FreeTaxUSA FreeTaxUSA
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FreeTaxUSA Review

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Rating:
Bottom Line:
Unbeatable price covers everything from free to complex returns; limited support options and simplistic interface

Full Review:
[Editor's note: FreeTaxUSA is offering 10% off your total order for NextAdvisor users. Just click on the FreeTaxUSA links and enter the coupon code FREETAXUSA10 at checkout to take advantage of this deal.]

FreeTaxUSA has a direct, straightforward approach to its presentation and design. While it lacks the flash and support of the bigger names in tax preparation, FreeTaxUSA has low prices and a simple, easy-to-use interface on its side.


Pricing

Like many of its competitors, you can start using any of FreeTaxUSA's tools for free and don't have to pay until you file your taxes. Unlike its competitors, FreeTaxUSA is free whether you're filing a simple free federal return or have more complicated taxes. The service also offers a Deluxe Edition that costs $5.36 with NextAdvisor's discount ($5.95 without) and includes unlimited amendments of your tax return(s), priority customer support and audit support. State returns cost $12.95 ($11.66 with discount) regardless of the plan you use. Keep in mind that if you're filing state taxes while purchasing the Deluxe Edition, the discount applies to the total order, not each cost individually. Still a Deluxe federal return and a single state return together only costs $17.95


If you opt to purchase the Deluxe Edition, you can file an unlimited number of amended returns. If not, you'll pay $9.95 each time you file. You can also opt for priority customer support, which is included in the Deluxe Edition and costs $5.95 with the free edition. Want a hard copy for your records? Professionally printed copies of your tax return cost $5.95 (includes both federal and state), or you can get a printed and bound copy for $12.95. The best thing about the 10% discount is that it applies to your total order — so the prices for any extras will be discounted along with the cost of your state return or upgrade to the deluxe package when you input the coupon code. Please note that the prices for the add-ons above do not include the discount.

Interface

FreeTaxUSA's interface is not as professional looking or slick as what bigger names like H&R Block and TurboTax have to offer. But it is easy to understand with simple menu navigation at the top of the screen and a counter that shows your estimated refund(s) at the top for federal and each state you file. The interface itself takes you through each section step-by-step with clear instructions. Red question marks and "Learn More" links beside most individual questions/categories open up an informative pop-up window to help enhance your understanding of different items. One feature we really liked was bookmark feature, something that is usually hit-or-miss with other services. This feature allows you to mark pages for you to revisit later. Unlike TaxAct, eSmart or Liberty Tax Service, some screens on FreeTaxUSA cannot be bypassed. This was a bit frustrating, as you're required to completely finish one section before you move to the next. As such, we felt this bookmark feature here, while good, isn't as helpful as it could be.


To the right of the screen, you can access your account details and the support center. The support center not only features a search box so you can type in your question and receive an answer, but also lists commonly asked questions so you can find the answer to your issue at a glance.

Support

In addition to guided support and the searchable support center, FreeTaxUSA offers basic email support. This is a downside for those looking to receive more assistance from their tax preparation service, especially since the customer service representative we interacted with stated they cannot provide anything that could be considered tax filing advice. But if you have simple questions about the website or filing process, FreeTaxUSA's email support is surprisingly responsive. Our question was answered within 20 minutes of submitting the form. Chat functionality is a feature that FreeTax added for the 2015 tax season. Like with email, response times were swift and support was friendly and helpful. Chat support is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. It should be noted that these hours are only during tax season (January-April). It's also important to note that live chat is only available for Deluxe users, however upon starting the service you can begin with a Deluxe account and revert before you file. Deluxe users also gain priority support, meaning their questions are moved ahead and answered quickly.


Audit support is provided to customers who upgrade to the Deluxe plan when filing. Support is provided in the form of communication via email with audit specialists and access to the Audit Center, which is full of information on what to do and how to respond if you are contacted by the IRS. Audit support is not provided for state returns or free filers, and it also does not provide representation in court.


Conclusion

FreeTaxUSA's prices certainly can't be beat, and it offers a surprising amount of perks for free, such as the ability to access prior year returns and tax extension assistance — not to mention the ability to file anything from a basic return to more complex returns without requiring an upgrade. However, lack of dedicated support or access to tax professionals could be problematic for those who do have complex tax returns and need assistance. If you're looking to save and have a simple return to file, FreeTaxUSA could be the right choice.

Sign up for FreeTaxUSA | Compare to Other Online Tax Preparation

If you have a question or concern we haven't answered on our site, please let us know. Your question will be added to the NextAdvisor Forums so that we and other experts in our community can answer it. Due to volume, we aren't able to respond to every question, but we answer as many as we can.



Service Details

Online Federal Tax Products:Free Federal: Free
Deluxe Edition: $5.36 (includes 10% discount)
Federal Only Fees:Free for everyone, upgraded services $5.36
State Only Fees:11.66 (includes 10% discount)
Support Options:Access to online help center; email support
Audit Protection:Included with the Deluxe plan

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