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      July 4, 2020

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Tax Software

  1. TurboTax
  2. E-file
  3. Tax Slayer
  4. eSmart Tax
  5. Liberty Tax
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E-File vs Tax Slayer

Best Tax Software

To help you find the Best Tax Software, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of E-File and Tax Slayer.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Tax Software, please Click Here

What's the best tax software for preparing your federal and state returns? In the past, many taxpayers either tried to slog through the paperwork on their own or spent huge amounts of money to hire a professional tax preparer. Of course, in today's digital age, it should come as no surprise that more than 53 million people use tax software to prepare and file their returns online.

One of the most compelling reasons to use a reputable tax software package is because of the constant changes to tax law. Figuring out what exemptions you qualify for, what income requires you to pay additional taxes, and how to claim any deductions can be challenging and also have a major impact on whether you get a big refund - or owe big time!

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Best Reviews

2020

Tax Software Reviews

3.5 stars
E-File

E-FILE

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Cost:

Simple Federal E-file - free

Deluxe Plus E-file - $18.99

Premium Plus E-file - $34.95

State - $19

E-file is one of the newest names in the online tax prep marketplace, getting its start in 2014. Since then, more than a million US taxpayers have used the platform to prepare their tax returns.

The main reason to consider E-file for your tax program is because of their rock-bottom pricing. As with most providers, you can get free Federal Basic software that includes single or joint filing. For just a little extra at $18.99, you'll get access to E-file's Deluxe Plus program, which includes income up to $100,000 and allows you to file with dependents, deduct mortgage interest, and claim any retirement income. Finally, for just $34.95, E-file gives you their Premium Plus package, which supports all deductions and credits, allows you to enter both business and personal income, and allows you to itemize your deductions if necessary. These prices are much lower than the competition.

Be aware that E-file keeps those prices low by not offering downloadable or CD-ROM tax software - in other words, your only option with this service is to complete their online tax prep program.

You should also know that E-file only offers customer support via email. Fortunately, many customer reviews say that their questions were answered promptly and accurately, even without any more live options.

If you're new to filing your taxes with an online program, you can find a wealth of information at the bottom of the E-file site. Whether you want to learn about deductions and credits or your rights as a taxpayer, you'll find that and much more. E-file doesn't offer any dedicated support in the event of an audit, so if you have any concerns about what can trigger audits and how to respond if you are selected for one, be sure to read that article on the site too.

So, compared with the two higher-ranked tax software programs in our review, what is E-file missing? First, you won't get as much hand-holding throughout the process of filling in your tax forms. You can't upload previous tax returns in order to automatically fill in some of the details you need, and you can't connect to your employer's system to upload your W-2 directly: you'll have to enter all of that information manually. And, regarding that email-only customer support, you'll only get help with using the tax software itself, not advice from tax professionals. Again, keeping their service to the bare-bones minimum is the way E-file keeps costs low.

While E-file isn't the most robust tax prep program available, it is the most affordable for most people. We recommend this tax software for people who have simple returns or who already have some experience with preparing their own returns - you'll save a lot of money compared with higher-priced competitors.

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3 stars
Tax Slayer

TAX SLAYER

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Cost:

Simply Free Federal + State - $0

Classic Federal - $24

Premium Federal - $37

Self-Employed Federal - $47

Ultimate Federal - $57

State Filing - $29 per state

TaxSlayer is the best choice for people who are comfortable with preparing their taxes and who want to save money. It's one of the only tax software products in our review that offers a completely free option for both Federal and State filing.

Why should you be comfortable with tax prep to choose this program? Two reasons: getting responses from TaxSlayer representatives can take up to 48 hours via email, and even though the company advertises support via phone and chat, those channels aren't easy to find. And, if you need audit assistance, you only qualify for help from TaxSlayer if you've used their Premium software package. No returns with Schedule C, K-1, or form 2555 will be covered, either.

