TaxSlayer Review: Is It a Good Tax-Filing Software for You?

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Updated on: Feb 4, 2019

TaxSlayer offers online tax preparation software and products that help customers prepare and electronically file their federal and state tax returns, all from the comfort of their home. And with their iOS and Android app, customers can also file their taxes while on the go, regardless of their device or platform.

In addition to mailing your return, TaxSlayer offers more than one direct deposit option that could help save you time and potential delays. In fact, if you’re in a pinch, their Refund Advance service can get you up to $1,000 within 24 hours of filing.

There are perhaps dozens of online tax preparers offering many of the same fundamental services as TaxSlayer. Given the sheer number of options, how can you choose the best company this tax season? Here, we’ll walk you through the process of making a more informed decision, starting with the specific services offered.

Which Services Does TaxSlayer Offer?

Overall, TaxSlayer offers access to four different packages:

Simply Free

Prepare and e-file your federal (form 1040EZ) and state return for free. Information is automatically transferred from your federal to your state paperwork.

Includes easy-to-use forms and menus you can utilize without specialized tax knowledge, a step-by-step direction guide to help maximize your refund, live phone support from a professional agent (email support can take 24-48 hours), and the ability to import a PDF copy of your return.

Classic

Everything included in the Simply Free package, in addition to the ability to e-file your 1040EZ form, as well as gain access to all major forms and schedules, and the ability to pull information from your previous year’s return (if filed with TaxSlayer).

Before you e-file, the company will help ensure your return “is processed by the IRS without delay” by checking for errors and missing data.

Premium

Everything included in Classic, in addition to their Ask a Tax Pro service, which gives you access to an on-staff IRS-enrolled agent who can help you find a solution to your problem.

You’ll also receive priority support—including access to live chat, prior year comparisons, and audit assistance. Here, a TaxSlayer professional will help you with any questions and resolve the matter as quickly as possible, should the IRS audit a return prepared by them.

Self-Employed

Advertised as their most comprehensive package, the self-employed program includes everything found in Premium, as well as the ability to import your W-2s and PDFs from other online tax preparers or services.

This tier is unique from the others in that you can submit 1099 income forms and take deductions for things specific to working for yourself, including deductions for home office use, supplies, software, and other common expenses.

Ultimate

This final tier is the most comprehensive tax software TaxSlayer offers. It not only includes all the various filing nuances we listed in the previous section but it also features audit defense and representation for three years as well as access to a tax pro, an “exclusive guide to tax reform” and priority support.

How Does TaxSlayer Work?

Functionally, the TaxSlayer system seems to work similarly to much of the competition; you’ll start by choosing your product and then entering a username, email address, and password, and choosing a security question.

Next, you’ll fill in relevant details regarding your filing status, personal information, dependents, and federal and state information. As you move through the process, the system will save your data for access later, with a menu on the left-hand side that provides quick access to the different sections.

TaxSlayer Filing Status ScreenTaxSlayer offers a no-nonsense dashboard where filers can move through the process, with Guide Me and Wizard assistance available, if necessary. Credit: TaxSlayer LLC

Unlike some other tax preparation software we’ve used in the past, though, we weren’t able to skip ahead to different sections without completing the previous section.

However, TaxSlayer seems to live up to their promise of making the process as easy and straightforward as possible with several different features.

First, the Guide Me feature does just what it says; it guides you through the tax return process and answers any reporting questions you have along the way. Examples include being uncertain how to enter forms you’ve received, or require guidance that can be provided by asking simple questions.

This feature is available as soon as you start entering details on the Personal Information Filing Status page on the TaxSlayer website. You’ll also continually be asked if you’d like to use the feature as you work through the sections.

Next is the Helpful Video feature, which—when available—can be accessed by clicking on the green play button, which will open a separate page. These videos promise to act as an “online personal tax guide” to walk you through the process of filling out your returns. Note: The website emphasizes that these videos cannot provide tax advice.

You’ll also find several instances where TaxSlayer’s ‘Wizard’ can help provide clarification if you’re unsure about a specific question.

TaxSlayer Filing Status WizardTaxSlayer’s Wizard (Filing Status is shown above) provides additional details about certain topics that help ensure you’re choosing the correct option. Credit: TaxSlayer LLC

Speaking of which, if you’re still unsure about a specific entry after consulting the Wizard (if available), you can place a Reminder Note on the section, which can help you “keep track of all the items you want to double check before filing your return.”

As far as support goes, TaxSlayer provides customers with access to a fairly extensive knowledgebase search tool for articles related to their topic. Customers can also use the search bar under the Help & Support link to find common forms; e.g., “Form 8863 is entered as 8863) or by typing in a specific word or words which identify the form (such as Tuition Fees).”

