TaxSlayer Review 2017

Income Taxes, Personal Taxes, Taxes
You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved. Here's how we make money.

NerdWallet’s rating
 
Recommended for
✔ Deal-seekers not worried about an audit

 
TaxSlayer is one of the best deals on the market. Its features, interface and support options are comparable to those offered by providers charging twice the price. All users get free email and phone tech support, but premium users can submit questions to tax pros, get priority tech support and gain access to free live chat.

 

TaxSlayer
 
 
Start your return at TaxSlayer's secure website

 

Pros

  • A real bargain compared with bigger-name competitors
  • Clean user interface and interview-style Q&A
 
Cons

  • Only tech support is free with free version; you have to pay to get access to tax support
  • Free version is free only if filing a Form 1040EZ

↓ Compare TaxSlayer with others

 
TaxSlayer’s prices
 
This is a huge plus for TaxSlayer — its packages are less expensive than nearly every other competitor in our universe. People who need advanced tax software, which can run $100 or more elsewhere, can especially benefit from the price difference, particularly when you factor in what other providers charge to prepare a state return.

People with simple tax situations might be drawn to TaxSlayer’s free option, but beware — it’s only for people eligible to file a Form 1040EZ, but new this year is that state returns are free.

Another nice price perk is that active-duty military members get a 50% discount off their filing fees regardless of which paid package they choose. The company also has a loyalty program in which users earn points for e-filing their returns and referring friends and family. The points can be redeemed for retailer gift cards.

Available packages and list prices

 
Free Basic
Federal: $0
State: $0


This option allows you to file a 1040EZ and your state return for free. It comes with unlimited email and phone tech support, but if you want tax support you’ll need to pay another $34.99.
Classic
Federal: $17
State: $22


The free version is for 1040EZ filers; this is the package for everybody else: itemizers, landlords, freelancers and so on. It imports W-2s and will pull in last year’s return to get you going. All versions come with unlimited email and phone tech support, but if you want tax support, you’ll need to upgrade.
Premium
Federal: $35
State: $22


This package has all the features of the Classic version, plus better support: audit assistance, access to tax professionals, priority tech support and live chat (that’s just for tech support, too, though).
 

 
One note about prices: Providers frequently change theirs, and we’ve found at least one serving up small variations to users in different locations. We’ll keep updating this review, but you can verify the latest price by clicking through to the provider’s site.

TaxSlayer does not offer desktop software, so if you don’t want your return to reside in the cloud — that is, you’d rather it stay on your computer while you work on it — you should consider another provider.

[Back to top]
 
TaxSlayer’s features and ease of use
 
TaxSlayer’s interface is as handsome as some other more expensive versions on the market, and it comes at a fraction of the price. The provider also has a mobile app that allows customers to take pictures of their W-2s instead of keying in tons of numbers. A banner along the side keeps track of where you are in the process, and the software displays your refund or amount owed.

taxslayer-ux-gif

 
Because the software is online, you can log in from other devices if you’re working on your return here and there.

[Back to top]
 
Support options with TaxSlayer
 

Ways to get help

• Searchable knowledge base
• Free tech support by phone, email or chat
• Access to tax professionals (if you paid for it)

Like other providers, TaxSlayer offers an online knowledge base users can search for answers about specific tax issues. Though phone and email tech support are free, the more valuable kind of help — tax help — is free only for Premium users. With the tax support, users submit their questions to Enrolled Agents or trained tax preparers; the company says it will respond within 24 to 48 hours.

Chat is also available, though only for tech support. Hours are typically 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but during tax season the hours are longer and include weekends.

taxslayer-help-gif

 
If you’re audited
 
If you’re afraid of getting audited, when choosing tax software you should know what kind of support you’re getting. First, there’s a difference between “support” and “defense.” With most providers, audit support (or “assistance”) typically means guidance about what to expect and how to prepare — and that’s it. Audit defense, on the other hand, gets you full representation before the IRS from a tax professional.

TaxSlayer Premium comes with free audit assistance (users of other versions can buy it for $28.99), which helps you prepare for an audit but won’t represent you in front of the IRS. And note that freelancers or anybody else filing a Schedule C won’t qualify for audit assistance. The coverage applies for three years from the date you buy the software. There is no audit defense available.
 
Refund options
 
TaxSlayer can load your refund onto an American Express Serve debit card if you like. And no matter how you file, you can choose to receive a refund via direct deposit to a bank account (the fastest option) or in the form of a paper check. Other options include applying the refund to next year’s taxes or directing the IRS to buy U.S. Savings Bonds with your refund.

If you’re using a paid version of TaxSlayer, you also have the option of paying for the software out of your refund. But there’s a $19 charge to do that.

[Back to top]
 
How does TaxSlayer compare?
 

 



Start your return
 



Read full review

Start your return
TurboTax


Read full review

Start your return
TaxSlayer is one of the best deals on the market. Its features, interface and support options are comparable to those offered by providers charging twice the price.

All users get free email and phone tech support, but premium users can submit questions to tax pros, get priority tech support and gain access to free live chat.
TaxAct’s no-nonsense design will be a turnoff for some, but the cost is lower than many competitors and there’s free email and phone support.

The interface isn’t fancy, and there’s less of a Q&A feel than other packages, but the data-entry process in general is similar to most and there are plenty of tools to help you along.
TurboTax stands out for how easy it is to use and its intuitive design and flow.

It’s pricier than most, but while confident filers may not need the bells and whistles and can find better value elsewhere, many people will find this experience to be worth a few extra dollars.
Compare more software

 
The bottom line
 
TaxSlayer is not as well known as big brands like TurboTax and H&R Block, but even though meaningful support is relatively thin unless you’re willing to pay extra, overall the provider offers a great price point and attractive software.

 

Start your return at TaxSlayer's secure website

 

Tina Orem is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: torem@nerdwallet.com.