On the other hand, TaxSlayer has some features that make it worth considering. First and foremost is the fact that they're less expensive than most of their competitors. Take a look at what you get with each of the provider's tax prep packages:

  • Simply Free - if you're single or married-filing-joint, you can prepare and file your Federal AND State tax returns for free. This package includes any education deductions and credits you may qualify for.
  • Classic - if you have dependents, this could be the right package for you. You'll pay $24 for your Federal prep and file, and $29 for each State return needed. You can easily import your W-2, and all deductions and credits are included. Classic is offered at no charge to active duty military; you'll find that option under Products & Pricing at the top of the site.
  • Premium - get all the features of the Classic package plus 3 full years of IRS audit assistance, priority support, and access to tax pros if you have questions. This package costs $37 for Federal and $29 for each State return.
  • Self-Employed - you keep all the features of Premium, plus extras specific to self-employment (1099 and Schedule C support, access to a tax professional with expertise in self-employment, personalized guide to self-employed taxes). You'll pay $47 for Federal and $29 per State return.
  • Ultimate - for $57 (Federal; State returns are still $29), you'll add identity protection/restoration services and preferred support access, plus one-on-one help from a tax pro on any questions you may have.

After we browsed the site for a while, we got a pop-up offering us a discount of 20% on our Federal e-file.

Another nice perk is the possibility of paying nothing out of pocket when using TaxSlayer. If you qualify for a Federal refund and opt to have it delivered via direct deposit, you can choose to have your TaxSlayer fees deducted from that refund.

TaxSlayer guarantees to give you the maximum refund you're entitled to receive; if you enter the same data in any other tax software and come up with a bigger refund, TaxSlayer will give you back any fees you paid them. The site also has a helpful Tax Refund calculator, which you'll find under the Support & Tax Tools link at the top of the page. Of course, this tool only gives you a rough estimate and is not meant to give you detailed information, especially if your tax situation is complex.

While TaxSlayer has a generally good reputation, with an average of 8 stars out of 10 across 4000+ customer reviews, some customers had issues when trying to use this tax software close to the filing deadline. The site crashed, data was lost, and people were scrambling to use other online tax prep services - which they were able to do without a problem. We appreciate that TaxSlayer responded to those customer complaints with a commitment to improve their service, but this might not be the ideal software to choose if you've put off doing your taxes until the last possible minute.

TaxSlayer is a great choice if you've got a simple return and want to file both Federal and State tax returns at no cost. Or, if your return is a little more complicated and you're familiar with the process of preparing your taxes, this tax software might save you a little money over the competition. But, if you want a well-rounded tax prep program that will walk you through all of the steps and that offers abundant customer support, TaxSlayer won't be your best fit.

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Continued from above

Tax software can save you a lot of time and stress by staying up-to-date on each change made by the IRS, so that your return is accurate to the penny. But with all of the different options out there, how can you decide which tax software is right for you?

Here are several factors to keep in mind:

  • Complexity of Your Return. If you're a small business owner who owns a home and has numerous investments, your return will be much more complicated than a single person with no dependents and renting an apartment. Make sure the tax software you choose fits your situation.
  • Format. Do you need or prefer to have a tax prep program that can be downloaded to a laptop rather than used 100% online? If your internet connection is limited, you may want a program that lets you work offline all or most of the time, with options to file your return on paper as well as via e-file.
  • Live Help. If you're unsure of yourself when putting together your return, you may feel more reassured if you choose a company that offers help in real time from tax professionals. Some services give you that assistance via phone and/or live chat, while others maintain brick-and-mortar offices throughout the US that you can visit in person. Be sure to check if these services are included with the purchase of the tax software or if you'll have to pay extra for them.
  • Cost. What will you spend to prepare and file your tax return? Is it comparable to what you'd pay for tax software on a competitor site? Most services don't include state preparation and filing in their federal tax prep packages, so look for those additional fees if that applies to your situation.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Tax Software available today. We hope this information helps you choose the right package for your needs, so that you can file your returns accurately and easily!

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