TaxSlayer Review for 2020: Easy to Use and Fast Refund

 

It’s true–most people don’t enjoy doing their taxes. But with the right tax filing software, it can at least be quick and straightforward. If you’re searching for an accurate and inexpensive solution, TaxSlayer is a good option.

If you’ve thought about doing your own taxes this year, you’ve probably looked at different tax preparation software. Before deciding on how you will file your taxes, it’s good to take a look at several different alternatives.

To help you narrow down your choices, this TaxSlayer review will go over the software’s capabilities, ease of use, plans, and pricing, as well as some of its features. This will help you decide if it’s a good fit for your particular situation.

In essence, TaxSlayer is a trusted, easy-to-use online tax service. If you have a simple return you can do both your federal and state returns for free. Their plans go up from there maxing out at $47 for returns with self-employment income.

Read on to find out if TaxSlayer may work for preparing your tax return this year.

What is TaxSlayer?

TaxSlayer is a tax preparation software that offers affordable options for doing your own taxes. When the pro version was first introduced in 1992, it was marketed to professional tax preparers, accountants and CPAs.

Five years later, the company used the same technology to develop an individual online tax preparation software. The software allows you to file your taxes on the go from any laptop or mobile device.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Tax Refund?

The IRS typically processes refunds within 21 days. Direct Deposit is the fastest way to get your refund. Below are the different ways you can get your money:

Direct Deposit

This option allows you to have your refund deposited directly into your checking or savings account. You can file your federal and state return electronically and then take advantage of direct deposit. This is the fastest way to get your refund. 

Debit Card

You can have your federal refund directly deposited onto a TaxSlayer Prepaid Visa® Debit Card. You can not receive your state refund this way.

Mailed Check

If you don’t have a checking or savings account, you can have a check mailed to you. Keep in mind that the check will be issued to the mailing address listed on your accepted tax return.

Learn more about TaxSlayer here

Is TaxSlayer Easy to Use?

Overall, the tax software is fairly easy to use with a clean interface and helpful videos throughout. It offers enhanced guided navigation, which helps the user figure out what to do next when filling out the tax return information.

If the program detects an error when you are going through the prompts, it will highlight the error and won’t let you proceed to the next step until it’s fixed.

Of course, you want to be sure to have all the necessary data before getting started filling out your return with TaxSlayer. This just helps to make your e-file smooth and seamless.

Related: The Official PT Money Tax Preparation Checklist (Free Download)

TaxSlayer’s e-file software has the ability to upload a PDF version of your previous tax returns. This can make the entire return process easier by fast filling information from past years. It also allows users to import W-2 forms.

The free version is best for simple returns. For more complex tax situations, TaxSlayer offers different solutions based on the amount of additional support you want or need when you are filing your return. All the federal forms and tax breaks are included.

TaxSlayer Plans and Pricing–How Much Does it Cost?

TaxSlayer offers four different editions for filing your tax return. All editions are comparable in features to other programs such as TurboTax. However, TaxSlayer is often cheaper and comes with a free version for those who have simple returns.

Below are the four different plans and how much you can expect to pay for each one.

Simply Free ($0)

As its name suggests, this option is completely free. As in, you can file your federal taxes and one state tax return for $0, with no hidden fees

What’s the catch? It only works for filers who use form 1040–as in, they have no dependents and are filing their return with a basic W-2. For anything more complicated, you’ll need to go with one of the other options, which are very affordably priced.

tax slayer

If you do have a simple and straightforward return, this is definitely a good option. The software will walk you through filling out all necessary information and show your refund getting calculated in real-time.

With TaxSlayer Simply Free you’ll get unlimited email and phone support, which can help you with technical and basic tax advice. However, if you need access to a tax professional, you’ll need to pay for the Premium option.

TaxSlayer Simply Free Tax Filing A low-cost tax preparation software that has special services for the self-employed and active military members. Filing is free for Form 1040 filers! Get Started TaxSlayer Simply Free Tax Filing We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

TaxSlayer Classic ($17)

If you don’t qualify for the free version, you can probably use the Classic option. It’s the most popular plan and costs only $17 for the federal return. Keep in mind that state tax returns will cost you $29 for each state.

With TaxSlayer Classic, you get access to the W-2 import option in addition to being able to import previous years’ tax return information if you’re switching from another provider. The step-by-step instruction guide will take you through the entire filing process to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Just like with the Simply Free edition, there is unlimited email and phone support available to help you troubleshoot any technical difficulties or answer tax questions. 

TaxSlayer Premium ($37)

At $37 for a federal tax return and $29 for each state return filed, it’s still much cheaper than going to a brick-and-mortar tax preparation service such as H&R Block.

TaxSlayer Premium offers all of the features of the Classic edition but with the added support of a tax professional. You will also get live chat support for any real-time tax questions that may arise as you’re filling out your return, including technical problems.

In addition, you’ll get IRS audit assistance for three full years. This means that TaxSlayer’s enrolled agents and CPAs will help you in case of an IRS audit up to three years after you e-file your return.

TaxSlayer Self-Employed ($47)

If you’re self-employed, TaxSlayer offers an option to file your taxes 100 percent online for $47. This is only for federal taxes–state taxes are still $29 per state.

With TaxSlayer Self-Employed, you’ll get all of the features of the Premium edition but with added support specifically for the self-employed. This includes 1099 and Schedule C forms. You will also get access to TaxSlayer’s personalized guide to self-employed taxes.

This option also comes with a deduction finder tool that helps you reduce your liability and get all of the tax breaks you deserve. You also get access to a self-employed tax professional that can help address your own unique situation and full support in case of an audit.

