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

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: May 14, 2019

TaxSlayer is a tax software site that allows you to DIY your taxes via five different pricing tiers and a free tier that includes a free state filing, too.

This site’s tax preparation services are unique in that they’re part of a popular class of tax sites that emphasize low-cost filing tiers and simple website interfaces for those who want an affordable, efficient filing process.

In this review, we’ll talk about TaxSlayer’s pricing tiers and who they’re good for, the site’s added features, customer reviews of TaxSlayer, a comparison to three other major sites and a conclusion that weighs the site’s pros and cons.

TaxSlayer’s Pricing and Packages

TaxSlayer’s website offers five different filing tiers as well as a discount tier for members of the military.

Understanding which tier is right for you can be confusing, not necessarily because of how TaxSlayer or any site frames their filing tiers, but because the various tax rules are confusing, in general, for taxpayers.

Add in the stress of wanting to do your taxes right and void mistakes, and things can get very anxiety-ridden very quickly around tax time.

In this section, we’ll provide our observations of each TaxSlayer filing tier as well as who might be a good fit for each of those tiers.

Before we describe each tier, it’s important for us to point out that TaxSlayer does not use the traditional pricing model. They don’t increase the price of your return based on the complexity of your tax situation> Rather, all taxpayers can file via their Classic tier. Prices only go up as you choose to add various services like tax-pro access, audit assistance/defense and additional self-employed resources.

TaxSlayer Simply Free: Best for Simple Returns and Students

This filing tier is best for those who will file a W-2 under single or married-filing-jointly status. Another highlight of this tier is that students and parents can claim student-loan interest deductions (Form 1098-E) as well as credits for qualifying education expenses.

This tax filing tier provides you with free phone and email support, as well as the ability to upload a previous year’s return and then import data, even if it’s from another tax software site.

The drawback to this tier is that it doesn’t handle various deductions common with homeowners, business owners, those with rental properties and filers who have expenses related to freelancing.

TaxSlayer Classic ($17 to $24):

This package is best for taxpayers (Freelancers Included) who are confident about their DIY ability.

The big difference between this tier and the previous one is that Premium includes all the major and minor deductions, credits and income forms (W-2's and 1099’s) that most taxpayers file. In other words, you’re getting a very robust set of tools at TaxSlayer’s cheapest paid filing tier.

Because this package is so expansive, we believe it’s a great fit for many of the common deduction and credit situations you might find yourself in. This would include:

  • Homeowners paying mortgage interest (Form 1098)
  • Homeowners with mortgage credit certificates (Form 8396)
  • People who own rental properties
  • Those who have investments and/or earned dividends (Forms 1099-INT, 1099-DIV)
  • Freelancers and business owners (1099 income forms)
  • Taxpayers working abroad

As we’ll point out later in our comparison section, this is about as robust a tax filing package you’ll get for this price when compared to other paid tax software services.

What’s missing from this package, however, is audit assistance as well as access to TaxSlayer’s tax pros.

Because of this, we believe this tier is a suitable option if you aren't worried about IRS auditing you and you have confidence in your filing acumen. If that’s you, then you may not need to pay the extra $13 for access to audit assistance and tax pros.

TaxSlayer Premium ($37)

This is best for taxpayers who want extra support.

As we mentioned in the previous section, paying $13 more for TaxSlayer's Premium package gives you access to everything Classic offers plus a pair of key features that you may want: audit assistance for three years and access to tax pros.

According to an interview we had with TaxSlayer Director of Strategic Communications Molly Richardson, the audit assistance feature means that TaxSlayer will act as a consultant when you receive an audit notice in the mail. Their services include phone conversations as well as form and letter preparation.

As for access to tax pros, Richardson said that TaxSlayer’s pros are a combination of CPA’s, enrolled agents (IRS experts) and tax preparers, all of whom have gone through in-house and IRS training.

TaxSlayer Self-Employed ($47)

This package is ideal for Freelancers and Small Busines Owners.

What makes this tier different than the previous two paid versions is that it includes resources specific to self-employed taxpayers and small business owners.