What Happens After You File with TaxSlayer?

After completing the data entry process and verifying that everything’s correct, most customers will find that they’re either getting money back, or that they owe money.

If You’re Eligible for a Refund

If you find that you overpaid for the previous year, TaxSlayer can help you receive your refund in one of the following ways:

  • Electronic Mailed Check – File electronically, but receive a mailed check as your refund. Typically takes 18-28 days to receive.

  • Direct Deposit – File electronically and have your refund sent directly to your checking or savings account. Typically takes 7-21 days to receive.

  • Direct Deposit Through Civista Bank – Similar to above, but allows you to receive up to $1,000 of your refund within 24 hours, involves no out of pocket expenses, does not constitute a loan, and can usually be completely processed in less than 21 days.

  • Prepaid Debit Card – This American Express Serve® Card prepaid debit card can help you get your refund up to two days faster, and involves free ATM withdrawals and cash reloads for continued use.

TaxSlayer Refund Advance

If you choose to get TaxSlayer’s Refund Advance, you need to know a few things before you choose it.

First, if you’re active duty military, you won’t qualify for the Refund Advance if you use the free version of Classic that TaxSlayer gives you. Only those who pay for a return can get the advance.

Second, your application for a Refund Advance is actually an application to get a loan from TaxSlayer’s partner bank, MetaBank. The application and loan cost nothing aside from what you pay to file your taxes ($17 - $57). The money will go directly to your bank account.

If MetaBank doesn’t approve you for a loan, the site’s fine print says you may still be able to get a refund advance but TaxSlayer will deposit your advance amount on a prepaid Visa card from Green Dot Bank.

Based on our research, putting the money on a Green Dot Bank card is a choice that will end up costing you a series of fees you may not like. According to Green Dot’s website, here are some of the fees you can expect with this card:

  • Monthly charge: $7.95 (waived when you load $1,000 in the previous month)
  • Reload fee: Up to $4.95
  • ATM fee: $2.50 per withdrawal plus ATM’s fee
  • Replacement card: $5

If You Owe the IRS

If you didn’t pay enough in taxes last year, TaxSlayer also provides several options for making payments to the IRS:

Mail Payments – Here, the company will automatically provide a payment voucher if your return shows a balance due, which can be saved as a PDF and/or printed out from within your account, and should also include the relevant mailing address.

Electronic Withdrawal – With this option, payments to the IRS can be electronically withdrawn from your checking or savings account. All you’ll have to do is enter your banking information (routing and account number), which is transmitted to the IRS or state accordingly.

Federal (Only) Payments – According to the TaxSlayer website, “The IRS has several trusted companies that they have approved to process tax payments for them” via credit card, each of whom has “their own percentage rate for figuring a convenience fee for processing your tax payment.”

State (Only) Payments – Similarly, they note that some states allow taxpayers to pay directly through their state website using debit or credit cards, or electronic funds transfer.

» See Also: IRS Payment Plans & Installment Agreements Explained

Taking a Closer Look at TaxSlayer’s App

Given everything we’ve covered, does TaxSlayer’s mobile app add meaningful functionality or convenience to this process?

TaxSlayer App ScreenshotsTaxSlayer’s iOS and Android app allows customers to prepare their returns in advance, receive notification when it’s time, and then file directly from their smartphone. Credit: Google

Using your paycheck or W-2, TaxSlayer’s iOS and Android Tax Refund Estimator app promises to help you calculate your upcoming refund in advance, which could then help you better understand whether or not you need to make adjustments in your withholdings.

Then, the company will notify you when it’s time to e-file, which you can do right from your phone. Afterward, you can check the status of your return and receive relevant updates and notifications.

How Much Does TaxSlayer Cost?

TaxSlayer’s packages are priced as follows:

  • Simply Free: $0 for federal and first state return; $22 for each additional state return
  • Classic: $17 for federal, $29 for state
  • Premium: $37 for federal, $29 for state
  • Self-Employed: $47, $29 for state
  • Premium: $57, $29 for state
  • Active Duty Military: Free Classic filing

While TaxSlayer doesn’t provide refunds on returns rejected by the IRS or any state agency, they do offer a Maximum Refund Guarantee that stipulates you’ll “receive the maximum tax refund you are entitled to,” or they’ll refund the applicable purchase price paid.

Customer support can be reached at (706) 922-6741, or via the contact form on their site. Live chat is also available for Premium members.

What Can We Learn from Online TaxSlayer Customer Reviews?

