This article/post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers or partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products or services
It’s time to figure out how you’re going to file your tax return. There are a number of ways to do this, including visiting a tax professional in person. However, DIY tax prep software is also a common choice that’s as convenient as it is economical, and there’s no shortage of options.
If you’re trying to decide which service to use as you prepare your taxes and you’re looking for an affordable option that balances value with features, you might want to use TaxSlayer. Here’s what you need to know about the online filing platform doing things differently.
Cost – 9
Customer Service – 7
Ease of Use – 8
Tools & Resources – 7
Previous Year Importing – 10
Mobile App Usability – 9
What Is TaxSlayer?
TaxSlayer traces its origin to a family-owned tax preparation business started in 1965. Over the years, the company has evolved to provide online tax prep products to keep pace with technology and consumer needs.
TaxSlayer offers a number of features and is easy to use — but the price point is lower than many other tax prep software. Unlike some other tax software such as TurboTax, TaxSlayer is entirely cloud-based. Your only option is to complete your tax return online using your desktop or mobile device.
Overall, however, the interface is easy to navigate as well as attractive and clean.
Who Is TaxSlayer Good For?
Even though TaxSlayer offers some support and tax help options, this software is best for someone who is reasonably confident about their tax filing ability and doesn’t need a whole lot of help. TaxSlayer is ideal for someone who is looking for attractive software that gets the job done at a low price. You won’t get a ton of bells and whistles, but you might not need them. The interface is easy to navigate whether you’re using the app or the online platform. But it doesn’t have as many guided questions to help you through the process.
Tax filers looking for more guidance should consider TurboTax or H&R Block. Or, if you want more robust customer service with a good budget option, TaxAct can be a reasonable alternative. Because customer support options are fairly limited, you might not get the help you need with TaxSlayer.
For simple tax returns only
|Small Business Features|
|Audit Assistance Included|
|Accuracy Guarantee||Penalty and interest reimbursement|
|Filing Support||Live Chat and Phone: M–F 9A-9P, SAT 9A–5P, SUN 12A–5P Eastern Time; Email|
TaxSlayer Plans and Pricing
TaxSlayer offers online e-filing plans and there are four of these to choose from: Simply Free, Classic, Premium, and Self-Employed. All plans are backed by a maximum refund and 100% accuracy guarantee and free email and phone support. This is general support for tech and product questions, not tax advice.
However, only Premium and Self-Employed come with the ability to contact a tax professional with specific questions about your return and live chat with a TaxSlayer tech specialist for help. Find out which plan is right for you here.
Federal return: $0
State return: $0
If all you need to file your taxes are the basics, meaning a 1040 form with the standard deduction, you can file your state and federal taxes free with the TaxSlayer Simply Free plan. This also lets you claim education deductions and credits for expenses and student loans, but you won’t be able to itemize or take other deductions and credits including the Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit.
The Simply Free plan includes one free federal return and one free state return (the free state return is notable as not many providers offer this). It’s best for students, single filers and married people without kids, and W-2 earners.
Federal return: $19.95
State return: $39.95
If you need to itemize your deductions or claim any type of income besides (or in addition to) W2, the Classic plan might be right for you. This online filing plan includes all forms, deductions, and credits you might need to take such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit and deductions for mortgage or student loan interest. You can make this version of TaxSlayer work for you if you earn freelance income, invest, own rental properties, etc.
While you can use the Classic plan for complex situations as there are no restrictions, you should only choose it if you’re fully prepared to file without help. This plan does not include professional support. To get this feature, you’ll need to pay for at least the Premium plan.
Federal return: $39.95
State return: $39.95
The Premium plan with TaxSlayer includes everything in the Classic plan with more support. When you pay for Premium, you get three years of IRS Audit Assistance (which includes help preparing inquiries if audited), priority support via phone and email, and the option to chat with tech support live through the site. But perhaps the best feature is the ability to talk to a tax professional about your returns when you have questions or get stuck. Assistance is unlimited.
