If you were doing your taxes in 1990, you probably did them with little more than a couple of sharp pencils, a pot of coffee, a bottle of aspirin, and a calculator.
One year later, the first tax prep software hit the market. It was very crude by today’s standards—little more than a PDF version of a 1040 form—but the technology quickly grew into the online, user-friendly tool it is today.
One of the top tax software programs which has improved the game drastically is TaxSlayer. In this review, we’ll take a look at TaxSlayer’s key features and fees to help you decide how it compares to the competition.
My TaxSlayer Review: Top Highlights
There are a lot of great tax apps on the market now. How do you choose among them?
You’ll want to make sure that the app you use has the features you need. So if you have some business profits, you’re self-employed, or you receive dividends or earn capital gains, you’ll want to make sure the package you buy has the schedules you’ll need to handle those issues.
You should also take a look at the guarantee the package offers. Does the software come with a maximum refund guarantee? Does it guarantee accuracy? Does it offer audit support?
The whole point of doing taxes online is that it’s supposed to be easier—so you’ll want to consider how easy your tax prep app is to use. And it probably goes without saying, but you should consider reputation and price.
The product that does all these things is called Tax Slayer. Though the company’s name sounds like something out of today’s Marvel Comics Universe, TaxSlayer has actually been around since 1965.
Based in Augusta, Georgia, the company has grown a lot since in the last half-century and today handles over 10 million tax returns a year.
Would you like to use the tax prep company that the IRS has hired to provide online assistance to taxpayers? Do you want to use the tax prep company that over 90,000 tax professionals use? If so, then TaxSlayer is for you.
TaxSlayer incorporates the best features of today’s tax prep applications. The app uses a conversational interface—it asks you questions in plain language (not IRS jargon) and you fill in the answers.
It allows you to save your work as you go and takes into account all the latest changes to the tax code. Best of all, it allows you to file your taxes electronically. And that often means a faster refund.
Of course, there are still situations where seeing a licensed tax preparer or a Certified Public Accountant is preferable to relying on an app.
For example, you might want to deal with a live human being:
- if your taxes are especially complex
- if you operate your own business or own rental properties
- if you’re dealing with inheritance issues
- if you have income from more than one state or country
- if you have money in some of the more exotic investment vehicles
For most of us, though, today’s tax prep applications are more than sufficient to sort out what we owe the government.
A Word About TaxSlayer’s Guarantees
One of the best features of TaxSlayer is its guarantees.
- Refund: First of all, TaxSlayer guarantees you will receive the maximum legal refund. If you don’t, TaxSlayer will refund the purchase price of the software.
- Deducted cost: Second, the company guarantees taxpayers that it will deduct the cost of using TaxSlayer directly from your tax refund. For many people, using TaxSlayer won’t require any out-of-pocket expenses.
- Accuracy: Third, the company guarantees accurate calculations. It will refund to you any penalties and interest charges that you have to pay as a result of an error or missing data.
TaxSlayer is available in six different editions and price points:
Simply Free – $0 (state returns included)
You can’t beat free, right? As long as your taxes are simple and can be done on a basic 1040 form, you can use TaxSlayer without charge. What’s really amazing is the free live support via phone or email.
Plus, if you’ve got student loans, TaxSlayer will make sure you get all the education tax credits and student loan interest deductions coming to you.
Here’s a quick overview of the benefits of the free version of TaxSlayer:
- Prepares, prints, and e-files simple tax returns
- Phone or email support from a real person without charge
- Student/education tax benefits
- 100% accuracy guarantee
- Upload a prior tax return, even one from another tax service
- Compares return to previous year’s return to minimize taxes
- Best for singles, students, and couples with no dependents
Classic – $17 (plus $29 each for state returns)
This is TaxSlayer’s most popular edition and is an outstanding value at just $17. However, most people file both a federal and state return, which bumps the total cost up to $46.
One of the coolest features of the Classic edition is that when you upload your W2s, the software grabs all the relevant information from it and uses it to automatically fill in your tax form.
This saves some typing—but more importantly, it prevents human error from creeping into your return.
- Prepares, prints, and e-files most tax returns
- Assistance with IRS tax notices for 1 year
- 100% accuracy guarantee
- W2 form upload autofills return
- Handles dependents, homeowners’ deductions, retirement income, interest, dividends, investments and more
- Best for those with dependents
Military – $0 (plus $29 each for state returns)
TaxSlayer offers its Classic edition to all active duty servicemen and women without charge for the preparation of a federal tax return. However, it still charges $29 for each state return.
MIlitary plan features:
- Prepares, prints, and e-files federal taxes for free
- Available to active duty military personnel
- All features of TaxSlayer Classic (above)
- Best for active duty servicemen and women
Premium – $37 (plus $29 each for state returns)
The Premium edition is for people whose tax returns are especially complex. At this level, you get unlimited live chat support with tax professionals—and you get bumped to the head of the line on phone and email queries.
Because people with complex taxes may be more likely to be audited, TaxSlayer offers audit assistance for three years after filing.
Here’s what you need to know about the Premium package:
- Prepares, prints and e-files complex tax returns
- Audit assistance for 3 years
- Tax pros on call for unlimited help with complex questions
- Priority email and phone support
- Live chat support
- Best for those with complicated income and tax situations
Self-Employed – $47 (plus $29 each for state returns)
Because people who are self-employed have a unique set of tax forms to complete, TaxSlayer puts out an edition of its software specifically tailored to their needs.
Not only does the software complete the required self-employment schedules, but it also includes tutorials year-round on how you can minimize and plan for your taxes.
Here’s what the self-employed package offers:
- Prepares, prints, and e-files returns and associated documents for self-employed people
- Live support from experts in self-employment tax
- 1099 and Schedule C support
- Finds all applicable deductions
- Includes educational materials on self-employment taxes
- Income and tax tips sent year round
- Best for freelancers, side hustlers, and the self-employed
Ultimate – $57 (plus $29 each for state returns)
At the top of the line of TaxSlayer’s offerings, the Ultimate edition is geared toward people whose taxes are complex and who want to be updated about new tax laws and regulations.
To sweeten the deal, TaxSlayer Ultimate plan includes identity theft protection and (more significantly) restoration. If you get hacked, TaxSlayer will help you minimize the damage.
Take a look at what you’ll get with the Ultimate plan:
- All the features of the Premium edition
- Includes identity theft protection and restoration
- Features educational materials on new tax rules
- Best for people who pay close attention to IRS rules and have complicated tax situations
What are Customers Saying?
TrustPilot rates TaxSlayer #1 in its category of tax prep software. People who post comments about the company generally rave about how easy and fast it is to use—which is exactly what tax prep software should be.
It’s also reassuring to see that TaxSlayer actually pays attention to consumer comments and responds to them—even to those from people who are unhappy.
The BBB gives the company an A.
The FTC filed a complaint against the firm in 2017 after some tax returns were hacked, but in that case only 0.09% of the company’s customers were affected. And since then, the company has further enhanced its security procedures.
Regardless of how complicated your taxes are, TaxSlayer is an outstanding choice.
Its prices for people with simple tax returns and for military members are tough to beat. The company provides live support to all its customers—even to those using the free edition.
It has a great reputation and a loyal customer following. It guarantees accuracy. And even if you’ve never used tax prep software before, its remarkably easy to understand.