TaxSlayer’s Simply Free version is one of the few truly free filing options out there. With this version, you can file your federal and one state return for free. But, if you have a more complicated Tax situation, there are more comprehensive options as well.
- User Friendly Interface
- Budget Friendly Option
- Wide Range of Products
- No Data Import Option
- Limited Professional Support
- Basic Audit Support
If you decide to DIY your taxes, you should put some thought into which tax preparation software to use.
TaxSlayer can assist filers with both simple and complex tax situations. It is more cost-effective than TurboTax or H&R Block, but it doesn’t have as many bells and whistles of more luxury tax preparation software.
Check out our TaxSlayer Review to find out if it can help you file your taxes this year.
In This Article:
What is TaxSlayer?
TaxSlayer is no newcomer to the tax prep software scene. They are backed by people with over 50 years of experience.
Rhodes-Murphey & Co was founded in 1965 in Augusta, GA, as a tax preparation business. They began to develop tax preparation technology to keep up with industry trends. TaxSlayer was finally developed in 1998 and has been helping people file their taxes ever since.
Unlike other tax software, TaxSlayer is entirely cloud-based, which means that you can only complete your return through a desktop or mobile device.
There is no program that you need to download or disk you need to purchase from the store. You can just go to their site and get started.
Their attractive and clean user interface makes it easy to prepare and file.
You can choose between their four products based on your needs: The Simply Free Version, the Classic Version, the Premium Version, and the Self-Employed Version.
TaxSlayer Simply Free
TaxSlayer’s Simply Free version is one of the few truly free filing options out there. With this version, you can file your federal and one state return for free. If you need to file more than one state, you will need to pay an additional $29.
The Simply Free version is best for those with very simple tax situations as it can only support a basic 1040 filing. It is also best for people who have experience filing their taxes as it offers little in the way of customer support.
TaxSlayer Simply Free Includes:
- Prepare, print, and e-file
- Ability to upload a prior year return, which can help you switch from another software
- Phone and email support
- Prior year compare, which can help you ensure that you have claimed everything you can
The Classic version can support any form that you may need to file. Freelancers, landlords, and business owners have the ability to complete their taxes using this version. However, you may want to upgrade to the Self-Employed version if you need extra guidance.
With the Classic version, you can take a picture of your W-2 to autofill the information into your return. The import feature isn’t perfect, so you may need to double-check the information and manually enter whatever didn’t take.
TaxSlayer Classic Includes:
- All the features of the Simply Free Version PLUS…
- Ability to claim all deductions and credits
- Tax filing for all income types without requiring upgrades or any form restrictions
- Fast filling the info from your W-2
- RS inquiry assistance up to one year after the IRS accepts your e-file
You may wonder why someone would purchase Premium when the Classic package handles every form. TaxSlayer’s Premium package offers priority support from tax professionals. This is a great option for people who would like extra assistance when they file their taxes.
TaxSlayer Premium Includes:
- All the features from TaxSlayer Classic PLUS…
- Priority support from TaxSlayer’s customer service staff
- One-on-one assistance from a tax professional
- IRS audit assistance from enrolled agents and IRS experts up to three years after IRS accepts your e-file
Generating your own income means that your tax situation is very unique, and you may need some guidance along the way. That’s where TaxSlayer’s Self-Employed package comes into play. This version of TaxSlayer’s software focuses on guiding people who are self-employed through the tax process.
Whether you are a business owner, side hustler, or contractor, this package can help you navigate your taxes.
TaxSlayer Self Employed Includes:
- All the features from TaxSlayer Premium PLUS…
- Deduction finder to make the most of your hustle and reduce tax liability
- 1099 and Schedule C support guidance
- Tax tips and resources all year
- Tax payment reminders to make sure you’re up to date on your payments and can avoid pesky fees
In addition to the features that come with each version, TaxSlayer has features that are available to users no matter what program they purchase.
Maximum Refund Guarantee
TaxSlayer offers a maximum refund guarantee to all of its users. This means that if another tax software offers you a better refund or less of a tax obligation, TaxSlayer will refund you the entire cost of the software.
100% Accuracy Guarantee
Similarly, they have a 100% accuracy guarantee that will reimburse you for any penalties or fees that occur due to a miscalculation by their system.
