The post FreeTaxUSA Review 2019: File Federal Income Tax Returns for Free appeared first on Club Thrifty.
FreeTaxUSA is an online tax preparation website that allows you to prepare, print, and e-file your taxes for free. It’s one of the fastest growing tax planning sites and has many of the same options as other popular tax programs.
Packed with many of the features you’d expect, FreeTaxUSA supports all major tax forms – including the ability to report investments, rental property, and home ownership information. It’s great if you’re filing jointly or are self-employed, and includes all the necessary forms for HSA contributions and K-1 income, too.
When it comes to filing your taxes, finding a low-cost e-filing solution that offers high-quality service is essential. This software has most of the features for basic and advanced tax preparation, and is a great choice for DIY tax filers.
FreeTaxUSA at a Glance
- Founded in 2001 by a CPA and software development team
- More than 18 million returns have been filed
- Offers all major tax forms with their Free edition
- Authorized e-file provider by the IRS
- Simple pricing structure with no hidden fees
Services Provided by FreeTaxUSA
- Free Email Support
- Live Chat Customer Service
- Secure data storage and IRS transmission
- Audit protection
- Online data backup
- Accuracy guarantee
- Low-cost state returns
What is FreeTaxUSA?
FreeTaxUSA is a fully-featured online tax preparation and e-filing service. Founded in 2001 by a CPA and a team of professional software developers, the company now has over 150 dedicated employees who provide a quality tax product that won’t break your budget.
Over the last two decades, millions of people have successfully filed their returns through FreeTaxUSA. Customers love the straightforward pricing structure that isn’t laced with hidden fees. Like many of the more well-known programs, like TurboTax, FreeTaxUSA securely saves your information in your tax profile. It then rolls over your prior year tax data at no charge.
Additionally, the software is updated every year to incorporate the most recent changes in federal and state tax codes. With each new update, a tax analyst team reviews the software before it goes through an extensive approval process with the IRS and with each state.
FreeTaxUSA offers two online filing options: Free and Deluxe. While federal filing is always free, purchasing the Deluxe version allows you to file your state income taxes for a small fee. Both options come with advanced features such as a 100% accuracy guarantee that checks for errors as you prepare your return.
Both the Free version and Deluxe option come with step-by-step guidance to walk you through each stage of the filing process. By accessing over 350 credits and deductions to maximize your tax dollars, FreeTaxUSA aims to provide you with the biggest refund possible.
FreeTaxUSA Review: What’s Included
They say nothing in life is free, right? Well, FreeTaxUSA puts that saying to the test.
FreeTaxUSA 2019 covers most basic and advanced tax situations without inflated fees. There are a few forms not supported, like reporting foreign employment income or nonresident alien returns. But, for most people, FreeTaxUSA comes with a variety of features…and they’re all free!
When preparing your own taxes, one of the biggest frustrations you’ll face is encountering a tax situation you don’t understand. This is where FreeTaxUSA’s support shines. There’s an extensive online knowledge base to walk you through different tax scenarios, plus they offer email support. Live chat is also available for Deluxe customers.
The support center is the best way to get answers to your tax questions with responses usually received in less than 30 minutes. If you’re not logged into your account, you can always send an email to the support team instead. Sending an email usually takes a bit longer to get an answer, mostly because the support team has to verify your information. Whether you’re using the support center or email support, you’ll get an accurate response fairly quickly.
To date, more than 18 million tax returns have been filed with FreeTaxUSA. As an IRS authorized e-file provider, the team takes your security seriously through the use of data encryption and secure IRS transmissions to help keep your information safe. They also use active account monitoring to make sure your financial and personally identifiable information is kept confidential.
The threat of an audit is probably the biggest fear for people who file their own taxes. With the Deluxe version of FreeTaxUSA, you’ll get access to audit specialists through the Audit Assist program. If you’re subject to an IRS audit, you can get answers to your questions from professionals who are trained to handle tax audits. The Deluxe version also comes with the Audit Center where you can search the database for helpful information to help you during the audit process.
