Competitive prices and simple plans. If you want to DIY your taxes TaxSlayer may be your best bet.
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If you pull up just about any list of the top tax preparation software programs available, there’s a good chance that TaxSlayer will be on the list. Not only is it one of the most popular tax preparation software programs available, but it’s also one of the least expensive.
Their plans are also easy to understand so you can be confident in what you will pay TaxSlayer before you begin. However, the access to tax experts and audit support is limited.
TaxSlayer Pros and Cons
Competitive pricing: TaxSlayer’s paid versions are less expensive than most of its competitors.
Easy to understand plans: You can easily decide which plan is best for you so you'll have no surprise costs when it's time to file.
Email support only: Email support responses can take 24 to 48 hours, which can be a concentration killer if you’re looking to complete your return quickly.
Ask a Tax Pro isn’t a live feature: The Ask a Tax Pro feature isn’t instantaneous; you’ll submit questions and receive your answer within one business day. That removes the option to discuss a complicated tax situation directly, in case new questions arise.
Limited audit assistance: The audit assistance is Q and A only. There is no direct representation for an IRS Audit, not even as a paid upgrade.
TaxSlayer Pricing and Plans
TaxSlayer has the simplest plans of any tax software. If you are going to DIY, and don’t need expert tax advice, then the Simply Free or Classic plans are for you.
If you do want expert tax advice you’ll need to upgrade to either the Premium or Self-Employed plans.
Since you don’t have to pay until you file you can start with Simply Free and upgrade if it’s necessary.
TaxSlayer Simply Free
$0 for federal and $0 for one state return
Simply Free is available only for those who file the simplest tax returns, including W-2 income and student loan interest and education expenses.
Simply Free offers the following features:
- Step-by-step instruction guide
- Upload last year’s return
- PDF import
- Real time tax refund calculator
- Email and phone support for tech questions
- Prior year comparison
- Prepare, print, and e-file your return
The support service will provide technical advice only. If you want tax advice you’ll need to switch to the Premium or Self-Employed versions.
$34.95 for federal and $39.95 for each state return
This is TaxSlayer’s most popular plan. This version includes any form you’ll need no matter what. It covers all income types and all deductions.
It accommodates homeowners, retirement income, interest, dividends, and other investment income. You can also use it for all tax credits, including the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.
It offers all the features of the Simply Free edition, plus the following:
- All major forms
- Fast W2 import
- PDF upload
- Fast Fill Prior Year Info
- IRS inquiry assistance on your federal return for up to one year
Like Simply Free, the support you’ll receive from TaxSlayer will be technical assistance only. If you have tax questions you’ll need to upgrade to Premium or Self-Employed.
$54.95 for federal and $39.95 for each state return
If you have tax questions you’ll need to upgrade at least to the Premium plan. Like the Classic version, the plan provides support for all deductions, credits, and forms.
It includes all the features of TaxSlayer Classic, plus the following:
- Unlimited email support from a tax professional
- IRS Audit Assistance for three full years
- Live chat technical support
This is the only plan that receives audit assistance, and you must efile to qualify.
$64.95 for federal and $39.95 for each state return
If you have 1099 income and have questions specifically related to being self-employed this is the version for you. You will get access to a tax expert that is specifically knowledgeable about self-employment as well as year-round tax tips to make things easier when it’s time to file next year.
TaxSlayer Self-Employed comes with all the features of TaxSlayer Premium but is designed specifically for self-employed tax filers.
It includes the following special features:
- Access to a tax pro that has self-employed expertise
- 1099 income guidance
- Schedule C expense maximization
- Quarterly estimated tax payment reminders
- Year-round tax and income tips
$0 for federal and $39.95 for each state return
Active-duty military will be able to prepare their tax returns using the TaxSlayer Classic edition for your federal return.
It applies to active-duty members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. To determine if you’re eligible for the free offer, you must enter your military identification number from your W2.