Their system operates on both guided and self-guided navigation, depending on your preference. Their guided navigation is known as their wizard tool. It is not as in your face as TurboTax’s guided navigation, but it will pop up with helpful information when you need it.
You always have the option to turn off the wizard tool and have a self-guided experience. The sidebar keeps track of your progress and allows you to review information out of order. If you like to jump around when completing your return, this may cause information to be lost in TaxSlayer’s system.
They will alert you if you move out of order that your information may be lost. The best way to avoid this from happening is to move through the regular navigation as the system guides you.
Finally, TaxSlayer has a refund calculator that is open to everyone, not just members. This can help as a basic tool, but it does not provide all the information.
Users complain that you cannot see the breakdown of your net profit for things like rental properties. This can be frustrating if you want to make sure that you’re claiming the right amount of depreciation.
Taxes To Go App
TaxSlayer also has a mobile app called Taxes to Go. The app is compatible with iOS and Android devices. This is a unique feature that makes it easy to scan information from your W-2 or work on filing while on the go.
With tax systems that boast value of free filing, people are always curious about one thing:
Is TaxSlayer Free?
The answer is yes, sort of.
TaxSlayer offers free federal and state filing for the following:
- People with W-2 incomes who claim student loan interest or another education tax credit
- If you are a member of the military, you can file all forms and tax situations for free through TaxSlayer.
The Simply Free version does not support the following forms:
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- HSA accounts
- and some other common deductions
If you would like to claim more than education tax credits, you will need to purchase the Classic package.
- TaxSlayer Classic: The Classic software is $17 plus state filing, which TaxSlayer states is the best value.
- TaxSlayer Premium: Premium will run you $37 plus state filing.
- TaxSlayer Self Employed: Self-Employed will cost $47 plus state filing.
- State filing through TaxSlayer: $29 per state. This means you will have to pay this in multiples if you need to file in more than one state. TaxSlayer does not offer discounts for filing in more than one state.
You can get your refund from TaxSlayer in a number of ways. You can choose from the following:
- Direct Deposit
- Paper Check
- Applying to next year’s taxes
- Buying US savings bonds
- Green dot bank prepaid card
Some software charge for you to receive your refund as a direct deposit. Luckily, this is not the case for TaxSlayer. You can receive your refund as a direct deposit from the IRS in the usual 10 – 21-day cycle.
TaxSlayer Refund Advance
However, if you need your tax refund ASAP, TaxSlayer offers up to $1,000 of your refund in advance in the form of a loan, so it will ultimately be taken out of your refund. This is good for people who are in a pinch and need the money sooner rather than later.
Signing Up and Getting Started
Creating an account with TaxSlayer is fairly simple.
To begin, you will choose which version you would like to use. Unlike TurboTax, TaxSlayer does not ask you questions and recommend a product for you. Instead, they show you their product list and let you choose based on your own judgment.
This can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. If you are experienced at your taxes, you may recognize that you can do them yourself with the Classic version rather than paying more for the Self-Employed version.
However, if you are preparing by yourself for the first time or just lost in general, Q&A style feedback may be beneficial in guiding you to the exact software for your needs.
From there, they need an email and password to create an account. After your account is created, you will be taken to the site to begin your return. You will need to agree to TaxSlayer’s terms of service, which explains how they use your information.
Finally, you’re ready to get started on your return. You’ll need to provide the regular sort of information to begin your return. This includes your name, social security number, date of birth, address, and occupation.
They will also require you to enter information about your dependents, federal tax information, and health insurance information. TaxSlayer will import the information from your federal return to complete your state return.
TaxSlayer Promotions, Bonuses, and Coupons
Usually, there isn’t much offered by tax software regarding discounts or promotions, and this is where TaxSlayer sets themselves apart.
TaxSlayer uses affiliate links to offer 50% off your federal filing. These are sprinkled around the internet, but I noticed that Rakuten offers 50% off as well as 25% cashback. If you have read our Rakuten Review and are building cashback, this is a way to do it.
TaxSlayer also has a rewards program that is known as TaxPerks. This program lets you refer up to 10 new users by email after you file. Each referral earns TaxPerks that can be redeemed for gift cards. This is pretty unique for a tax software, and it is definitely worth taking advantage of.
