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You have successfully made it to adulthood.
You are now the proud owner of a…
- 9 to 5 job
- Mountain of expenses
- Mild case of anxiety and depression
And since we are still a long way from April 15th…
…you have [probably] completely forgotten about filing your taxes.
For many people, this can be a magical time of year; a random, but obviously well deserved, wad of cash gets thrown back at them.
For everyone else, it is the worst time of year (for obvious reasons).
Most of us rely on tax software to navigate the tangled mess known as the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).
But there has been a serious problem consuming the tax software industry lately.
What is it, you ask?
Two words: HIDDEN FEES!
And speaking of hidden fees, I have an all too common story to share with you…
Warning: Taxpayers may find the following content disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
It was April 2018 and I had been avoiding filing my taxes for months, but the deadline was quickly approaching. Time was running short and I was ready to rock-and-roll.
I scavenged for all of my tax documents strewn around the house.
I spent two hours diligently gathering and entering my W-2s, 1098s, and 1099s into my chosen “free” tax software.
Once everything was entered, I laid eyes on my magnificent $4,000 tax refund.
“See ya losers later because once I e-file this thing – I am RICH,” I thought to myself.
But no sooner than when I clicked the button to e-file, a message popped up…
…”that’ll be $39.99.”
The company claimed it would file my return for FREE!!
My tax software befriended me, made the filing process easy, and told me everything was free…
…only to turn on a dime when it realized that I just came into some serious cash.
Countless law abiding taxpayers suffer the same fate each year. Even worse, most of them accept the fee they are dealt to avoid filling out another tax return.
Well, I am done getting swindled by tax software providers and now you can be, too.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a company that made April 15th even better? Or at least, less awful?
Well, I have gone to work for YOU to determine if such a thing even exists.
Spoiler alert: IT DOES EXIST!
And this post aims to give you our favorite tax filing software that you can use to file your 2018 taxes.
The pick is in…
…and it is FreeTaxUSA!
Read on to find out what we like (and don’t like) about this product…
To kick things off, you need to be aware of your free filing options. To see where you can file for free, check out the IRS Free File page.
This tool will ask you a few questions to determine your eligibility and make recommendations based on the facts you provide.
This way, you can avoid filling out your tax return only to discover that it is not actually free. Also, the recommendation by the IRS adds a level of credibility to each product (i.e. it won’t be complete garbage).
FreeTaxUSA is one of a few tax software products listed by the IRS.
Not only is the software free, but it supports many tax situations like…
- Married filing jointly
- Itemized deductions
- Rental property
- Small businesses
This product caught my eye because it is actually free and covers a broad range of tax needs.
The mass appeal of FreeTaxUSA software stands to benefit the greatest number of people reading this. And thus, I decided to put FreeTaxUSA to the test and am prepared to share my findings with you.
These findings include…
- Basic overview
- Pros and Cons
- Who the software will work for
- Customer reviews
- The takeaway
…and everything else that you want to know about how to file your next tax return drama free!
Pro Tip: Don’t wait until the last minute to file your taxes. Get an early start now with FreeTaxUSA and you can file for FREE
Pricing and Features
So, we have determined that you can file your federal return for free with FreeTaxUSA.
But just because any tax software is free…
…doesn’t mean it is worth using.
After all, it is not worth trying to save money if the outcome is a screwed up tax return!
Therefore, any tax filing software that is worth using should be accurate, easy-to-use, and free.
Thankfully, FreeTaxUSA aims to give you a budget-friendly option that does not compromise quality. Here are some of the key features of the FreeTaxUSA filing software…
- Very low cost
- 100% accuracy guarantee
- All major tax forms available
- State filing is never free
- Lack of educational materials
Rest assured that your tax returns will be accurate.
And you will be able to get a maximum refund because FreeTaxUSA monitors and updates its software for new credits, deductions, and tax code changes.
Each software upgrade is tested and approved by the IRS and each state.
The company also gives users a 100% accuracy guarantee and checks for errors throughout the filing process.
