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      July 4, 2020

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Tax Slayer vs Liberty Tax

Best Tax Software

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

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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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Tax Software Reviews

3 stars
Tax Slayer


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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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3 stars
Liberty Tax


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Simple Federal - $34.95

Basic Federal - $44.95

Deluxe Federal - $64.95

Premium Federal - $84.95

State preparation and filing extra

Liberty Tax has helped millions of taxpayers to prepare and file their returns since 1997. As one of the few online tax software options that includes the ability to meet with an in-person representative if problems arise, it's easy to see why people would be interested in using this service.

Because of their 4000+ brick-and-mortar locations, Liberty is able to include a free in-office double-check of your tax return when you use their service to prepare it online. Along with features that allow you to import previous years' returns that you prepared using competitor software, online-to-office transition of your in-progress return if you get stuck, and audit assistance, Liberty Tax seems like a good choice for tax prep.

However, using the Liberty Tax website wasn't as easy as most of their competitors. When we went to get an idea of their online tax options, we were distracted by the constantly-scrolling display of their four federal tax filing packages: Simple, Basic, Deluxe, and Federal. To find out what each package included, we had to click on the "Start Now" button - which took us to a page that asked us to create an account instead of giving us more detailed information. (It felt like we were being asked to get married on a first date!)

This might be due to the fact that Liberty Tax is prioritizing a different site, eSmart Tax, as their online tax software portal. Although some pages on both sites had a copyright date that was 2 years old at the time of our review, the eSmart site was easier to navigate and understand. Both companies offer the same services, as eSmart Tax is owned by Liberty Tax.

Liberty Tax is also the only service in our review that doesn't have an option that includes free filing of simple federal returns. Even their sister site, eSmart Tax, has a free option. Liberty does allow you to create an account for free and start preparing your return - "try us for free and pay only when you file" - but who wants to go through all of the steps of preparing a return and then NOT file? That's really not giving you anything for free, is it?

Because the Liberty Tax site was challenging to navigate, less than transparent in their pricing, and required you to create an account and start filing a return to see how their system works, you'll probably have a more hassle-free experience with another service. And, if you like the in-office features offered by Liberty Tax but want a fluid, up-to-date online experience, your best bet would be to start with the eSmart Tax site instead of using the Liberty Tax main website.

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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. 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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