Let’s take a look at two of the most popular tax software: TaxSlayer vs. TurboTax. We’ll cover the similarities and differences between these two tax filers, going over their pros and cons.
Tax season is coming. Whether you love it or loathe it, getting your federal tax return filed can be a simple and pain-free process.
With so many services out there — all making lofty promises — it can be overwhelming. There are seemingly hundreds of apps and tax service pop-ups and kiosks everywhere.
But this doesn’t mean you need to go with the first tax return program you see. Or just go with last year’s provider again. Because not all tax services are the same.
Founded in 1998, TaxSlayer is an extremely popular and reputable tax filing service. It provides users with free or low-cost options to file their taxes in a simple, and user-friendly platform.
TaxSlayer offers four (4) different electronic (online) filing options. The Simply Free and Classic options are the most basic. Added features, like audit support, are only available with more expensive premium filing plans.
TurboTax’s software has been around since the 1980s, and it’s a well-established player in the tax software game. The company’s user base expanded rapidly in 1993 when it was purchased by Intuit, the company behind the popular accounting software Quickbooks.
Like Quickbooks, TurboTax offers user-friendly, intuitive guidance, allowing everyday consumers to easily handle their taxes and complete their federal and state returns.
TurboTax has a free option for taxpayers to do a free state and federal return, however, this option is only for simple tax returns, primarily W-2 earners using 1040 tax forms. For more complicated returns, including those with any itemized deductions, a paid plan is required. A paid, premium plan to submit a federal return starts at $99.
TaxSlayer vs. TurboTax: Pricing
Both TaxSlayer and TurboTax offered tiered pricing for their e-file software
TaxSlayer offers three (3) different level packages for standard taxes W-2 employees, individuals who are formally employed by a separate business or enterprise in the United States which make tax withholdings and issue W-2 income tax forms to their employees.
These three (3) tax filing options range in cost from $0 to $54.95 for a federal return, with an extra $39.95 charged per state for each state income tax return. TaxSlayer offers an additional option for self-employed individuals with business income and itemized work expenses.
TurboTax offers three different options, designed for those who want to do their own taxes completely by themselves, with some assistance from tax experts, or full-service tax filings where their experts do everything.
Pricing ranges from $0 for a free filing to $409 for full support service with your taxes done for you. The price for state returns is $0 with the free version or up to $64 per state filing.
TaxSlayer vs. TurboTax: Packages
Covers W-2 income, limited investment income, the earned income tax credit, child tax credit, and standard deductions.
|Do Your Own
Free edition for a simple tax return.
A simple tax return is filed using IRS Form 1040 only, without needing any added forms or schedules. Covers W-2 income, interest, or dividends that don’t require a Schedule B, child tax credit, earned income tax credit (EIC), or student loan interest deduction.
$0 to $129 Federal
File any tax situation. Includes all IRS forms, credits, and deductions. Get step-by-step guidance and phone and email support, along with IRS Inquiry Assistance.
Connect with live tax professionals on demand. Tax experts can fix any mistakes and explain the process. They also offer an expert final review before filing, guaranteed done right
$99 to $219 Federal
Priority support: Skip the line for phone or email support and access live chat for quick tech help.
Get one-on-one help from a tax pro with unlimited personal guidance.
IRS Audit assistance – offered up to three (3) years after the IRS accepts your return.
Fast-fill your forms by importing W-2s, 1099s, and other current and past-year documents.
TurboTax experts do your taxes for you.
Securely share tax docs to get matched to an expert Work with your pro in real time.
$219 to $409 Federal
Personal and business income and expenses, 1099, and Schedule C.
Caters to self-employed, freelancers, and 1099 filers – including those with W-2 income as well. All the right support for unique self-employed tax situations.
Get Tax Pro help for advice, tips, and answers to filers’ toughest questions.
TaxSlayer vs. TurboTax: Features
Here’s a rundown of the service features you’ll find with these tax filing apps.
- Audit Support: Audit Assistance is an exclusive service for TaxSlayer premium customers. With it, TaxSlayer will work with you to prepare and resolve inquiries for any audits up to three (3) years after your return is accepted.
- Tax Professional Support: Partnership with Protection Plus (PP) to assist professional tax preparers in case of audit. PP works directly with both the filer and the IRS or state. Includes tax credit and form assistance, tax debt relief, fraud assistance, and legal services.
- Refund Options: Direct deposit, mailed paper check, prepaid debit card (offered through Green Dot), or a File & Go Refund Transfer (RT).
- Advanced Options: Priority support options (skip the customer service line) and ask-a-tax-pro services are available with a Premium tax submission.
- Affordability (relative to other similar tax software): Free filing options for basic federal and state returns. For more complex situations (i.e., itemized deductions), filing fees start at an affordable $34.95 — which is cheaper than many competitors.
- Overall User Experience: Smooth and streamlined experience overall with an average 4.3-star rating on TrustPilot based on over 24,000 customer reviews. In the app store, TaxSlayer has a 4.8-star rating on Apple and a 4.3-star rating on Google Play.
- Audit Support: Basic guarantee that comes with any TurboTax return, except Business CD/Download returns. Get a consultation with a trained tax professional in the event of an audit notice, including assistance on what to expect and how to prepare for a meeting with IRS officials.
- Audit Defense: A paid add-on service that must be purchased when you submit your return. It’s offered through MAX Defend and Restore, PLUS, or as a standalone service with TurboTax desktop-only software. Audit Defense gives you full audit representation by a licensed tax professional, including representation before the IRS.