Ease of use
The name is straightforward and so is the product.
FreeTaxUSA has taken a no BS approach to helping you file your taxes.
The no frills interface enables you to get in, get out, and get paid.
Federal is free!
Yes – your federal tax return is free with no strings attached.
However, it does cost $12.95 per state return – but this is made clear on the website.
But we all know that filing your taxes is not always a simple task.
Accordingly, we need professional support, extension filing, audit support, and other tools to get through this process.
FreeTaxUSA offers TWO version of their software…
…which one can benefit you?
For most people, the free edition will handle their tax federal and state tax returns.
Many of the other guys have limitations based on…
- Filing status
- Form 1040 (i.e. 1040EZ, 1040A, etc.)
This is important to know because other service providers may claim ‘free’ but it comes with specific limitations.
For example, the company will only file your 1040EZ for free.
This is a rather important detail to know because…
Not many people qualify to file a 1040EZ!
If you have things like IRA contributions, stock investments, student loan interest, or tax credits…
…you probably won’t qualify to file a 1040EZ or even a 1040A.
This means that your “free” tax software will no longer be free.
The real kicker is that most people don’t know what form they are filing until they are attempting to file.
However, FreeTaxUSA is as advertised…
…federal filing is free and state filing is $12.95.
And it doesn’t matter if you have investments, rental income, itemized deductions – it is still free!
Some additional benefits to the Free edition include…
- Automatic backup (so you won’t lose your in progress tax return)
- Carry over tax returns from prior years
- E-mail support
The Free edition offers a no frills way to file your tax return.
However, if that isn’t enough for you…
…there is another option.
Let’s say you have really got the IRS on your back.
You don’t know what you did to deserve it – but it is happening – and you’ve got to deal with it.
Or perhaps you need extra help filing your taxes, because hey, you’re not an expert.
Fortunately, the Deluxe edition includes everything in the Free option with some extras.
These extras include…
- Priority customer support
- Live chat with specialists
- Audit support included
- Unlimited amended returns
The Deluxe option is $6.99 in addition to the free federal and $12.95 state fee.
You can also upgrade your software anytime during the process; that way, you can decide if you need the upgrade before you purchase it.
The Deluxe edition is a good option for those that are being audited, need to fix a return, or need extra advice to file their return. This may also be a good option for new filers as the additional support will come in handy.
Customer support offers tax expertise to answer questions along with technical support.
Now that you have chosen which version of the software is right for you, let’s look at some other features that make this product a great fit for you (or possibly not a great fit).
Return and payment
Possibly the most important part of filing is…
FreeTaxUSA gives taxpayers the option to receive their refund via…
- Direct deposit to your bank account
- Pre-paid American Express debit card
- Paper check by mail
Direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your refund with most receiving their refund within 21 days of e-filing.
Extended tax filing
What if you need more time to file your return?
You can file your federal extension for free and FreeTaxUSA will e-mail you when the IRS has accepted it.
Additionally, there are no deals to be had by filing early. This means that you will receive free federal and $12.95 state filing at any point during the year.
However, you are on your own against the IRS if you miss the extended deadline!
The tax calculator feature is another cool bonus that you can utilize with this software.
You can use the tax software as a calculator to get…
- Your estimated taxes
- Your tax refund
- Your tax credits and deductions
You can do this by filling out your tax information, to the best of your knowledge, in the tax software itself (this is a great way to test the software, as well).
When you are ready to file, simply update the information and you are good to go!
In the event that you are (knock on wood) audited by the IRS…
…FreeTaxUSA offers audit assist to help you out (Deluxe edition only).
TaxFreeUSA will connect you with an audit specialist for…
- Audit preparation
- Navigating the process
- Answering questions you have
The drawbacks of this feature are that the company does not cover state audits or represent you in the audit itself.
Nevertheless, this feature can still relieve many potential headaches that arise from an IRS audit.
I conducted some research on the company’s reputation. After all, I had never even heard of these guys – what’s up with that?
