Starting in February, you’ll see people dressed in Lady Liberty costumes standing on the streets. They’ll be holding massive arrows reminding you to file your taxes and get the refund due to you. These costumed advertisers are representatives of Liberty Tax, a brick and mortar tax filing service.
But in keeping with the times, Liberty Tax has also created an online presence, so that filers can file their taxes online from the comfort of their own homes.
LibertyTax online costs more than either of the previously mentioned sites, but it also comes with a unique, in-person “Double Check guarantee” at participating Liberty Tax retail locations. Is the added benefit worth the added costs?
Here’s what you need to know more about the benefit and the Liberty Tax Online software in 2019. See how they compare to the other best tax software options this year.
- Offers a Double-Check Guarantee to get your return checked at a Liberty Tax branch for free
- Tougher to navigate and use than other tax software
- Higher price point that most other tax software options
Liberty Tax Online Navigation
Liberty Tax Online has a self guided user interface. You can use the menu at the top of the screen to move from the Income Section to the Deductions Section to the Credits etc. Users must then select the options that pertain to their filing situation. To select a section, a user will select “Add” and to edit the information, the user can select Review.
Overall, the navigation isn’t too difficult for experienced filers (though the lists can get overwhelming long), but new filers may miss important information. Given Liberty Tax’s premium prices, users should expect more than “not too bad.”
Liberty Tax Ease Of Use
As far as tax software goes, Liberty Tax was not the easiest to use.
While you can import your old tax documents and W-2 forms, the software doesn’t allow any other imports. Additionally, it's built in calculators tended to be subpar.
For example, the calculator on the W-2 form doesn’t automatically calculate Social Security Income taxes. Instead, users have to multiply their taxable income by 6.2% (and know the calculation) if they want to use the calculator. Of course, most people should simply copy information from their W-2 form. However it’s easiest if the tax software enters as much information as possible for users.
Another issue that users might come across are depreciation calculators in the software. It can be difficult to figure out how to use anything other than the straight-line depreciation for real estate properties. Since that’s the most common type of depreciation, this won’t be an issue for most users. However, if you use non-standard depreciation (or you have in the past), Liberty Tax won’t make the calculations easy for you.
Liberty Tax Online Double Check Guarantee
Although the Liberty Tax Online software isn’t particularly easy to use, it has one important draw that’s unique to it. Liberty Tax online has Double Check Guarantee.
Users who complete their filing online can visit participating Liberty Tax retail locations and have a tax professional review their forms before filing. This guarantee is unique to Liberty Tax Online, and does not come with the eSmart Tax or the FreeTax.com software packages.
Since the Double Check Guarantee is included with your purchase price, Liberty Tax Online becomes significantly cheaper than comparable offers from competitors. For example, it’s less than the $80 TurboTax Live add on, or the Tax Pro Go service from H&R Block which costs $59 to $329.
Liberty Tax Knowledge Articles
Like eSmart Tax and FreeTax.com, Liberty Tax online has a side bar filled with “Commonly Asked Questions.” The questions have robust explanations of tax concepts, and they also explain some of the more difficult to use aspects of the software. Once again, the articles are very good, but several other software packages offer more and better information.
Liberty Tax Pricing And Plans
All of Liberty Tax Online’s plans come with audit support. That means in the event of an audit a tax professional will advise you on next steps. It also comes with free “Double Checking” from a tax filing professional at participating Liberty Tax locations.
Overall, Liberty Tax Online’s prices are among the highest prices for tax filing software, and the software itself is as easy to use as other's. The real reason to consider Liberty Tax Online are the bonus features (audit support and double checking).
W2 Income Only
Itemizers, people with some self-employment income (Schedule C-EZ)
Landlords, people who sold a home, business owners, investors
Promo Code: Take an Extra 20% Off Every Liberty Tax Online Tax Filing Solution. Use Code: LTOCJ20
Who Should Use Liberty Tax Online In 2019?
In terms of software, Liberty Tax Online is really identical to lower cost products created by Liberty Tax (including eSmart Tax and FreeTax.com). The only difference is the support (Liberty Tax Online offers the Double Check guarantee while the other services do not).
If you’re only considering the software, Liberty Tax Online might not be the best choice. Instead consider Credit Karma Tax (for another free tax software option), H&R Block (for a robust product at a great price), or TurboTax (for the easiest product in 2019).
However, if you’re nervous about filing your taxes, the Double Check Guarantee may push you towards Liberty Tax Online this year. It’s a shame that such a valuable guarantee comes with such challenging to use tax software package.
If Liberty Tax Online had a better interface, it would be easy to recommend it for new filers and filers with complex situations. However, as it stands, it’s tough to make a recommendation to use it this year.