It’s time to figure out how you’re going file your tax return. There are a number of options, including visiting a tax professional in person. However, DIY tax prep software is also a common choice.
Different options for tax preparation are available from various companies. If you’re trying to decide which service to use as you prepare your taxes, here’s what you need to know about TaxSlayer.
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 being 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. They've recently updated their interface so it's easier to navigate and they have an app option as well.
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.
|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
No matter what product you choose, TaxSlayer offers the following features:
- Prepare, print and e-file your return
- Import information from a previous tax return
- Intuitive navigation, including a sidebar that keeps track of your progress
- Maximum refund guarantee
- 100% accuracy guarantee
- Free email and phone tech support
Access to other features and services depends on the version of the product you get. Some of the more expensive versions come with live tax help in addition to tech support.
Federal Return: $0
|If all you need are the basics, you can file your state and federal taxes free. You can also claim education deductions and credits. However, if you plan to itemize, you need to consider a different version, since this won’t include much of anything beyond the Form 1040 and what you need to claim the EIC and above-the-line breaks.|
Federal Return: $17
|If you’re itemizing, freelancing or a landlord, you can make this version of TaxSlayer work for you. It allows you to import your W-2, and it offers you assistance with notices from the IRS for one year. While you can use it for more complex situations, it’s really best for those with fairly simple circumstances, with just a few extra needs. You can add the “Ask a Tax Professional” service for $22 and audit support for $29.95. Military personnel get federal returns free.|
Federal Return: $37
|This can be a good choice if you’ve got a more complicated situation. As with Classic, you have access to all the credits and deductions available. You get priority phone and email support and access to live chat, all included in the price. You’ll also get IRS audit assistance for three years. And you can ask a tax expert questions if you get stuck or are unclear about something on your return.|
Federal Return: $47
|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 those who are self-employed. You can use a deduction maximizer, designed to help you identify expenses that are tax-deductible. And you get access to a tax-pro who is an expert with self-employment returns.|
You can start any package free, but as you go along, you might end up paying a different price, based on what you actually end up doing. You might not see what you are required to pay until the end, when you’re ready to file.
Right now, you can get 25% off your federal tax return filing cost when you use our TaxSlayer link and code SLAYIT25 below.
Tax Refund Options
TaxSlayer offers fairly standard tax refund options, including:
- Direct deposit
- Paper check
- Apply to your tax prep fees
- Green Dot Bank 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. 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 by importing a PDF of last year’s Form 1040.
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. 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.
This is one of the areas where TaxSlayer doesn’t meet the same level of care as other tax prep software options. While you can get phone and email tech support with TaxSlayer, it doesn’t actually help you answer tax questions. You need to pay for a more expensive product to get access to support from tax professionals. But then again, many other tax preparers that do offer access to a tax pro are more expensive or require extra fees.
You can use the searchable knowledge database, and there is live chat for those with premium packages and above. Getting on-demand help requires payment if you don’t have a more expensive package.
TaxSlayer Pros & Cons
Low prices—TaxSlayer is one of the most budget-friendly DIY tax prep software services available.
Clean and intuitive interface—It’s easy to use TaxSlayer, and navigation is simple, although you won’t get the same robust level of guidance as with TurboTax.
Military discount—Active-duty service members can get the Classic edition free when filing federal taxes.
Plenty of tools—There are a number of tools, including a tax refund estimator, that can be used on mobile as well as on desktop.
Less robust customer service—You don’t see the same level of customer service and support with TaxSlayer as you do with other services like H&R Block and TurboTax.
Audit support is very basic—The audit support costs extra for Free and Classic users, and even for Premium and Self-Employed users, it comes with help navigating an audit but not actual representation. You must get Ultimate to get access to representation.
You’re not sure what you’ll pay up front—Even though you choose a package that you think reflects your situation, that may not be what you pay in the end.
Tax pro help is limited—You can get help from tax pros, depending on your package (or whether you’ve paid), but you submit your questions, rather than interact live or using screen share.