We encountered nearly 85 customer reviews for TaxSlayer on Consumer Affairs, who had cumulatively given the service an average rating of about 1.5 stars.

There, many seemed to appreciate the ease of use and competitive pricing, although complaints revolved around everything from less-than-stellar support and problems with the software to inaccurate returns and filing errors. Many also referenced the company’s 2015 data breach, which earned them a fine from the Federal Trade Commission.

On the other hand, sites like NerdWallet and PC Mag gave TaxSlayer three and four-star ratings, respectively, frequently citing ease of use and competitive pricing. However, NerdWallet recommended you might want to go with another company if you’re worried about being audited, and PC Mag worried that their support could use some more robustness.

Between Google Play and iTunes, we encountered more than 2,700 user reviews, which had cumulatively given the app an average rating of about four stars. Similarly, most appreciated its ease of use and competitive price, while the most common complaint was inaccuracy and bugginess.

From a company perspective, TaxSlayer is based out of Evans, GA and has been in business since 1965. They held an A Better Business Bureau rating, based on one closed complaint, as of 1/8/18, which referenced being forced to pay a $17.99 fee when they thought the service was free.

How Does TaxSlayer Stack Up Against TaxAct, TurboTax and H&R Block?

Of the four major tax filing sites, TaxSlayer’s pricing is on the lower end along with TaxAct. Keep that in mind as you read through the comparison chart we’ve created:

TaxAct TurboTax TaxSlayer H&R Block
Low Complexity Deluxe+: $29.95 Deluxe: $39.99 Classic: $17 Deluxe: $29.99
Medium Complexity Premier+: $34.95 Premier: $59.99 Premium: $37 Premium: $49.99
High Complexity Self-Employed+: $49.95 Self-Employed: $89.99 Self-Employed: $47 Self-Employed: $79.99
State Taxes $19.95-$39.95 $39.99 $29 $36.99
iTunes App Rating 4.3 stars from 540+ reviews 4.7 stars from 178,000+ reviews 4.7 stars from 300+ reviews 4.7 stars from 8,600+ reviews

As we mentioned a few seconds ago, the most popular tax filing sites are split into two tiers: budget and non-budget.

TaxSlayer and TaxAct fall into the budget categories because their various filing tiers are, on average, at least $10 cheaper than H&R Block and TurboTax.

Amon the two budget choices, we believe TaxSlayer offers the better value not only because their tiers are cheaper and state filing is cheaper for more complex returns, but also because they offer refund advances.

As far as how TaxSlayer compares to the two non-budget tax software options, we’d say they fare well but their interface and options aren’t quite as varied and advance as what you’d get with H&R Block and TurboTax. You can pay an additional fee to get tax expert help from TurboTax and H&R’s CPA’s and enrolled agents (IRS experts) with an average of 15 years of experience.

In the end, which software works best for you is a matter of your budget and the complexity of your tax situation. We’ve used TaxSlayer, H&R Block and TurboTax at varying times over the past few years. TurboTax was very user-friendly for self-employment returns, whereas H&R Block and TaxSlayer were fluid and problem-free when we used them for simple tax returns.

If you’re looking for a budget option for both federal and state taxes, TaxSlayer could be what you’re looking for.

Our Final Thoughts About TaxSlayer

Compared to hiring a CPA, it’s easy to save 75 percent or more when filing your taxes using online or offline software—not to mention the added convenience of filing them at your own pace and schedule, from the comfort of your home.

As we can see from the table above, though, it seems that most online tax software companies provide access to many of the same must-haves, including real-time updates, deduction and credit assistance, refund tracking, and robust data security. Therefore, the ‘right’ option might largely come down to your budget.

Just keep in mind that online tax prep isn’t always perfect, and can often miss eligible deductions or credits. Furthermore, if you’re a college student or a recent grad, the simplicity of your finances means that you often don’t need to hand over money for one of these programs.

But as always, if you have questions about the best software based on your specific circumstances, a free consultation with a professional financial advisor could help you make the most informed decision possible.

If you’re certain that you want to DIY your tax returns, then read through our guide to the best tax software of 2019. We help you see which tax software is best for certain situations. Also, we do an in-depth comparison of each site that can help you gain additional knowledge.

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6 Consumer Reviews for TaxSlayer

Average Consumer Rating: 1.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 0 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 2 1 star:  4
Bottom Line: 0% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-6 of 6
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Tax Advance/Green Dot Card scam

    • Palm Springs, CA,
    • Mar 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    TaxSlayer is misrepresenting the terms from the Green Dot card you must sign up for if you want to get your Federal Tax Refund Advance back in as little as 24 hours. They have the following qualification criteria posted on their website:

    What are the eligibility requirements for TaxSlayer’s Refund Advance?