Related: Best Free Tax Software
TaxSlayer Audit Assistance
If you efile and use the Premium version of TaxSlayer, you’ll automatically have Audit Assistance for three years after you file the return. This service doesn’t speak to the IRS on your behalf but can answer any questions you have regarding an audit.
They do not offer users full audit support, not even for an additional fee.
Is it Safe and Secure?
Yes, TaxSlayer is safe and secure. They require complex passwords and use 2 Factor Authentication, which means they send a one-time use code to your phone that you’ll need to verify when you log in.
They also use SSL encryption as well as other technical systems to ensure your data is secure.
How do I Contact TaxSlayer Support?
You can call TaxSlayer at 706-922-6741.
They also offer email and chat support. You can fill out an email form or start a chat conversation here.
Is TaxSlayer really free?
Yes, if you have a simple return you can file both your federal and one state for free.
You can also get started for free and then upgrade if needed. You don’t pay until you actually file.
Do I Have to Use the Self-Employed Version if I Receive 1099 Income?
No, you can use Classic for all tax situations. However, if you have a lot of questions specifically about being self-employed upgrading to the Self-Employed version may be useful.
You can start with Classic and see how it goes. If you need to upgrade to Self-Employed you can do so at any time.
Can I Use TaxSlayer if I Have Crypto Investments?
Yes, TaxSlayer does support crypto investments. You’ll need to use at least the Classic version as crypto investments won’t qualify for the free version. If you have questions, you’ll want to upgrade to Premium so you have access to a tax pro.
TurboTax offers three levels of service across four plans. The service levels depend on how much help you want while doing your taxes and the plan cover different complexities of taxes.
The service levels are DIY, Live, and Full Service. With DIY you will receive no tax support and with Live you will get on demand tax support from a real human over the phone. With Full Service, TurboTax will do your taxes for you.
The four plans are Free, Deluxe, Premier, and Self-Employed. You can file for free with TurboTax Free Edition. (For simple tax returns only. Not all taxpayers qualify.) They do not have a plan that covers all situations like TaxSlayer does, that said, the plan that would fit most taxpayers is likely Deluxe which is $69 for federal and $59 for each state return.
However, if you have rental property, investments, or a small business you’ll need a more expensive plan.
TurboTax does offer a few services that TaxSlayer does not. They offer full audit support for an additional fee and live help from a tax pro. TaxSlayer only offers email support.
Check out our full TurboTax review for more information.
H&R Block also has four plans. They are as follows:
- Free (simple returns only)
- Deluxe: $55 for federal and $37 for each state return
- Premium: $75 for federal and $37 for each state return
- Self-Employed: $110 for federal and $37 for each state return
None of these plans offer any tax support, however H&R Block does offer live tax support (in person or virtual) starting at $85 and presumably going up from there depending on how your complex your return is.
Note that H&R Block offers in-person tax prep, including the option to just drop it off and have it done for you. This isn’t something you’ll find in every tax software.
For audit assistance, H&R Block offers informational help with all their returns for life. You can also upgrade to full audit support and H&R Block will deal with the IRS on your behalf.
Check out our full H&R Block review for more information.
TaxAct offers four plans and all of them include access to a tax expert, including the free version.
- Free (simple returns only)
- Deluxe: $24.95 for federal and $44.95 for each state return
- Premier: $34.95 for federal and $44.95 for each state return
- Self-Employed: $64.95 for federal and $44.95 for each state return
Access to a tax expert automatically is nice feature. The way it works is you email your question and then an expert calls you when they are available.
For an additional fee, TaxAct offers full audit support for three years after you file.
Check out our full TaxAct review for more information.
TaxSlayer is very competitive in price and offers an easy-to-understand suite of plans. However, if you want access to a tax professional or audit assistance you may be disappointed.
But if you just need to file your taxes and are confident in doing so without a lot of support then TaxSlayer might be the perfect choice.