Best for Self-Employed Filers
Tax season can be a stressful time, especially if your tax situation has grown more complicated due to changes in tax laws, regulations or your financial circumstances. Entrusting your taxes to a professional can also be costly and time-consuming. These reasons lead many to seek DIY tax filing software and do their taxes on their own for a reduced price.
Among the many DIY tax filing software on the market, TaxSlayer is an IRS-approved and user-friendly option. It's also affordable and offers various options for different tax situations. So whether it’s your first time submitting a tax return to the IRS or you’re a seasoned filer, TaxSlayer may have what you need to file taxes.
TaxSlayer was among our top picks for the best tax software of the year for being one of the most affordable options for self-employed filers. For about $60, freelancers can file their federal returns and get live chat assistance from tax professionals and receive estimated tax payment reminders.
TaxSlayer Tax Software Pros and Cons
- Affordable packages
- Military discounts available
- Suitable for DIYers
- Limited audit assistance
- Poor quality Q&A and help content
TaxSlayer has different pricing options to accommodate various tax situations. For those with very simple returns, the Simply Free tier offers free federal and state filing services. The Classic tier, which starts at $29.95, covers all forms, deductions and credits but doesn't include the extensive support the Premium tier provides.
TaxSlayer Premium includes all forms, deductions and credits as well as email, phone support, live chat and Ask a Tax Pro. The premium service may be a good choice for those with more complicated tax situations or who may just need an extra hand in the tax filing process.
Finally, TaxSlayer Self-Employed is best for self-employed individuals who need to file both personal and business taxes. In addition to all the support from the Premium tier, the Self-Employed option includes personal and business income and expenses, 1099, and Schedule C forms.
TaxSlayer prices are quite low compared to other tax software, particularly for self-employed filers. For most tax situations, TaxSlayer software costs less than competitors.
Military discounts available
TaxSlayer offers free federal tax returns to active-duty military personnel, regardless of their tax situations. State tax returns cost an additional $39.95.
TaxSlayer Military includes all the usual paid TaxSlayer features, including e-filing, credit and deduction help, all major tax forms, document upload and autofill, IRS inquiry assistance and TaxSlayer’s 100% accuracy guarantee.
Suitable for DIYers
Taking your tax return needs to a tax specialist or accountant can be costly, time-consuming and ultimately not worth it for most uncomplicated tax situations.
If you have a single source of income and no dependents, investments or property, doing your taxes on your own without the help of a professional should be perfectly fine. Still, you need to ensure that your taxes are accurate and you won’t run into problems, which is where tax preparation software comes in.
Limited audit assistance
TaxSlayer offers an audit assistance option for its higher-tiered tax software products, including TaxSlayer Premium, TaxSlayer Self-Employed and TaxSlayer Military. This can be a promising option, but there are a few important caveats to keep in mind.
First, TaxSlayer only provides audit assistance within three years of filing your tax return, regardless of tier. Although going back three years is standard for an IRS tax audit, more extensive audits for substantial tax errors can go beyond three years. If you are audited and the audit goes beyond three years, TaxSlayer will not offer assistance, and you may need to invest in a third-party audit assistance or defense.
The other caveat to be aware of regarding TaxSlayer's audit assistance is that it's assistance, not defense. Audit defense services are more expensive, but the defender can take a more active role in the audit process, even communicating with the IRS on your behalf.
That said, not everybody needs an audit defender, and audit assistance can be enough.
Poor quality Q&A and help content
The Q&A and help content on TaxSlayer's website is sparse and lacks variety compared to competitors. Articles are short and only cover general topics.
That said, TaxSlayer seems committed to improving its help section, as the content on its blog is consistently updated. Furthermore, if you need dedicated assistance, its Premium tier touts quality customer support.
TaxSlayer Tax Software Offerings
TaxSlayer offers four main pricing tiers, each with different features and benefits.
Looking to file your taxes for free? For simple tax situations, TaxSlayer Simply Free might be for you. If your taxable income is under $100,000 and you don’t claim dependents, itemize, take the earned income tax credit, or have investments, rental income or a business, you can take advantage of TaxSlayer's free service.
There are some downsides. Simply Free is the only tier that doesn’t allow you to import documents, making you fill in the fields manually. In addition, the eligibility requirements for using Simply Free are stringent, and it's possible that you may not meet them. If this is the case, you will need to purchase TaxSlayer Classic. Otherwise, Simply Free is a good option for those who qualify.
