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Updated on Monday, February 22, 2016
TaxSlayer is an online tax prep software that walks you through filing a tax return from start to finish. What makes TaxSlayer stand out is its tutorials, help videos and other resources that come in handy if you have questions while completing your tax return. Plus, it has a useful tax return summary section at the end that will help you audit the return before filing.
The TaxSlayer Prep Process
You have to sign up for an account with TaxSlayer to begin. Then the first step is completing the basic information section, which starts with life events. In that tab you answer questions about any life changes that occurred in 2015 like having a child, buying a home or getting married.
From there, you move into the personal information section where you put in details like your Social Security number, birthdate, and address. Then you do the same for your dependents.
Entering Income and Deductions
After the basics, you move to the Federal tax return section to enter the income you earned for the year. You can choose to have TaxSlayer guide you through each part of the income section or you can navigate the section on your own.
If you choose the guided tour TaxSlayer will take you step-by-step through entering your salary, unemployment compensation, alimony, rental income and more. There’s a green play button in each section you can press that launches an informative video if you have questions.
If you decide to go through the income module without guidance, a list of income tax forms come up instead including the W-2, 1099-G, 1099-INT, Schedule C and others.
You choose which forms you want to work on at your own pace.
After income, there’s the deductions tab. Again, you can choose whether you want to go through deductions with guidance from TaxSlayer or on your own.
If you go through deductions without help, there’s a “Learn more” link beside each line for adjustments, deductions and credits. When you click to learn more, a video pops up with more information and a breakdown of what you’ll be able to do in the subsection.
There’s also a convenient deduction comparison line at the bottom of the deductions page. It shows you how itemizing your deductions compares to taking the standard deduction, so you can choose which one benefits you the most.
After completing the Federal tax return, you can do your State tax return, which follows a similar process.
TaxSlayer Help Center and Knowledge Base
TaxSlayer offers customer service over the phone and email. There’s also a TaxSlayer help center called the “Knowledge Base” where you can search for answers to tax questions. This help area includes video tutorials. If you choose one of the TaxSlayer premium products, you can also speak with a tax advisor about your return.
TaxSlayer Review and Calculation Summary
At the end, TaxSlayer takes you to a summary of your return. The summary is one of the best features on TaxSlayer. It breaks down your tax return in a way that’s easy to review even if you’re not a tax pro. You can look through each part of your tax return to check for accuracy and to make sure you’re not missing out on any credits or deductions.
Pricing for TaxSlayer
The TaxSlayer Free Basic Edition includes form 1040EZ only. If you add on a state return to the Free Basic Edition it costs $23.99 for one state and $14.99 for each additional state.
If you choose the Classic or Premium Edition for your return each state costs an additional $14.99. TaxSlayer offers a special for active-duty servicemembers as well. You can get 50% off of your Federal and State return with the Military Edition.
Who Should Use TaxSlayer?
If you’re looking for tax prep software that offers high-quality support and a thorough help center, TaxSlayer should be a frontrunner on your list. For Federal returns, the premium TaxSlayer products are also more affordable than some tax software competitors.
The Classic Edition of TaxSlayer also supports a wide range of forms. Sole proprietors, for example, can input 1099s and take business deductions with the TaxSlayer Classic Edition for $12.99.
Another benefit of TaxSlayer is it offers discounts for active-military. Although, if you are active-military you should first see if you qualify for free e-filing through government programs before paying for tax help.