- Refund Options: Direct deposit, paper check in the mail, U.S. savings bonds (use your refund to purchase the bonds), or use your tax refund to pay ahead for next year’s taxes. Refund Advance options, for immediate receipt of funds instead of waiting 10+ days, are commonly available. For the 2023 tax season, TurboTax offered Refund Advance on a Credit Karma Visa Debit Card.
- Advanced Options: With the Full Service option, you will get paired with a dedicated tax expert who will complete your taxes for you. They will connect with you by phone or video call to ask and answer specific questions, support you in case of an audit, and can work with you on any following-year tax returns.
- Affordability (relative to other similar tax software): Free filing options are available for basic returns, and more complex returns, with itemized deductions or business earnings, range from $120 to $409.
- Accuracy Guarantee: TurboTax offers a 100% accuracy guarantee for accurate calculations, maximum refund, and audit support. All returns are guaranteed for the full-year life or tax returns. See terms of service for more details.
- Overall User Experience: TurboTax has an overall 4.4-star rating based on over 228,000 reviews. The app has a 4.8-star rating on Apple and a 4.6-star rating on Google Play.
TaxSlayer vs. TurboTax: Customer Support
Both tax filing programs offer customers a number of ways to reach customer support and resolve the most common customer FAQs.
TaxSlayer offers excellent customer support for quick, easy, and accurate filings.
- Email: Send an electronic message via web form and receive a reply within 72 hours or email email@example.com. Pro Support email is only for TaxSlayer Pro customers.
- Phone: Call (706) 922-6741.
- Video-Conferencing: For full-service or assisted filing customers, live-assisted video-conferencing support is offered. Full-service customers receive two (2) free video meetings with a specialist, at the start and end of their tax filing.
- Chat: Available on the TaxSlayer.com website during tax season.
- FAQ Help Articles: Find helpful resource articles in the TaxSlayer Knowledgebase. They can guide users through different tax situations and software functionalities, including step-by-step guidance.
- Error Check: There’s a built-in error check feature in TaxSlayer’s software to proactively identify and prevent any tax return submissions with errors. The TaxSlayer review is offered as part of any return filing process.
Like TaxSlayer, TurboTax offers a clean and intuitive design that’s easy to understand and navigate. As a platform for taxpayers looking for more personalized assistance, it’s designed for customers to easily connect with support.
- Email: Send email messages to firstname.lastname@example.org, or for security-related emails message email@example.com.
- Phone: Call Intuit (parent company) customer support at 1-800-4INTUIT (1-800-446-8848).
- Video-Conferencing: Assisted and full-service filers can receive TurboTax live video-conferencing support. It’s a one-way video with only the tax expert visible.
- Chat: Live chat is offered during tax filing season.
- TurboTax Support: Resource center with helpful articles and videos with step-by-step tips, general tax guidelines, and information about specific filing scenarios for rental property income, freelancers, small business owners, self-employed filers, and more.
- Community Forum: Intuit has helpful user forums for software users of TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mint. Ask the Intuit community your questions and get answers. Open to free plan and TurboTax deluxe plan (paid subscription) users.
TaxSlayer vs. TurboTax: Pros and Cons
TaxSlayer and TurboTax are both among the best tax software apps on the market, but they do come with cons as well as pros. Here’s a look at how those stack up.
- Premium editions with live support from CPAs and other tax experts.
- Customized support based on your tax situation to maximize tax deductions and minimize liability, getting the most out of your return.
- TurboTax offers full tax prep where they do everything for you — and at a relatively affordable rate — all via phone or video call.
- Quicker direct deposits. Get up to $4K in tax return funds within minutes of the IRS accepting your return through TurboTax Refund Advance.
- Spendier than other tax software options for non-basic filings with itemized deductions like business expenses.
- More of a tax-assistance app than a DIY app; designed for taxpayers who want professional assistance in full or in part.
- Streamlined, easy-to-use interface.
- Paid options for tax returns with deductions, business earnings, or other more complex scenarios are cheaper than TurboTax’s.
- Only $64.95 to complete a self-employed tax return.
- Audit defense is cheaper with TaxSlayer than other competitor offerings.
- No direct tax advice; this is a tax software program for DIYers who want to do it completely by themselves.
- No on-site user or community forums.
- Fewer tax forms are supported.
- No refund advance is offered. This has been offered for a small fee in prior years but no longer. TaxSlayer cautions it can take the IRS up to 21 days to process your refund from the date of the return’s acceptance.
TaxSlayer vs. TurboTax: Which is Best for You?
It depends on what your tax filing needs are. Both are excellent, highly reputable software programs that guarantee accuracy and a streamlined user experience.
If you have a very basic return with no itemized deductions, either TurboTax or TaxSlayer is a good free option for your federal and state filing. TurboTax filers have a leg up with free filings, as they can get their funds within minutes of the federal government accepting their return through Credit Karma Refund Advance. TaxSlayer filers, on the other hand, will have to wait up to 21 days.
In general, TurboTax is a solid best for those who have more complicated tax returns, small business owners, or independent contractors. It’s also a good option if you’ve been audited in the past. TurboTax has a team of tax professionals who can assist you or do your taxes for you, and it is a much cheaper alternative than hiring a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
TaxSlayer, meanwhile, is the better option for confident, do-it-yourselfers. It’s priced right for bargain hunters, although you will have to do a bit more manual entry from your W-2 and other tax forms.