Tax time comes once per year, and many tax filers are reluctant to change software when they’ve found one they like. But this year, TaxSlayer made such huge improvements that it may overthrow some long-time favorites. If you’re self-employed, pay attention to this review.
TaxSlayer is one of the best value tax filing products for you in 2021.
TaxSlayer should be a top contender for complex and simple filers alike and we rank it as our top pick for self-employed tax filers. Let's dive in to our TaxSlayer review and see what makes TaxSlayer one of the best tax software choices of 2021 tax season.
- Free File and Highly Competitive Pricing Options
- Premium and Self-Employed receive access to a tax pro
- Extremely easy to use
Starts at $0
$32 per State
Self-Prepared, Online Support
TaxSlayer - Is It Free?
TaxSlayer offers one free tier. It is only for people with W-2 income. It allows users to claim the Rebate Recovery Credit, education credits and the student loan interest deduction for free.
All other users will need to upgrade to the TaxSlayer Classic edition.
For Military Members: TaxSlayer has been consistently known to support military members. As such, they offer a free Federal return for military members using TaxSlayer Classic - with all forms and tax situations included (state is additional). Learn more about TaxSlayer Military here >>
What's New In 2021?
TaxSlayer’s biggest changes have to do with navigation. The software offers simplified navigation that’s cut down significantly on tax jargon. The clear, easy to understand guide navigation is paired with more knowledge articles and a cleaner user interface.
TaxSlayer’s improved software puts it squarely in the “premium” software category. That’s why it won two awards this year in our “best software” round-up.
TaxSlayer Pricing And Plans
TaxSlayer has four pricing tiers, but the second tier (Classic) supports all tax situations. The difference between the Classic tier and the higher-priced tiers are the extras like support.
If you’re going to pay for tax software, TaxSlayer offers an incredible value with its Classic edition. This version includes all deductions, credits, and forms. If you’re a person with a small side business, a rental property, and a W-2 job, this is an incredible bargain. The Classic version also includes “IRS Inquiry Assistance”. With this support, TaxSlayer will help users respond to IRS inquiries for up to one year.
The Premium and Self-Employed versions also come with help from tax professionals.
We did notice that TaxSlayer slightly raised their price of their State tax return this year.
W-2 income, student loan interest.
All situations and forms.
Designed for self-employed individuals.
TaxSlayer offers both guided and DIY navigation options. The self-guided navigation is one of the best in the business because TaxSlayer makes it easy to jump back into the guided version if you get lost or confused. Navigation is enhanced with simple tips sprinkled throughout the software.
The software also offers several section summaries that make it easy to see what’s been entered. This makes it really easy to see if you’ve missed something. Best of all, section summaries include hyperlinks back to various sections. If a user spots something “weird” they can click and correct it easily.
The only detraction from the Navigation is the “wordiness” of some of the questions. Although TaxSlayer eliminated tax jargon from its questions, the questions remain long. Users may need to take a break because the volume of reading can be taxing.
Ease of Use
TaxSlayer is easy to use, but it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles offered by other providers. For example, users can import prior year’s tax returns and W-2 forms (on the paid plans). However, TaxSlayer doesn't support 1099 form imports.
Since TaxSlayer has videos, Learn More buttons, and articles throughout the software, most people will find the software easy to use. The only struggle or difficulty I found was related to depreciating assets for a rental property or a business. Users need to know some basic information about their depreciation methods to use the calculators effectively.
However, this one difficult spot makes the tax professional consultation all the more valuable. Users who upgrade to Premium or Self-Employed tiers can ask a tax professional all their questions. All users have access to technical support.
I love TaxSlayer’s robust knowledge base. Users can easily find information on a wide variety of topics, and the topics are free of tax jargon. Unlike many companies, TaxSlayer has curated the best assortment of articles to meet user’s needs.
My only criticism of the articles is that they generally don’t tell you “where” to enter information in the software.
With the Premium and Self-Employed addition, users get the option to speak with a tax professional. The IRS inquiry assistance gets extended to three years for each of these tiers.
Does TaxSlayer Support Crypto Investments?
