Are you ready to slay your income taxes? Enter TaxSlayer, a straightforward mobile solution for electronic tax prep in the 2020 tax season. You can launch a free account in just seconds and poke around to see if it’s right for you.
In this post, we’ll share details about TaxSlayer products including e-file options, how to get started, pros and cons, and a consumer’s-eye view of one of the best tax software programs available.
TaxSlayer at a Glance
- Multi-generational, family-owned tax service business
- Simple pricing structure
- Offers five filing products (Simply Free, Classic, Premium, Self-Employed, and Military)
- Federal filing prices range from $0 to $47
- State returns are $29
- An authorized IRS Free File partner
- Handles all types of income, even cryptocurrency
- Up-to-date tax forms with 2020 tax reform
- 2020 site redesign and enhancements
- Accessible on all devices, including iOS and Android
- Free access to start your return
- Unlimited phone and email customer service
- Robust knowledge center and free tax tools
- Dedicated to user privacy and cybersecurity safeguards
- Maximum refund guarantee
- 100% accuracy guarantee
What Is TaxSlayer?
TaxSlayer is a secure, online solution for filing taxes. It offers affordable pricing, solid accessibility, and unlimited phone and email tech support.
Created by the Georgia-based Rhodes-Murphy & Co., which was founded in 1965, the TaxSlayer website was launched in 1998. Last year, the TaxSlayer team helped its customers complete more than 10 million state and federal electronic (e-file) returns and process $12 billion in refunds.
Is TaxSlayer Free?
TaxSlayer has five products to choose from, including TaxSlayer Simply Free, which is 100% free for e-filing a federal and state return. Plus, active-duty military service members can file a federal return for free, regardless of income.
As a partner with IRS Free File, you can also receive a free federal return with TaxSlayer if you meet one or more of these qualifications:
- Your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $69,000 or less and you are 51 or younger
- You qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit
- You are a veteran on active duty with an AGI of $69,000 or less
If you qualify for a free federal return, you might also be able to get a free state return, depending on your home state.
TaxSlayer Filing Options
TaxSlayer develops products to suit the needs of different taxpayers. There are five options to choose from:
- Simply Free – for people with simple tax situations
- Classic – for those seeking value who don’t require much assistance
- Premium – best for those who want extra help and guidance
- Self-Employed – for freelancers, contractors, and side-hustlers
- Military – for active duty military
All plans have free phone and email customer service. This can be particularly helpful when you have specific questions about using the software that isn’t covered in the TaxSlayer Knowledge Center. All plans also come with IRS inquiry assistance, an added benefit that helps you resolve issues up to one year after the IRS accepts your return.
TaxSlayer Simply Free
This is TaxSlayer’s only completely free option for federal and state e-filing. With TaxSlayer Simply Free you can file a Basic 1040 and a state return for $0. As with all plans, you’ll have unlimited phone or email support if you have a question about using the tax software.
TaxSlayer Classic comes complete with all IRS forms, deductions, and credits. At $17 for a federal return and an additional $29 for a state return, it offers a lot of bang for your buck.
TaxSlayer Premium is TaxSlayer Classic taken up a notch. When you need customer service via phone or email, you’ll have priority access, as well as a live chat feature for quick tech support resolutions. Also included is IRS audit assistance for up to three years after filing, plus access to a tax expert – all for a one-time fee of $37 to e-file a federal return and $29 for state.
This is the top of the line for TaxSlayer products. For $47, you get everything included with Premium, plus year-round tax tips. It’s best suited for contractors, freelancers, and the side-hustle nation. It offers tax guidance specific to self-employed workers, including topics like 1099 income, maximizing work-related expenses, and quarterly estimated payments. State returns are a flat fee of $29.
TaxSlayer Military provides free e-filing for a federal return and $29 for state e-filing for all active-duty military members. It has all of the features of TaxSlayer Classic.
How Do I Get Started With TaxSlayer?
To get started with TaxSlayer, choose a product and create an account here. If you end up needing a different product, you’ll be able to switch later in the process before you e-file.
You’ll need a few seconds to enter your email address, choose a username and password, and add your phone number. After that, you’ll get a verification code by text. Once you enter the code, you’re in.
You can create an account from any device using the app or online interface. TaxSlayer is compatible with most browsers and is accessible on iOS and Android devices, including smartphones and tablets, as well as laptop and desktop systems.
Is TaxSlayer Easy to Use?
The 2020 version of TaxSlayer features a site redesign and enhancements for improved clarity, ease of use, faster filing, and increased resources for self-employed filers. Seth Babb, TaxSlayer’s Director of Consumer Products, stated that the company pinpointed several areas they wanted to refine in response to last year’s tax reform laws. “What we’re creating in 2020 is an easier, more straightforward filing experience to give our users the confidence and the assurance they need to file their own taxes.”
In our opinion, TaxSlayer is easy to use if you’re already comfortable with entering data online or into an app. Even if you aren’t tech-savvy, you might still find the income tax solution easy to navigate. The user interface has a no-frills, organized layout, and you have the option of being guided through your taxes or selecting your own forms.
There’s plenty of white space on the pages, so it’s not visually overwhelming, and the tax software has pop-up reminders and built-in features to keep you from bypassing required information.
Military, Classic, Premium, and Self-Employed products allow you to “fast-fill” your information with W-2 import and PDF uploads of tax documents. The W-2 import requires entry of your Employer Identification Number (EIN).