If your taxes are complicated or you’d just feel better knowing help is there if you need it, Premium is well worth paying and very modestly priced compared to other providers.
Federal return: $49.95
State return: $39.95
If you’re self-employed, you can probably do your taxes with Classic or Premium, but this option comes with a little extra guidance for filling out your required forms (such as 1099 and Schedule C) and maximizing your advantages. And the Self-Employed plan includes support all year, not just while you’re doing your federal or state return. It offers reminders each quarter for your tax payments, tips for finding deductions, and access to a pro experienced in self-employed taxes.
This plan has a lot to offer those with complicated taxes. It’s worth noting that $49.95 is one of the lowest prices out there for self-employed e-filing, especially when you consider the level of support this provides.
Other TaxSlayer Products
TaxSlayer also has a plan that allows active-duty military members to file for free. If you qualify, you’ll be able to complete your federal tax return at no cost and take any deductions or credits you need to with TaxSlayer. This plan is essentially equal to Classic for non-military filers.
Another product with this provider is TaxSlayer Pro. TaxSlayer Pro provides cloud-based tax filing software to professional tax preparers. Prices for packages range from $1,295 to $1,595.
Tax Refund Options
TaxSlayer offers fairly standard tax refund options, including:
- Direct deposit
- Paper check
- File & Go – lets you deduct what you’ve paid for TaxSlayer from your return
- TaxSlayer Visa® Debit Card Powered by Green Dot – a reloadable prepaid card
How To Sign Up
Rather than asking you questions and recommending a product, TaxSlayer just has you begin with the “Get Started” button. You are then taken to a comparison page that offers some of the features of each product. Once you click the “Start for Free” button attached to your chosen version of TaxSlayer, you’re asked if you already have an account or if you need to create one.
As with many other products, you provide an email address, create a username, and set a password. You’ll need to provide your Social Security Number before you begin. Then you can choose to have your account verified using email or text message. Once that’s done, you’re taken to a page that requires you to sign a release of information for you to use the software. Then you can look at your home sidebar and start importing last year’s tax forms.
As with most other tax preparation software that makes use of the cloud, once you have your sign-in set up, you can switch easily between desktop and mobile versions. It’s nice that you can import your W-2 from a list of employers, as well as upload a PDF of your previous tax return in order to pre-populate your information.
TaxSlayer offers apps on Apple’s App Store and on Google Play and both of them are highly rated. The interface is sleek and simple to figure out, and the filing process is quick.
You can use the app to estimate your tax refund as well as to file your taxes. They even have their refund calculator and access to recent blog posts to stay on top of the latest tax developments. If you want, you can start the process on your phone and then finish on your desktop or laptop. This can be especially helpful if you have complicated taxes.
TaxSlayer offers general support by phone or email to all users and live chat support to Premium and Self-Employed users. Only those with Premium or above can get help from tax professionals as well. All other customer service is going to be more general and tech-focused, without advising to help you do your taxes.
TaxSlayer Pros & Cons
- Free option. Like many other tax software platforms, TaxSlayer has a free version for filers with very basic, straightforward tax situations. Unlike other platforms, even a state return is included for free with this plan.
- Low prices. Compared to other providers, TaxSlayer’s rates are on the low end, and the value of the Classic plan is particularly good.
- Self-employed options. TaxSlayer not only has a very affordable dedicated Self-Employed plan but also lets filers use just the Classic plan for freelance, contract, or other non-employee income.
- Professional support. If you pay for at least the Premium plan, you’ll get audit assistance for three years, unlimited help from a professional, and more.
- No software downloads. If you like to install tax software and file your returns yourself, TaxSlayer is not for you.
- No full preparation services. TaxSlayer does not give you the option to have a professional file for you. If you’re willing to pay for full tax preparation services from a pro, check out other platforms.