As a software that’s backed by seasoned professionals, TaxSlayer is no novice when it comes to securing your information.
TaxSlayer requires two-factor authentication for every login, which helps keep people from hacking into your account. They also make use of various security-related technologies.
This includes but is not limited to firewalls, intrusion detection systems, encryption, access control, network isolation, and data obfuscation. You can be certain that your sensitive tax information is being protected when you use TaxSlayer’s system.
Customer Service and Support
TaxSlayer offers customer support, but you’ll need to purchase the more expensive versions of their software to get help from a tax professional.
The Simply Free and Classic versions offer unlimited email and phone support. The support number and hours are displayed when you are signed into the system. You can also reach out to their customer support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only the Premium and Self-Employed packages offer the live chat feature. These versions also include priority support and the Ask a Pro service. This allows you to ask your questions to a trained tax professional rather than just a customer service representative. You can add these features onto the Classic version for an additional $22.
In terms of audit assistance, TaxSlayer’s offerings are slim. Audit assistance is only available to Premium and Self-Employed users, and it offers no assistance if you file Schedule C, K-1, or form 2555. It does not extend to your state returns.
In addition to customer support, TaxSlayer has plenty of features that help with ease of use. They have videos that explain the software, learn more buttons, and a knowledge center with articles that can answer FAQs and tricky tax questions. Their articles are concise but still beneficial.
It is helpful to have some knowledge of tax lingo, but they can generally be understood by even a tax novice.
Pros and Cons of TaxSlayer
TaxSlayer is a great software, but it is not perfect. Here are some of the pros and cons of using TaxSlayer to file your taxes.
- Budget-friendly option: TaxSlayer truly is one of the most affordable tax preparation software out there. Many companies that advertise free filing only provide free federal filing and make you pay for state filing. TaxSlayer truly lets you file for free, and their other versions cost a fraction of the price of others.
- Simple, easy-to-use layout: Using TaxSlayer is intuitive and simple. Their sidebar lets you know exactly where you are in the process, and their system allows you to switch between self-guided and guided at the drop of a hat. You can also complete your taxes using their desktop version or their mobile app. This is especially convenient for people with complicated tax situations.
- Wide array of products: TaxSlayer has several options depending on what you need. Every product except for the Simply Free program is capable of handling every tax form that you would need to file. No matter what your circumstances are, TaxSlayer can assist you.
- Can’t support data import from third-party apps: TaxSlayer cannot support data imports from financial or robo-advisor apps. If you want to claim investments on your taxes, you will need to enter those manually, which can be a bit of a headache if you have a lot to enter.
- Limited professional support: Unlike software like H&R Block or TurboTax, TaxSlayer does not offer live video chat with tax professionals or live chat with all users. In fact, only premium and self-employed users get chat options and tax professional assistance. You’ll need to invest if you want the quality support that comes with other luxury softwares.
- Basic Audit Support: It’s best not to forget that audit support and audit defense are two very different things. If you are expecting hands-on help, you should look at other companies that offer audit defense. The most you can expect with audit support is advice on what to expect and basic guidance. You will not receive personalized defense from an IRS audit.
Alternatives to TaxSlayer
Understanding how TaxSlayer stacks up against other tax preparation software can help you decide on which to use. Here are some other tax software options to consider this tax season.
While TaxAct has less of a focus on design, they are at a similar price point to TaxSlayer. They have better customer support options. TaxAct offers phone support, live chat, and online FAQs to answer some of your most pressing tax questions.
Much like TaxSlayer, H&R Block is backed by decades of experience. If you have any questions about your return, you can visit one of their 11,000 locations. They also offer live video help from tax professionals and where can receive a lot of support.
TurboTax is the industry leader with a price tag to match. They offer live chat, live video help from tax professionals, and a Q&A format that’s one of the best in the business. They also have a robust audit defense package that can help if you ever face an audit from the IRS.
Is TaxSlayer for You?
TaxSlayer competes effectively with the ease and accessibility of top contenders such as H&R Block and TurboTax.
While new filers will still find those options easier to use, TaxSlayer is at a lower price point for highly similar software.