Are they new to the market? Will they steal your personal information and tax refund?
Actually, these guys have been in the game for many years.
And here is what I found…
- FreeTaxUSA was founded in 2001 and has over 150 employees
- The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
- Original member of the IRS Free File Alliance and an authorized IRS e-file provider
- 18 million tax returns filed over 17 years in business
This company does not get the exposure of other tax software brands, apparently…
…but they have been building a reputation for quality service for a very long time.
Well, on the surface TaxFreeUSA looks legit – but we wanted to hear from their customers. That is the feedback that counts, right?
Real People, Real Reviews
The company has accumulated numerous reviews throughout the years.
What have customers had to say about their experience?
Here are several reviews written by real customers…
“Filing my taxes with Free Tax USA was a breeze. With their helpful and knowledgeable software and staff, I was very pleased and comfortable filing my taxes safely. I will being filing with Free Tax USA again and again.”
“FreeTaxUSA is the fastest, easiest tax software I have ever used at a third of the cost of what I had been using. Imported my last return from a pdf file and entered this years info and was done in less than a half hour.”
“No phone number to call and takes forever to respond on any issue or question.”
“This program does not have part III of Sch. E or 6198 which is required for a loss on K1, so our family and friends will be forced to find another tax program.”
One thing FreeTaxUSA does is responds to unhappy customers by offering explanations and solutions to their problems. This demonstrates that the company is being receptive to customers and listening to their frustrations.
How many other companies do that, in general?
I found overwhelmingly positive reviews on FreeTaxUSA. However, like any company, they had their share of negative reviews. Given the volume of tax returns this company files each year, they are bound to have some frustrated customers.
Who can use this?
Okay, these guys are legit; but are they a good fit for you?
As noted earlier, it is not worth using a free tax software unless it can its job properly…
…FreeTaxUSA is the real deal and will file your taxes accurately and free.
Pretty much anyone can use TaxFreeUSA since it applies broadly to many different tax situations. The software is great for handling simple to more complicated tax needs.
You can find a list of federal and state forms that the software supports on their website – including forms that the software does not support.
And honestly, this software probably supports an unnecessary amount of forms.
People that file some of these forms are either great with taxation or would require a CPA to file.
With that said, the ideal user would be one of two people…
- Those with simple tax returns
- Those savvy enough to do their own taxes
These users are ideal because the lack of expertise compared to other tax software options can be a pitfall with this software.
This can impact taxpayers that could benefit from additional tools and tips that other software can provide.
However, FreeTaxUSA does offer guidance while filling out tax returns, but nothing that goes above-and-beyond.
This is not a major issue, especially since most answers can be found with a simple Google search or by asking your parents (or someone old), but it is worth pointing out.
Clearly, you have plenty of options to choose from when filing your taxes. I chose to present FreeTaxUSA because of its low-price and mass appeal.
Here is what I like about FreeTaxUSA…
- Honesty and reputation
- Low prices
- Above-average software functionality
- 100% accuracy guarantee
- Tax specialists
Take a few minutes to read through the FreeTaxUSA website. Everything you read is true, with no fine print or unpleasant surprises down the road.
This scores the company major points in my book. Why?
Because other tax software companies use deceptive tricks to get you to sign-up and file with them. You can choose (or not choose) FreeTaxUSA with confidence because what you see is what you get.
The Free and Deluxe options are enough to cover the tax filing needs of most people. Both options are affordable and well below the market rate for tax filing software.
Many tax software products advertise “free” federal filing but only cover the bare minimum tax forms. The primary distinction between FreeTaxUSA and competitors is the ability to file most major tax forms for free.
FreeTaxUSA falls into most people’s definition of free. No tricks, surprises, or gimmicks.
This company is among our top choices for filing your federal and state tax returns this year.
Do you have any tax filing horror stories? Which company will you use to file your taxes this year?
Leave a comment at the bottom of this article to share your personal stories and which tax software you recommend!
P.S. Click Here you get a head start on your taxes. (Don’t wait)