As a self-employed worker or small business owner, you can use the Classic tier to file. However, what that and the Premium tier are missing are a trio of features:

  • Tax pro with “self-employed expertise”
  • Self-employed taxes guide
  • Self-employed tips and reminders

We talked with Richardson to find out the details about their self-employed tax pros. She told us that the pros your requests go to have specific experience in areas relevant to self-employed workers.

“These tax pros have been in the trenches with small business owners; they have additional expertise in that area. We send your requests to someone who is familiar with the deductions and credits you might want to take advantage of,” Richardson said.

She explained that the tips are in-software features that alert you to areas where you can find deductions. The reminders you get, Richardson said, are ones TaxSlayer sends out year-round regarding things like self-employed tax tips and reminders to pay quarterly taxes.

If you’re trying to decide if this tier is right for you, consider what it is you want out of your self-employed tax software and how comfortable you are with filing without the help of a tax expert.

If you feel pretty self-sufficient, you may want to try Classic. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to produce a mistake-free return or you don’t mind spending an extra $30 for self-employed-specific tips and advice, then Self-Employed could be the best choice.

TaxSlayer Ultimate ($57)

This final tier of filing includes all the features of the previous tier with one big addition: audit defense. Richardson explained that this service is a comprehensive one, in that TaxSlayer will represent you if you have to go to court over an audit.

In addition to this, you get priority support and identity protection and restoration, two services we see as add-ons to the most important feature, which is audit defense.

While research shows that, proportionally, the IRS audits very few people, anyone who is concerned about the audit process may want to choose this tier of tax filing simply for peace of mind.

TaxSlayer Military ($0): Best for Military Members

This tier is equivalent to the Classic tier but costs nothing for active duty military, TaxSlayer’s site says.

TaxSlayer Added Features: Tax Refund Advances.

In addition to all the features we’ve listed in the previous section, there is one other benefit what we want to talk about: refund advances.

As we explain in our guide to tax refund advances, these are financial products you can find at many tax preparation companies. Basically, you file your tax return with them and, rather than having to wait for the return to show up in your bank account, the preparer will advance you the money “at no cost”.

As our research reveals, though, most tax companies require you to do an in-office visit to get a return, which costs at least $100 and often times much more than that.

TaxSlayer, however, will do a tax refund advance of $500 or $1,000 via a prepaid Visa card from Green Dot. When your actual return arrives, TaxSlayer subtracts the amount you received via your prepaid card.

Keep in mind, though, that Green Dot prepaid cards have the following fees:

  • $7.95 monthly charge if you don’t deposit at least $1,00 the previous month
  • $3 ATM withdrawal fee
  • $0.50 ATM balance inquiry fee

That being said, we believe that TaxSlayer offers superior value for tax refund advances, as their only requirement is that you have to use their Classic filing tier or higher.

Comparing TaxSlayer to Other Tax Software Sites

The following chart gives you a perspective on the four major tax sites and how their tiers and ratings compare:

TaxSlayer TurboTax H&R Block TaxAct
Low complexity Classic: $17-$24 Deluxe: $39.99 Deluxe: $29.99 Deluxe: $29.95
Middle complexity Premium: $37 Premier: $59.99 Premium: $49.99 Premier: $34.95
High complexity Self-Employed: $47 Ultimate: $57 Self-employed: $89.99 Self-employed: $79.99 Self-employed: $49.95
State taxes $29 ($0 for free version) $39.99 $36.99 $19.95-$49.95
iTunes App Rating 4.6 stars from 1,700+ reviews 4.7 stars from 238,000+ reviews 4.4 stars from 6,700+ reviews 4.3 stars from 2,400+ reviews

Based on our analysis of this chart, we believe TaxSlayer is by far and away the best value of all the paid tax return sites you see here.

Because they offer the full range of tax situations in their Classic package, their value exceeds that of the other three sites. TurboTax, for example, will charge you $89.99 to do what TaxSlayer will do for $17 early in the tax season and $24 later in the tax season.

