Where taxpayers once had to fill out and send in their federal and state tax paperwork via snail mail, technology has made tax preparation significantly easier, and we are very grateful for that. Tax software programs like TaxSlayer even make it possible to file your taxes using any device such as a mobile phone or tablet, and you can even use their basic plan to file your federal and state taxes for free.
That’s part of the reason we’re able to recommend TaxSlayer for the 2021 tax season. This tax preparation software has improved tremendously over the years, taking great care to offer the best technology and up-to-date tax information that can help you reduce what you owe and get a larger refund when all is said and done.
If you’re hoping to use tax preparation software to get your taxes out of the way this year, you should absolutely check out TaxSlayer in addition to other major players like H&R Block and TurboTax. Read on to learn about the main features TaxSlayer offers along with how much you should expect to pay for each of their plans.
How TaxSlayer Works
Like most online tax preparation companies, TaxSlayer uses a simple question and answer format to figure out your tax situation and help you qualify for as many deductions and credits as possible. You’ll start by creating a free account and answering some basic information about yourself and your family. From there, you’ll enter an array of information about your finances, including your income for the year.
Keep in mind that you won’t have to come up with these numbers out of thin air. You’ll enter income information directly from W-2 forms you receive from an employer, or from 1099 forms you receive if you’re an independent contractor or you’re self-employed.
You’ll also be asked to provide information on tax deductions you might qualify for based on savvy moves you made throughout the year.
For example, you will be asked to share details on sums of money you contributed to a traditional IRA or a Health Savings Account (HSA). If you have investment income, you’ll also follow the prompts to include this information, including how much you earned in dividends or interest for the year.
What Happens Next
Once you’ve answered all the questions TaxSlayer asks, this software will automatically formulate your tax return for you. Not only does TaxSlayer look for additional deductions you might qualify for, but it syncs your tax return with current tax laws to make sure your return is accurate and compliant.
Once you have time to look over your return and confirm everything looks correct, TaxSlayer will submit your state and federal tax return electronically on your behalf. They’ll also notify you when the IRS accepts your return so you can relax and breathe a sigh of relief.
Also note that, like other tax preparation software, TaxSlayer offers a tool that lets you track your refund using the IRS.gov website.
What’s New from TaxSlayer in 2021?
Tax preparation software rarely stays the same from year to year, and TaxSlayer is no exception. Like they do every year, TaxSlayer spent the bulk of the off-season tweaking its new software for 2021.
“Updating our software and educating our customers on how tax reform affected their situation was a major focus last year. After analyzing the feedback from our customers at the end of the season, we pinpointed essential areas that we wanted to refine,” said Seth Babb, Director of Consumer Products at TaxSlayer in a press release. “What we’re creating in 2021 is an easier, more straightforward filing experience to give our users the confidence and the assurance they need to file their own taxes.”
New benefits you can look forward to this year include:
- Improved W-2 importing and faster filing
- An optimized quick file option
- Streamlined navigation on their website
- A more consumer-friendly tone overall with less “tax speak” that confuses people
TaxSlayer has also rolled out additional tools and resources for self-employed individuals, with “enhancements to the Schedule C and 1099-MISC sections and additional educational resources tailored to their specific tax filing situation.”
TaxSlayer Features and Benefits
TaxSlayer offers numerous included benefits that can make tax time easier regardless of how complicated your tax situation may be. They also offer a broad range of plans that aim to help customers with different needs depending on their employment and tax filing status. Here are some of the main features you can access if you use TaxSlayer to file your tax return this year:
Accuracy Guarantee: TaxSlayer offers an accuracy guarantee that includes the reimbursement of federal or state penalties as well as interest charges if a mistake is made.
Maximum Refund Guarantee: TaxSlayer also guarantees you’ll receive the maximum tax refund you can qualify for, and they put their money where their mouth is. If you don’t receive the maximum refund you can qualify for, they’ll refund the amount you paid for the TaxSlayer software.