If you’ve used TaxSlayer before, the redesign of the tax software promises to pull data from prior years and will automatically transfer data from your federal return to your state return to help you save time.
How Do I Get My Refund With TaxSlayer?
Not sure if you’ll get a refund this year? Estimate your tax refund for free with the tax refund calculator to get an idea of what you can expect.
No bank? No problem. TaxSlayer offers multiple options for getting your refund, including:
- Direct Deposit: Funds get automatically deposited in the bank account of your choice.
- TaxSlayer Prepaid Visa Debit Card From Green Dot: Funds are loaded onto a reloadable prepaid card via direct deposit. The card is issued by BBB-accredited and A+-rated Green Dot Bank, who is FDIC-insured. You can use it for online bill pay, at partner ATMs, and through its mobile money management app.
- Printed Check: You can receive a check by mail from the IRS.
- File and Go: With this option, you can have zero out-of-pocket costs if you are expecting a refund.
With File and Go, your tax prep fees will be deducted from your refund, but since this service is provided by a third-party, you are also subject to bank processing fees. Remaining funds will be deposited into a checking or savings account of your choice.
How Long Will It Take to Get My Refund?
Your refund processing time is determined by the IRS. In general you can expect to get your refund within 21 days after e-filing, though it can sometimes take longer. If it does take longer, you can contact the IRS, download the IRSGo app or use the IRS Check My Refund Status feature on the web. Taxpayers who select the prepaid debit or a printed check option should allow for additional mailing time once your refund is issued.
What We Love About TaxSlayer
One of the best benefits of TaxSlayer is its reasonable pricing. Yes, there are cheaper alternatives on the market, but this tax software provides great perks at a range of affordable price points.
- Accessibility: We love the flexibility of using the app on iOS and Android devices or the browser version on tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. As long as you have access to the internet, you can get started.
- Free Customer Service: You get access to 24/7 email help. While in the program, you can select the Help & Support feature to view open phone line hours for your time zone.
- Start Any Return Free: This is a no-obligation way to test it out if it’s right for you.
- Straightforward Pricing Structure: All pricing for TaxSlayer products is easy to find and compare so that you can decide on the best option for your tax situation.
- Simple Interface: The design is simple, clean, and user-friendly. Ease of use was one of the key factors in TaxSlayer deciding to invest in site upgrades this year.
- Multiple Refund Options: You have four different ways to get paid – direct deposit, paper check, prepaid card, and direct deposit via File and Go.
- Knowledge Base: This free, online repository of tax topics and questions asked by TaxSlayer users is beneficial and easy to search. You don’t have to be a TaxSlayer customer to use it.
- No Fee For Rejected Returns: If your tax returns get rejected by the federal or state government, you can submit a corrected return without an additional cost if you use the same TaxSlayer product.
- In-Depth Guide for the Self-Employed: You can access the free guide and download it to get extra advice on topics that impact contractors and freelancers.
Where TaxSlayer Falls Short
We get it: No tax software is perfect. TaxSlayer has a lot of praiseworthy features and benefits, but there are also some areas that could use a boost.
Limited Tax Help With Free, Classic, and Military: The unlimited customer service support doesn’t provide professional tax help. Rather, it’s available to address TaxSlayer-specific issues. For help with tax-related concerns, you are limited to the Knowledge Base. Help from a tax pro is only available with Premium or Self-Employed editions of TaxSlayer.
Lack of Integration: If you use other apps or accounting programs such as Personal Capital, there is currently no way to transfer data to TaxSlayer. You must enter your financial data manually.
Surprise Product Upgrades: It’s possible to start with TaxSlayer Simply Free and expect to finish with the same product. However, depending on the data you enter, you might get automatically upgraded and only find out when you are ready to file.
Navigation Issues: If you’ve already answered a question using the guided feature but change your mind, you won’t have an option to change your answer when you use the back button. Also, if you like to jump around in different areas of your return, your data might not be saved. You’ll get a pop-up reminder of this as you go through the process.
Extra Fees: TaxSlayer works with third-party banks for the prepaid card and File and Go refund services. Those service providers have their own fee structure. While TaxSlayer mentions these fees, it provides no easy way to find information about what it costs to use these services.
Audit Assistance Limitations: Audit Assistance comes with the Premium and Self-Employed options, but if you file a Schedule C, K-1, or Form 2555, you’re not covered. This feature will help you prepare for an audit, but will not represent you, send inquiries to the IRS on your behalf, or prepare an amended return.
TaxSlayer Review: The Bottom Line
TaxSlayer is an ideal option for taxpayers with simple returns (only filing a 1040), people who are adept at DIY taxes and are looking for a bargain, and self-employed individuals. If you have complex tax issues or don’t feel comfortable doing your own taxes, TaxSlayer isn’t right for you.
Classic provides the best overall value, but lean toward Premium if you think you’ll want to talk to a tax pro or would rather use live chat for customer service. No matter which product you choose, you’ll have unlimited access to TaxSlayer customer service professionals who can help you navigate the software and work through any technical issues that arise.
With accuracy and maximum refund guarantees, affordable pricing, a commitment to cybersecurity, and free access to start a return, TaxSlayer is a solid, risk-free option to kick the tires on this tax season.
TaxSlayer Review 2020
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