As far as audits go, TurboTax offers protection from TaxAudit for $39.99, whereas TaxSlayer will charge you the same amount to get audit defense with their Ultimate version as opposed to their Classic version.

Another strength this chart reveals is that TaxSlayer’s app is highly-rated in the iTunes store, second only to TurboTax.

Customer satisfaction goes beyond the company’s iOS app, too. They have more reviews on Trustpilot than the other three sites and they have the best average rating, too.

However, it’s important to point out that the three sites combined have 54 reviews on Trustpilot while TaxSlayer has more than 4,600 at the time of publishing—the number of reviews doesn’t necessarily reflect customer satisfaction.

The Final Word: Pros and Cons of TaxSlayer

Based on our analysis of this tax software service, we believe that TaxSlayer offers excellent value for the money. Their full suite of features, including IRS audit defense, is $57, a superior value compared to other companies.

Furthermore, their Classic plan covers all major tax situations, saving you as much as $72.99 over TurboTax.

We also consider it a strength that TaxSlayer allows you to do a tax refund advance for $500 or $1,000 for as little as $17, whereas going to a tax preparer’s office to do a refund advance could cost you hundreds.

If there’s one weakness, we’d say that their tax-pro program isn’t quite as advanced as what you’d get with TurboTax. For example, TurboTax Life allows you to video chat with a tax pro, whereas your correspondence with your TaxSlayer tax pro will most likely take place over email and, in some instances, over the phone.

In general, we think TaxSlayer is an excellent site for doing your taxes. And, remember, those who can file free federal taxes can also file free state taxes on their site.

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Read 8 TaxSlayer Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 1.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 0 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 2 1 star:  6
Bottom Line: 0% would recommend it 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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

    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

    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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  • Tax day fail for TaxSlayer

    • Denver, CO,
    • Apr 23, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    We all know tax day can be stressful. Should most of us have filed our taxes before the deadline of 4/15/19? Probably. But nothing stimulates action like a deadline. As the procrastinator that I am with 4 children and 2 jobs, I began my taxes on Tax Day yesterday at 7 pm. Since it usually only takes me a couple of hours, I was not worried. Until Tax Slayer three a wrench in the gears. Not only did the Refund Estimator Tool not work until 11:30 PM, the Tool that transfers your info from Federal to State was broken as well! After waiting an hour and speaking with customer service, their answer to the issue was that I should file an extension! No apology, no accountability, just an unhelpful suggestion which doesn’t help the situation if you OWE money to the government because of independent contractor’s tax. Terrible advice, because if you don’t pay what you owe by the deadline, you get taxed a penalty! As a tax software company, your ONE JOB is to ensure your customers can efficiently and effectively complete their taxes using your software, whether it is January 1st or April 15th. The fact that your infrastructure failed on the biggest day of the year for your company is bad enough. The lack of accountability on top of it is maddening.

    I ended up copying over all the tax information to TurboTax and finished my taxes at 11:45 pm. No issues with TurboTax. Never using TaxSlayer again.

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

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    • Apr 24, 2019

      Company Response from TaxSlayer

      Hi Matt, we sincerely apologize for the issues you encountered. Please know that our internal teams have worked tirelessly to ensure this issue doesn’t happen again. This is not the typical TaxSlayer experience and we are committed to helping you slay your taxes should you need us in the future.


  • TaxSlayer is a rip-off.

    • Illinois,
    • Apr 30, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    TaxSlayer is a rip-off. They don't care about their customers. They give you false information, then once they get your money, they don't care about delivering good service.

    Just because I did not renew with them they would not give me access to any of the software I purchased in prior years, although it cost me thousands of dollars. I had to purchase software with another company because their software had become unaffordable due to the changes in the law and taxpayers who are now using self tax preparation software. After being with them 18 years they were very cold and refused to work with getting the software I purchased. Be careful when buying software from them. They don't give you a copy on a disc or a product key. They make you purchase it again. That's wrong and unfair to your customers. They don't care about loyalty, only a dollar.

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

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