FreeTaxUSA (and it’s partner company, TaxHawk) have emerged this year as a top contender for best bargain tax software.
The tax software still costs money (unlike the totally free tax software from CreditKarma), but it’s a cheap solution with enough usability for all but the most complex filers.
Looking for a decent software that provides audit assistance protection at a low cost? FreeTaxUSA may be the right software for you. Here’s what you need to know about the software.
- Easy Navigation and Inputs
- Very Little Guidance, Best For Self Directed Filers
- Great Pricing
FreeTaxUSA has both a semi-guided and self navigating option. For the most part the semi-guided option uses a question and answer style navigation that allows users to quickly determine whether a section applies to them.
The questions aren’t quite as well phrased as H&R Block, TurboTax or Credit Karma Tax, but the questions still get the job done.
Where FreeTaxUSA really shines is their top of the page navigation system where you can dig into and edit personal information, income, deductions, credits, miscellaneous, summary, and state information. The navigation system uses green and unfilled checkmarks that help users see which parts of the software they haven’t addressed.
Users can also review (and navigate through the software using the hyperlinks) using the section summaries. This is also where users can compare this year’s return to last years to catch major errors.
If you ever get caught in the navigation, FreeTaxUSA has a “Where do I enter?” widget on the sidebar. This widget provides a list of every retirement investment plan, business expenses, deduction or credit that you can think of. Anyone who wants to enter information as they get forms from employers, banks, etc. will appreciate this feature.
Ease Of Use
FreeTaxUSA is loaded with help icons, well written articles, and straightforward information. This makes it easy to dig into details and figure out the technical details that other tax software systems gloss over. FreeTaxUSA is especially appropriate for landlords and business owners who need to use the depreciation and amortization schedules will especially appreciate the information that the software provides.
Unfortunately, FreeTaxUSA still doesn’t have any form importing options. This makes the software unusable for active traders (and possibly some dividend income investors too). People who own more than two or three rental properties may find the interface cumbersome.
Likewise, some business owners (including side-hustlers) may deem that the lack of importing is a deal breaker. In those cases it makes sense to choose a more expensive software like TurboTax or H&R Block.
FreeTaxUSA does a great job integrating their concise and helpful knowledge articles throughout the software. Without fail, it is easy for users to find relevant information on the sidebar or in a question mark bubble in the software. For more complex topics FreeTaxUSA links out to the IRS website. Linking out to the IRS website is a small weakness in the otherwise high quality knowledge article area.
In addition to articles, all users can access a tax specialist using chat support during standard business hours (10AM-7PM Monday through Friday).
Pricing And Plans
FreeTaxUSA has just two pricing tiers. Their “Free” service costs $0 for Federal and $12.95 per state filing. The Deluxe tier costs $6.99 plus $12.95 per state filing. The free service includes all the major tax forms and access to email and chat support.
However, the Deluxe tier provides “priority” chat support (which could come in handy during busy season), unlimited phone support, and Audit Assist Protection. Audit Assist Protection means you’ll get one on one attention from an audit specialist if the IRS audits you. This could be a helpful insurance plan for people that are filing complex taxes for the first time.
Anyone Seeking Audit Assistance
Who Should Use FreeTaxUSA 2017?
I recommend FreeTaxUSA Deluxe to many business owners, side hustlers, and small landlords. People in these groups will appreciate the low cost, easy to use interface and the Audit Assistance Protection. People who have a lot of information to enter (especially active traders and dividend investors) will find the software too cumbersome to use.
Outside of Credit Karma (which does not offer live chat support), FreeTaxUSA is the best bargain for complex filers.
Simple filers may want to use H&R Block’s More Zero Plan for a better user interface at a lower cost.
In 2017, FreeTaxUSA should be on the short list for consideration for most tax filers.
Have you used FreeTaxUSA? Let us know your thoughts!
FreeTaxUSA 2017 is a great bargain tax software option for business owners, side hustlers, and small landlords that don't need navigation.