    To be eligible, you must have a W-2 and a current government-issued photo ID. Your eligibility also depends on your federal tax refund amount, verification of your identity, underwriting standards, and other criteria. Other terms and conditions may apply. TaxSlayer’s Refund Advance is not available to Vermont or Illinois residents.

    What they DON'T disclose is that your Federal Refund amount must be at least $1,500 to get the Advance. This amounts to a usury tax, as you have to pay a fee for the card. Anyone who is applying for a refund advance likely needs the money for emergency expenses. I myself, was trying to use it to assist a good friend who was drastically affected by the 35 day Federal Shutdown and couldn't pay their rent. To omit a criteria that applies to any and ALL applications smacks of false advertising and purely bad business. BEWARE!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    TaxSlayer shady business

    • Florida,
    • Feb 2, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've used this company since 2015. Never had any issues with filing, fees, or advances until this year. The website is set up to guide you each step of the way. 2018 fees consist of a $17 fee to process your tax, then an additional $89 to process. WHAT A RIP OFF this is, the first year I've ever had to pay over $100 to process my taxes. The second disaster comes after you have elected to accept the advance and you're given two option to receive your funds - Direct Deposit or Green Dot. I chose Direct Deposit but noticed there were never any funds deposited. I called customer service in reference to this matter ONLY TO BE TOLD because I chose the option to have my funds direct deposited and not a prepaid Green Dot card, I was no longer eligible. So, my first question is, why am I still being charged an $89 processing fee for an advance I'm not receiving?!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    TaxSlayer lost me in 2018! RefundNOW sucks!

    I've used Taxslayer for over ten years. Upon completing my return, I applied, and so I thought I also qualified for the refundNOW $1000 option.

    After 48 hours, and I hadn't received a deposit, I began to do extensive research only to find negative review after negative review.

    I learned that many people were told by TaxSlayer reps, there was nothing they could do. TaxSlayer has a major lawsuit in 2015, a hacker stole several people's info and filed fraudulent returns. I went back to read the agreement I signed and leaned the bank who's was associated with TaxSlayer is 3rd party, and they open an account in your name using your personal information all with false pretenses and no expectation to deposit your monies within 48 hours.

    Many people were lied to, and I will not be using TaxSlayer again, EVER! I don't really know I will get my $25 back, but I will! I also want all of my information rescinded from this Red River Bank. Customer service is no longer a factor for businesses I see.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Scam

    I wish I could give them less than one star! They are scamming people into filing using their paid version (which you must use to even apply for their refund now loan), with no intention of giving them a loan on their return!

    I normally file with TurboTax, but I was roped into filing with them because I was under the impression that I could receive a loan on my return. After starting the filing process, nothing was ever mentioned about the refund now loan! Nothing! I assumed it must be after filing that it would show me SOMETHING related to it, but I was wrong. They had successfully conned me into paying to file based on an expectation they never intended to fulfill. To make matters worse, when I called them a few days later to give them a chance to explain and rectify this, I was told I didn't qualify for the loan, and that's why I never saw anything about it once I started filing. It would have been nice if they had mentioned that to me before I finished filing!

    I asked for a refund on the cost since I would have never gone through with it if I had known I'd been denied the loan and was told I would get a response in a week. That was almost a month ago, and I haven't heard anything from them. I will be calling the BBB first thing Monday morning.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    TaxSlater promotional scam

    TaxSlayer is scamming people with their promotions as far as receiving a loan if you file with them. I filed a few days ago and was denied the loan. The loan is not credit score base. But the website doesn't tell you it's third-party based and they have no reason for denying you. Out of 10 people, 3 of you may receive it. I feel like they are praying on people's lives and well-being with their deception.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 5 people found this review helpful

    TaxSlayer 2018 refundNOW is NOT a refund now!

    • Florida,
    • Feb 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I filed my taxes on February 3, 2018. I received a $1200+ refund. I had two W2's from legitimate companies, and I am a single filer. I clicked the box to have a $25.00 fee deducted from my refund by the bank that handles the refundNOW loans. I heard nothing on Monday, so I waited until Tuesday, February 6th to contact them. I first sent an email and got a message that someone would answer in 72 hours, which isn't fast since I paid for the premium account to get priority service. So I called customer service and was told: "Your refund wasn't high enough to receive a refundNOW loan." There was no warning and no place did I find the information as to the qualifying factors to receive the loan. And they won't give an advance of even $500.00 on a $1200+ refund? SCAM.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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