Classic — the most popular TaxSlayer tax product — covers most tax situations and costs $34.95 for federal returns and $39.95 for each state return. It’s a significant step up from Simply Free, supporting more complex tax situations, including investments and rental properties.
Classic covers the same basic features as Simply Free, with some significant added bonuses:
- W-2 upload: Classic is the first tier that allows you to upload your W-2 forms and will even extract the data to automatically populate the relevant fields in your tax return, minimizing errors.
- Prior year comparisons: As you work your way through your current tax return, Classic shows you your data from the previous years, including income, deductions and credits, helping you keep things accurate year-to-year.
- Maximum refund guarantee: If TaxSlayer is responsible for any errors in calculation on your tax return, the company guarantees you will receive a full refund of your tax preparation fees.
At $54.95 for federal returns and $39.95 for each state return, the Premium tier is the next step up from Classic. Premium's main selling point is its access to additional support, making it a better option if you need extra help with your taxes. In addition to all the features of Simply Free and Classic, Premium also offers:
- Live chat support: One major perk of the TaxSlayer Premium package is access to live chat support for all your tax questions and needs. TaxSlayer extends its live chat support hours during tax season to increase availability at the peak time of the year.
- Ask a Tax Pro: With Ask a Tax Pro, you can pose your tax questions directly to a TaxSlayer pro and receive a call back in 24 to 48 hours. While TaxSlayer discloses that the information given by their tax professionals should be seen as general education and not legal advice, this is a beneficial service for those with questions about their taxes that can’t be resolved very quickly.
- Skip-the-line email and phone support: Premium TaxSlayer users get priority access to phone and email support from the TaxSlayer team, which cuts down wait times and facilitates a more personalized experience.
- Audit assistance. TaxSlayer Premium comes with free audit assistance for three years after filing your tax return. This can be helpful, but be aware that issues relating to Schedule C, K-1, or Form 2555 are not included in TaxSlayer’s audit assistance feature.
This product is best for those who would benefit from additional support from professionals. If you are a new filer or have more complicated questions, like how to file back taxes, TaxSlayer Premium may be the right product for you.
TaxSlayer Self-Employed costs $64.95 for federal returns and $39.95 for each state return. This is the highest and most extensive tier, offering services for complex self-employment tax situations. One of the more affordable self-employment tax services on the market, TaxSlayer Self-Employed includes everything from all previous tiers, plus:
- Professional self-employment guidance: Self-Employed users have access to the Ask a Tax Pro feature available with Premium, but with added access to tax professionals who are experts on self-employment.
- Self-employment tax tips and reminders: Self-Employed offers tax resources and guides for quarterly taxes and other business obligations.
TaxSlayer Tax Software Pricing
TaxSlayer Tax Software Accessibility
TaxSlayer is part of the IRS free file program and offers tax services across the country. Those who qualify for free filing with the IRS can also file their state taxes for free in select states. For more information, visitnTaxSlayer's website.
TaxSlayer support is easy to contact through its website. You can find the TaxSlayer phone number, email and contact form easily online. You can also contact TaxSlayer by clicking the “Help and Support" tab at the top of the screen in your return or by visiting the “My Account” tab once you've logged into the site.
TaxSlayer operates on a straightforward, easy-to-use interface that walks the user through each step of the income tax filing process. Moving between sections of the tax return to review and make changes is easy. Additionally, the Classic, Premium and Self-Employed tiers allow users to compare current tax data with that of previous years, simplifying the process of tracking their financial information over time.
TaxSlayer Tax Software Customer Satisfaction
TaxSlayer reviews online from customers and major publications have skewed generally positive, and the company has been praised for its ease of use, affordability and customer service. Although TaxSlayer customer service doesn't operate around the clock, it's responsive and available to answer your tax questions.
TaxSlayer Tax Software FAQ
Is TaxSlayer a legitimate company?
How does TaxSlayer tax preparation software work?
Can you import forms with TaxSlayer tax software?
How We Evaluated TaxSlayer Tax Software
- User experience
- Customer support
- IRS approval
- Audit assistance
Summary of Money's TaxSlayer Tax Software Review
TaxSlayer is suitable for most tax situations, especially for self-employed individuals. It offers great prices and can match the features of other competitors. However, the company could continue to develop its customer support features and online web content. Overall, TaxSlayer tax software is a good option, particularly if you are self-employed.