 

TaxSlayer Military ($0)

Active Military can file a federal tax return through TaxSlayer Classic for free this year. Qualified military personnel who have an active military EIN to can gain access to TaxSlayer for free. The process includes all tax forms and all tax situations. Filing a state return through TaxSlayer will still cost military members $29 per state.

You’ll be able to quickly prepare, print, and e-file your federal taxes. Military personnel also receive IRS inquiry assistance for up to one year after the IRS accepts your return.

TaxSlayer review

TaxSlayer Review of Features and Tools

TaxSlayer offers several features and tools that can make filing your taxes a little easier. Below are highlights of some of the ways the software aims to make the process fast, easy, and hassle-free.

No Upfront Costs

TaxSlayer allows you to file your tax return with zero out-of-pocket fees. Even if you don’t qualify for the Simply Free edition, you can file your return and pay for the filing fees out of your refund. However, this only works if you do get a federal refund.

Maximum Refund Guarantee

Worried you won’t get your maximum refund using TaxSlayer? To that end, the software offers a guarantee that you will get the maximum tax refund you are entitled to–or your money back.

To get a refund, you’ll need to show that another tax preparation software such as TurboTax shows you will get a larger refund or have a smaller tax liability using the same data.

Accuracy Guarantee

With any version of TaxSlayer, even the free one, you get 100 percent accuracy guaranteed. Users should double-check entries to be sure information is entered correctly. Next, TaxSlayer will review the return for errors, based on the data entered. This ensures the return can be processed by the IRS and states without delay .

Tax Refund Calculator

If you’re looking for a way to estimate your federal income tax refund, TaxSlayer offers an online calculator that can help. Just plug in all of the required information and get an idea of how much you will get back from the IRS (or how much you will owe.)

IRS Audit Assistance

The Premium and Self-Employed editions both offer IRS audit assistance. TaxSlayer will work to resolve IRS inquiries regarding your federal and state return for three years after the IRS accepts your e-file.

Deduction and Credit Finder

Everyone’s tax situation is a little different. This is why a tool such as the deduction and credit finder can help you maximize your refund and get all of the tax breaks you deserve. It helps you reduce your tax liability and find all deductions and credits that would apply to your specific filing situation.

Get started with TaxSlayer here

Site Security

Since filing your tax return online requires inputting a lot of personal information, security is of utmost importance. TaxSlayer has safeguards in place to ensure your sensitive information remains protected from unauthorized access.

This includes multi-layer authentication, user information protection, and a dedicated security team. In addition, TaxSlayer offers helpful information on how to recognize and avoid common tax scams.

Mobile Accessibility

In addition to the desktop version, you can also download TaxSlayer’s mobile app and use it to file your return. The app allows you to estimate your refund based on your W-2 (or pay stub) and complete your e-file. It’s available for both iPhone and Android users. Using the Taxslayer app also allows you to receive updates on your tax return through notifications.

You can also start your return on one device and continue on another. For example, start on your phone but continue on your laptop, or vice versa. 

Customer Service

Even the free version of TaxSlayer offers unlimited customer service support via phone and email for technical support questions.

However, live chat and support from a tax professional are only available with the Premium and Self-Employed editions. With these two options, you also get priority support on phone and email inquiries.

Synchronization

If you’ve used another tax preparation service in the past, TaxSlayer allows you to upload the PDF of the return and save yourself some time. This will speed up the process by saving you a lot of data input. You can also import your W-2 and TaxSlayer will autofill your income, wages and more.

Get started with TaxSlayer here

Updates for 2020

Every year, there are changes made to TaxSlayer and other tax software.

In 2020, TaxSlayer did away with Refund Advance, which was an option to receive an advance on a portion of your tax refund based on your estimated tax refund. There was an option to receive either $500 or $1,000 on a prepaid debit card within as little as 24 hours of acceptance by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This was a great option if you needed money quickly.

Something else notably missing in 2020 is the highest level plan from last year, TaxSlayer Ultimate. This was the most expensive plan available and featured perks like unlimited priority “front-of-the-line” support via phone, email, and live chat.

The Ultimate plan also came with Audit Defense, a guide to new tax laws, and identity theft protection. Securely ID (identity protection and restoration) and Audit Defense are available as add ons to any package. All of these features are now available in Premium. 

Income brackets and tax rates have also changed for 2019 tax returns. With TaxSlayer, all tax law updates are in place and calculated so you don’t miss a beat.

Customer Satisfaction

TaxSlayer definitely has a good reputation among users. They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. TaxSlayer also received 4.5 Stars out of 5 from TrustPilot, based on 4,600+ reviews.

The Bottom Line

There are definitely some advantages to using TaxSlayer to prepare your taxes. If you have an easy tax return that uses form 1040, you can file your federal taxes for free regardless of income.

With four different affordably priced service levels, TaxSlayer offers options to fit most budgets and tax preparation situations. However, keep in mind that many of the features such as live chat or access to a tax pro are limited to the paid editions.

TaxSlayer Simply Free Tax Filing A low-cost tax preparation software that has special services for the self-employed and active military members. Filing is free for Form 1040 filers! Get Started TaxSlayer Simply Free Tax Filing We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

taxslayer review

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About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon.

He created Part-Time Money® back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

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  1. Deal breaker: “Currently, the program does not have the option to import your transactions into the program.” (Source: https://www.taxslayer.com/support/467/1099-B-Proceeds-from-Broker-and-Barter-Transactions)

    Have fun if you have 100 pages of 8949.