OnlineOnline tax preparation
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Includes all IRS forms and schedules at a decent price
Use a guided interface or work on your own
Easy to use
Help and guidance not as strong as the competition
State filing is extra
Simple to use and with a logical, user-friendly interface, TaxSlayer covers all the basics you need to complete an accurate tax return.
TaxSlayer may not be a household name but it has actually been around in some form for decades - since 1965 - which makes it one of the founders of this type of product. We looked at what the online software preparation tools have to offer.
TaxSlayer has a pick of three different products. With all of the packages, filing a state return costs extra. The cost is currently a flat rate $23.99 for the first state return and $14.99 for each additional state. All the major forms are included, apart from in the Free Basic version, which only provides the 1040 EZ but you can file this for free. In fact, TaxSlayer supports probably the widest selection of documents any individual needs to file, including extra schedules like C and F. The TaxSlayer Classic product is $12.99 and includes prior year info and comparisons. The Premium edition is $34.99 and includes prior year information, audit assistance, help from tax professionals, priority support, and a live chat feature for assistance. TaxSlayer offers a Military Discount on its products where active duty military can claim 50 percent off on federal and state filings.
TaxSlayer is designed to work on desktop, tablet or mobile regardless of the version you are dealing with. We found the software worked well across all platforms.
TaxSlayer is a secure product, with the right procedures in place to protect your identity and your information when you are creating and submitting your e-file. It doesn’t perhaps give you all the security bells and whistles as, for example, TaxAct but it is a safe solution for your tax filing needs.
Audit - The Premium packages gives free audit support, which assists in the event of an audit within three years, with TaxSlayer helping to bring the audit to a swift and favorable end. There is a one-off charge for audit support if you have one of the other two TaxSlayer packages.
Health care focus – TaxSlayer provides links and information for dealing with essential healthcare purchases and calculating tax savings on healthcare.
Import – The Premium version has the useful feature of pulling in prior year information into the tax return, which makes it easier to edit and skip over the sections you know have remained the same. You can also transfer data from PDF files but it’s not such a quick process.
If you discover that you made a mistake on your tax return after you have filed it, TaxSlayer has an amended return feature for rectifying the issue. It’s a bit pricey, so you won’t want to have to use it.
Ease of Use
TaxSlayer is a simple package and has a more pared-down look compared to competing products. This may be attractive to people with experience filing taxes, but it can make it more difficult for beginners to find information.
TaxSlayer is one of the few programs to give you a choice over whether you follow the guided interview process or complete the sections on your own. This choice is good as it covers everyone - beginners have the option of hand-held guidance and those people with more experience filing taxes can simply get going with the process without having to wade through sections they don't need. You can put placeholders or markers where you want to return later, and move forward and backward as you wish.
This online tax software is accessible for beginners although the language used and the definitions given are not as down-to-earth or easy to understand as other providers. That’s not to say that the software is difficult to use, just that the overall tone is not as conversational as TurboTax. It would be better if TaxSlayer provided easier access to support and guidance from within the system itself, so you don’t have to move away from the form to look up information.
Help & Support
TaxSlayer provides particularly strong support in the form of the Life Events section – the interface is clear and clean, and the information within the section is useful for giving an overview of how different events in the family or family finances affect your tax return.
The Knowledgebase includes a wide variety of topics relating to all aspects of the tax return process, and the TaxSlayer system, although there is no users forum.
Phone and email support is available with all TaxSlayer packages. The Premium package adds on live chat support, which is useful when you need a quick response to allow you to continue filling in your return.
The Ask a Tax Professional service is available with Premium, and you can put your tax question to one of a team of trained EAs (IRS enrolled agents), getting an answer within one business day. Premium also provides priority support where you can move to the front of the line and get a faster response by email, phone, or chat.
TaxSlayer makes completing your tax return an inexpensive issue, and the system is easy to navigate with clear and concise instructions. It’s not the most user-friendly system available, but you shouldn’t have too many problems getting your return completed.
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