TaxSlayer supports filing taxes on cryptocurrency investments, but it doesn’t have specific integrations to make filing easier. This year, the cryptocurrency knowledge articles offer a lot of improvement over previous years.
Can I Request My Missing Stimulus Check With TaxSlayer?
Taxpayers who never received a stimulus check (or who received too small of a check) can use TaxSlayer to claim a Rebate Recovery Credit. TaxSlayer asks about stimulus checks early in the process (shortly after you enter personal information). Once you complete your filing, TaxSlayer will calculate the amount you’re owed and apply it to your return. Once you file your return, the appropriate amount will be added to your refund check.
How Does TaxSlayer Compare?
TaxSlayer offers an incredible user experience. It is being compared to TurboTax and H&R Block. Its ease of use and robustness falls between the top-tier options (TurboTax and H&R Block).
This year, we recommended TaxSlayer as the best tax software for Side Hustlers and Self-Employed people.
Student Loan Interest
Import Last Year's Taxes
$32 per additional state
$36.99 per additional state
$40 per additional state
Earned Income Tax Credit
Child Tax Credit
Retirement Income (SS, Pension, etc.)
Free (but limited)
Free (but limited)
Capital Gains Income
Small Business Owner (over $5k in expenses)
Free Tier Price
$0 Fed & $0 State
$0 Fed & $0 State
$0 Fed & $0 State
Deluxe Tier Price
$17 Fed & $32 State
$29.99 Fed & $36.99 State
$40 Fed & $40 State
Premium Tier Price
$37 Fed & $32 State
$49.99 Fed & $36.99 State
$70 Fed & $40 State
Self-Employed Tier Price
$47 Fed & $32 State
$84.99 Fed & $36.99 State
$90 Fed & $40 State
Final Thoughts On TaxSlayer 2021?
After years of improvements, TaxSlayer offers a premium product that rivals H&R Block and TurboTax. And it comes at a lower price point than either of those competitors.
In 2021, I’m a fan of the Classic, Premium, and Self-Employed versions of the software. Classic offers a low price-point with IRS Inquiry assistance. The Premium and Self-Employed tiers also include support from a tax-pro.While you may find a free filing service that works for you, TaxSlayer offers a compelling value in 2021. TaxSlayer is a solid choice for a lot of filers who need all the forms, need some help, and are conscious of the costs. Get started with TaxSlayer for free and try it out.
Here are some common questions we get about TaxSlayer every year.
Is TaxSlayer Free?
TaxSlayer does have a robust free file tier that includes a lot of common tax situations, including student loan interest deduction. However, it's not as robust as other free tax software
Does TaxSlayer Offer Tax Prep Assistance?
TaxSlayer has a variety of support options - which is how they differentiate themselves. The most robust support help will be on their Premium and Self-Employed tiers.
How Much Does It Cost To File With TaxSlayer?
This all varies based on your tax situation. It could be as low as $0, or could be well over $100 if you own a business and have to file multiple state tax returns.
Is TaxSlayer Better Than TurboTax?
It depends. We found TaxSlayer to be better on price, and pretty good on usability. TurboTax does offer one of the easiest to use interfaces, though, and it can make tax filing easy.
What Are The Alternatives To TaxSlayer?
TurboTax is the biggest competitor to TaxSlayer. You can also look at FreeTaxUSA, H&R Block, and TaxAct. Check out our list of TaxSlayer Alternatives here.
Does TaxSlayer Support Health Savings Accounts?
Yes! But sadly, not on the free file version. You would need to upgrade to Classic for that.
Can you file multiple states for free?
On the free tier, you only get one free state. If you need to file a return in a second state, you would pay for that state.
- Ease Of Use
- Features and Options
- Customer Service
- Plans and Pricing
TaxSlayer 2021 is the best tax software for those that need their refunds fast and would like a high level of service online. We rank them as our top choice for side hustlers and self-employed tax filers.
- Great value with all forms at the Classic tier
- Help with IRS inquiries for 1 year with all paid plans
- Easy to use interface and navigation
- The free tier isn’t as robust as other tax software companies
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.