FreeTaxUSA Review: Is It Legit? Weighing the Pros and Cons

FT Contributor  | 

Tax return preparation can be a daunting task, which is why many filers turn to professional tax preparation companies to assist them. When you hire a tax preparation company to help in preparing your taxes, the company should follow all IRS laws and procedures. It should also provide transparent information about the fees you’re responsible for.

However, an NBC report showed that some major tax preparation companies were charging customers additional fees for their “free services” and providing advice that broke several tax laws. According to the report, “More than half of the tax preparers visited by the Government Accountability Office urged people to underreport side income.”

It’s important to research different tax preparation companies and review their credibility before enlisting one for help with filing. FreeTaxUSA is a well-known, safe tax preparation assistance company that helps file your federal return for free, no matter how complicated your situation. Review the information below to learn more about the services and features FreeTaxUSA offers.

Quick Facts on FreeTaxUSA

  • FreeTaxUSA is ideal for tax filers with simple tax filing situations that don’t need assistance from tax experts.
  • Filing a federal tax return is free with FreeTaxUSA and a state income tax return only costs $14.99, which is inexpensive compared to competitors.
  • FreeTaxUSA filers report that the company’s website and mobile app are easy to navigate. 
  • If you sign up for the Deluxe version, you can only request assistance from a tax expert using the Live Chat function on the website and during certain hours.

Features of FreeTaxUSA

FreeTaxUSA includes many features for its filers, whether they choose a free tax preparation service or pay for additional support. If you have to file your taxes and choose FreeTaxUSA to assist you, you’ll benefit from:

  • Free federal filing: Whether you have a simple or advanced tax return, FreeTaxUSA doesn’t charge a fee to file your federal return. However, if you want additional support or need to file your state income tax return, you must pay the respective fees.
  • Information import: Even if you didn’t use FreeTaxUSA last year to file your taxes, you may still be able to import your tax information from a competing company, such as H&R Block.
  • Accuracy guarantee: The company guarantees their calculations are accurate and if you’re required to pay a penalty due to a FreeTaxUSA error, your penalties and interest charges are covered.
  • Maximum refund guarantee: When you file your tax return with FreeTaxUSA, the company guarantees it’ll help you find credits and deductions you qualify for. If you prepare your taxes with a different company and it finds a bigger refund or smaller tax liability, FreeTaxUSA will refund your purchase and offer you a free amended tax return.
  • Automatic triple accuracy checks: The FreeTaxUSA automated system checks your information as you enter it, scans each section for errors as you finish, and completes a final check before you electronically submit your return.
  • An online account: Your FreeTaxUSA online account is easily accessible from the website and mobile app. It stores your previous year’s information so you can keep your tax returns on file if you need them. This information also imports to the next year, saving you time when you prepare your taxes again.

FreeTaxUSA offers free technical support online through an extensive FAQs section and customer support email. However, if you want tax advice, you may need to sign up for the Deluxe version and pay a fee to use the service.

Comparing the Free and Deluxe Versions

TaxFreeUSA offers two different ways to file: the Free version and Deluxe version. When you choose the Free software version, you can file your federal tax return, no matter how complex, for free. However, you must pay an additional $14.99 to file your state return and you can’t reach out to a tax professional if you have a question.

With the Free version, you can file taxes that involve:

  • Itemized deductions.
  • Homeownership.
  • Rental property.
  • Education credits.
  • Dependents.
  • Capital gains from investments.
  • Self-employed earnings.
  • Single or joint filing.
  • Charitable deductions.

If you pay $6.99 for the Deluxe software version, you gain access to a tax expert for your filing questions. You can reach the expert through the live chat function on the FreeTaxUSA website Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

When you purchase the Deluxe version, you also have unlimited free tax return amendments and audit assistance through FreeTaxUSA. If you need to file your state income tax return, you must pay an additional $14.99.

FreeTaxUSA Pros and Cons

While FreeTaxUSA offers a free tax preparation service for filers, the software has its pros and cons.

Pros

Simple Site Navigation

FreeTaxUSA customers have reported that the company’s website is easy to navigate and makes filing simple. The site asks you questions about your life and financial situation to determine the best way to file your taxes and if you qualify for any deductions or credits.

Inexpensive Filing

It’s free to file your federal tax return with FreeTaxUSA. When compared to competitors, such as TurboTax, the $14.99 fee to file a state return is inexpensive. If you upgrade to the Deluxe version and file both a federal and state return, you’ll pay less than $22 to file your taxes. Deluxe version offers assistance if audited, unlimited amended returns, and sends you to the front of the line if you have questions through their live chat.

Simple or Complex Returns

You can file a simple or complex federal tax return with FreeTaxUSA free of charge. The site walks you through the income, capital gains, or self-employment income you may need to claim and asks questions to better understand the best way for you to file.

Cons

Customer Service Is Limited

If you have a technical question about using the Free version, you can email customer service or search through the FAQs section. However, with no customer service phone number or live chat option, you may not have your question answered instantly.

No Free Tax Assistance

To get connected with a tax expert on FreeTaxUSA, you must pay for the Deluxe edition for $6.99. If you’re a Deluxe customer, help is provided via a live chat function that’s only available during certain hours.

No Tax Form Information Imports

While you can import information from the last year you filed with FreeTaxUSA or with competing tax preparation software, you can’t import information directly from tax forms. Some competing companies allow you to scan your tax forms to instantly import information but FreeTaxUSA doesn’t offer this option.

How Does FreeTaxUSA Compare to Other Platforms?

When compared to other popular competitors in the industry, such as TurboTax or H&R Block, FreeTaxUSA offers inexpensive packages. Most other competitors charge $30 to $50 to file state returns while FreeTaxUSA only charges $14.99. However, the software doesn’t come with many additional features or resources.

If you have a simple tax filing situation and know you won’t need expert tax help, you may benefit from using FreeTaxUSA to help prepare your return. With the Free version, you only pay to file your state return and can still claim deductions and dependents.

If you want to receive assistance filing your taxes, you’ll pay a small fee to upgrade to the Deluxe version. However, keep in mind this tax expert assistance is only available through the live chat function during certain hours.

FreeTaxUSA offers a simple platform and guarantees no calculation errors and tax refund maximization. Before you decide to use FreeTaxUSA preparation software to file your taxes, ensure the software has the features you’re looking for and that you feel comfortable using the system.


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