitive online tax filing platform.
- Liberty Tax has over 3,000 retail branches located throughout the U.S. Pundits also say that Liberty Tax is one of the best franchises to own. Clearly, the company is doing something right.
Intuitive Tax Tools
- Liberty Tax offers a variety of neat tax calculators and other tools designed to help you make the most out of your tax return.
Liberty Tax Cons
- I’m a little leery about the loans offered by Liberty Tax that are issued ahead of your refund. In my opinion, these products seemed designed to profit off of lower-income individuals and families. I have also seen some less-than-ideal customer experience reviews around the web. Caveat emptor.
No free online edition
- Unlike most of its competitors, Liberty Tax does not offer a free filing option.
- Liberty Tax offers fewer customer support options than its larger competitors such as H&R Block and TurboTax.
Is Liberty Tax right for you?
Liberty Tax offers online and in-person tax filing solutions that account for almost any type of tax situation—almost certainly including your own. If you’re looking to work with an easy-to-use, affordable online tax preparation service that also offers in-person support at a local office, Liberty Tax is worth your consideration.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to work with the most technologically advanced platform on the market, you might want to look into platforms like TurboTax, which has a team of thousands of employees backing it.
Let’s face it: There’s literally an infinite amount of things to do that are more enjoyable than paying taxes. Watching your favorite TV show, going on hikes, doing yoga, or trying a new restaurant are all more preferable options.
Despite how tempting it might be to avoid tax responsibilities, you have to bite the bullet and get your taxes done each year. Otherwise, you might pique the interest of the IRS—which you almost certainly don’t want to do.
Liberty Tax might just be the company to help you do that. But you know your tax situation better than anyone else. So do your due diligence and research your options. You’ll make the best decision.
Here’s to a hassle-free tax season!