File from Any Device: You don’t even need a computer to use TaxSlayer tax preparation software. You can file your taxes using any device, whether you prefer to use a smartphone or a tablet.
Free Options: If you have a very simple tax situation, you should also know that TaxSlayer offers a free option for state and federal taxes.
Advanced Online Security: TaxSlayer uses advanced security features to protect your personal information and your identity. Features include multi-layer authentication, SSL encryption, and a dedicated security team.
Free Plans for Military: TaxSlayer allows all active-duty military members to file their federal tax return for free. All tax situations and plans apply.
TaxSlayer Plans and Prices
TaxSlayer is offering four different plans for the 2021 tax season. These include:
- Simply Free: $0 federal and $0 state
- Classic: $17 federal and $29 state
- Premium: $37 federal and $29 state
- Self-Employed: $47 federal and $29 state
Simply Free: $0 federal and $0 state
TaxSlayer offers a free tax preparation option that includes a basic federal return as well as one state return. This option lets you prepare, print, and electronically file federal and state taxes online using any device. You can also upload last year’s tax return to expedite the process, and this is true regardless of how you filed your taxes the previous year.
Phone and email support are also provided, so you can get your questions answered if you run into any trouble while answering TaxSlayer’s questions and preparing your return. Note that this version of the software is for consumers who file a Basic 1040 tax return, so it won’t work for everyone.
Classic: $17 federal and $29 state
TaxSlayer’s Classic plan offers slightly more functionality than the free version of the software. For example, this plan is set up to help you qualify for all the tax breaks you deserve, whether that includes credits for children or dependents, homeowner credits and deductions, or deductions for retirement income, interest, dividends, investments, and more.
This plan also comes with IRS inquiry assistance that can step in to help you answer IRS questions for up to one year after you file.
Note that all forms you need for a federal and state tax return are included with this plan and that it can work for any tax situation. However, you may want to consider upgrading to the next plan up, the Premium Plan, if you want more one-on-one support.
Premium: $37 federal and $29 state
TaxSlayer’s Premium plan is meant for consumers who want more one-on-one help while they file their federal and state tax returns. This plan does cost slightly more for the federal return, but you’ll receive priority support over the phone, through email, or live chat support. You’ll also be able to access a tax professional who can provide personal support and assistance while answering any questions you have about your specific tax situation.
This plan also comes with IRS audit support, which lasts for up to three years after you file a tax return with TaxSlayer. If you are subject to an audit, a TaxSlayer tax professional will help you gather information and assist you as you prepare.
Self-Employed: $47 federal and $29 state
Finally, TaxSlayer offers a software plan created specifically for self-employed individuals, independent contractors, or side hustlers. This plan makes it easy to prepare, print, and file your taxes electronically, but with additional support for 1099s and Schedule C tax situations.
With the Self-Employed plan, you can get access to a tax professional who can answer your questions and walk you through the process. You also get access to special resources for self-employed tax filers, as well as an upgraded tax deduction finder that pores over all potential deductions and credits you might qualify for as a small business owner.
Should You Sign Up for TaxSlayer?
If you’re looking for tax preparation software that won’t cost an arm and a leg, then TaxSlayer is worth considering. Plans offered by this company are less expensive overall when compared to competing plans from H&R Block and TurboTax, so they can make sense if you want to spend as little as possible. And since TaxSlayer offers an entirely free version for federal and state taxes, they can be an excellent option if you have a very simple tax situation each year.
Still, it’s important to note that sometimes you get what you pay for. TaxSlayer doesn’t offer IRS audit support for all of their plans, nor do they offer some of the perks and features of some of their competitors. We suggest comparing all the tax preparation companies as a result, so you know exactly what you’re getting up front.
The Bottom Line
TaxSlayer is easily one of the top tax preparation software companies offering plans today, and it shows in their user reviews. TaxSlayer boasts an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars across more than 4,700 reviews on TrustPilot, and they currently have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
If you need basic tax help and want to use software to make filing your taxes a breeze this year, this company is worth checking out.