TaxSlayer: What you need to know
TaxSlayer’s prices are a huge selling point, and its comparable packages are consistently more competitively priced than many of their rivals, making it one of the best tax software options going.
TaxSlayer has been a family-owned company (originally Rhodes-Murphy and Co.) since it was founded as a tax preparation business in Augusta, Georgia in 1965. It ventured into software development in the late 1980s and has made steady inroads into the tax preparation software market ever since then. The company reports more than ten million state and federal filed tax returns annually, a number that grows each year thanks in part to their prices, which are lower than industry leaders such as TurboTax or H&R Block.
TaxSlayer’s prices are a huge selling point, and its comparable packages are consistently more competitively priced than many of their rivals. This makes a notable difference for any level of tax return complexity, but especially at the higher, most advanced levels.
The features stand up against the other products in the marketplace, one small downside being that the software only exists online, so users cannot work on their desktops offline and information is stored in the cloud. Also, the support features are not quite as robust and only premium users can submit queries to tax return professionals. However, the interface and usability are impressive, and the value aspect is hard to argue with, especially for very basic tax returns.
- Free: $0
- Classic: $24 Federal, $29 State
- Premium: $37 Federal, $29 State
- Self Employed: Federal $47, State $29
- Ultimate: Federal $57, State $29
TaxSlayer: Key features
Handles all state and federal tax returns
Finds deductions and credits that users may be eligible for
refundNOW, receive up to $1,000 of a tax return just 48 hours after IRS approval
TaxSlayer products range from free (for very simple tax returns) through to $86 for the most advanced ‘Ultimate’ version, which includes both State and Federal taxes. As stated, TaxSlayer’s prices are among its best selling points. The Free edition allows users to file both State and Federal taxes for free, but with limitations.
The Classic version is the most popular choice, and is much more versatile, running at $24 for Federal taxes and $29 for State taxes.
The Premium edition ($37 Federal, $29 State), is more or less the same product but comes with extra support features.
The Self Employed edition (Federal $47, State $29) is a similarly elevated version for freelancers and small business owners .
Finally, the Ultimate package (Federal $57, State $29) comes with everything listed so far plus a host of extras to make returns easier.
- Free: For simple tax returns
- Classic: Regular tax returns, with itemizations
- Premium: Audit assistance, specialist help
- Self Employed: Access to self employment specialist
- Ultimate: Audit defence, ID protection, one-to-one support
TaxSlayer’s Free edition works perfectly well for simple tax returns, but does not allow any itemisation, so only works for people who don’t plan to claim any deductions or credits (outside of very standard deductions, income tax credit, etc).
The Classic version is much more robust and should work for most regular tax returns. It allows itemizations, can be used by landlords and freelancers and imports W-2 forms via photos taken with a phone camera. It will also import last year’s tax returns for users’ reference.
The Premium edition is the Classic with lots of extra support features. These include audit assistance and access to tax professionals along with a live chat option. Self Employed is a similarly enhanced product that comes with the features of Classic but with access to a self employment specialist.
Finally, the Ultimate version includes safety nets such as a three-year audit defense and identity protection, as well as extra one-to-one support features.
All of the various editions of TaxSlayer’s software are fully equipped to prepare and submit tax returns in all fifty states as well as all Federal tax returns, and there are tools within all of the paid versions that can be used to find deductions and credits that they may previously have been unaware of. An industry-first feature called refundNOW allows customers to receive up to $1,000 of their tax return just 48 hours after IRS approval.
TaxSlayer: Usability / User reviews
- Clean interface
- A+ rating from Better Business Bureau
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TaxSlayer uses more or less the same interface across all of its editions. It’s a clean, monochrome look with some buttons that use colors to stand out. Information is collected in a mix of boxes and interview-style conversational questions though it is slightly more formal than some of its peers.
There’s an easy-to-refer-to banner along the left side of the screen that keeps track of which stage the user is at in the process, and on the right had side of the screen, the software displays a constantly updated total of the refund the user can expect or amount owed.
The software is hosted online in the cloud, so there’s the major advantage of being able to log in from almost any internet-connected device, though users who prefer to work offline on their desktops will prefer other brands. The program is efficient at highlighting potential errors as users complete their tax returns, but unlike some of the other options on the market, there is no final review before the tax return is filed.
The ability to import basic paperwork such as W-2 forms is a definite boon. TaxSlayer has been accredited to the Better Business Bureau since 2005 and the organization currently awards it the top, A+ rating.
TaxSlayer have an impressive company history and their transition from bookkeeping into one of the major players in the tax return software industry has been a solid move. Their main selling point is affordability, and all of their products are relatively cheap compared to similar products sold by their peers.
The software itself is straightforward and easy to use, and the variety of versions means that the vast majority of tax payers can find one to suit them. The levels of included support are slightly lower than those offered by TurboTax and H&R Block, but users can pay extra for one-on-one expertise. Overall, customers will appreciate the value of their packages and the functionality that’s on a par with any on the market.