The downside to the Audit Assist option is that it doesn’t cover state returns. It also doesn’t provide a direct representative who will talk to the IRS on your behalf. Even though you’ll have to do the work, the audit experts will help you with what steps to take next.
Online Backup and Account Rollover
The Free version will back up your returns each year and automatically carry the information over into the new tax year. If you didn’t use FreeTaxUSA for last year’s return, you might benefit from importing your tax information through the PDF import feature to save yourself some time. This allows you to import your tax information from programs like H&R Block, TaxAct, TurboTax, and more.
FreeTaxUSA won’t cover data entry errors you may have made, but they do provide an Accuracy Guarantee to assure the tax calculations in their software are correct and consistent with federal and state standards. If their formulas are wrong, FreeTaxUSA will reimburse you for any penalties and interest you’re charged by the IRS and your state of residence.
Cheap State Returns
It’s common for online tax software sites to let you file your federal return for free. But most places charge you about $20 or more to submit your state return, too. At FreeTaxUSA, you’ll only pay $12.95 to e-file your state return.
Special Tax Situations
Most tax prep programs require you to buy a premium edition to handle more advanced tax situations. With FreeTaxUSA, the Free version includes the option to file a Schedule C if you’re self-employed, a Schedule E to report rental real estate, a Schedule D for capital gains transactions, and more.
They’re also set up to process any fees you may need to pay under the Affordable Care Act. Plus, they’ll help you claim any healthcare exemption you might qualify for to reduce the penalty for not having coverage in 2018.
What is Included in the FreeTaxUSA Deluxe Edition?
Our favorite thing about FreeTaxUSA is that the Free version covers practically anything you might need to file your federal return. However, since the Deluxe edition only costs $6.99, you may consider upgrading to get a few extra features.
For one, you’ll get peace of mind with priority support. This bumps you to the front of the line and saves you valuable time.
Additionally, you’ll enjoy the benefits of Audit Assist. As we mentioned earlier, this feature allows you to get help if you’re ever flagged for an audit by the IRS. And, you’ll also have the ability to file unlimited amended returns when you upgrade to Deluxe.
While you’ll still have to pay $12.95 to e-file your state return, the added advantages of the Deluxe edition could be well worth the cost.
Where FreeTaxUSA Falls Short
The biggest downfall of FreeTaxUSA is that first-time filers may struggle with the interface. There is a step-by-step process that takes you through each section and asks questions to guide you through entering your tax information. But, if you’re stuck and aren’t sure how to proceed, the program doesn’t offer an explanation beyond what’s included in the question.
There’s an extensive customer support option and a knowledge database to help answer tough tax questions. However, if you’re a new filer, you may find this isn’t specific enough to understand the question. To get advanced customer service, such as live chat and priority support, you’ll have to upgrade to the Deluxe version. It only costs $6.99, so it might be worth the price to skip to the front of the line every time you have a question.
FreeTaxUSA also doesn’t support all tax situations. If you need to report foreign employment income, prior year minimum tax credit, or nonresident alien returns, this program isn’t for you.
Another drawback is the lack of program design and appearance. Though some users prefer the straightforward layout, others find it a bit plain. Either way, the site is useful and gets right to the point with a simple interface for entering data.
Pros and Cons of FreeTaxUSA
|Supports all major tax forms for free without needing to upgrade||State filing costs extra|
|Free federal filing||First-time filers may get confused|
|Access over 350 credits and deductions||Extra cost for live chat support|
|Most refunds are received in less than 21 days||There are some advanced tax situations not supported|
|Low cost upgrade to Deluxe version|
|Free customer service through support center and email|
Who Is FreeTaxUSA Right For?
DIY Tax Filers – If you like to do-it-yourself, FreeTaxUSA offers all the forms most people need to file their federal income tax returns for free.
Budget-Minded Tax Filers – FreeTaxUSA is a good option for budget-minded people. It covers a lot of tax filing situations and offers all the primary forms you might need, whether you’re married or single, self-employed, have a rental income, or are in the military.
Those Seeking a Refund – This program is dedicated to getting you the maximum refund possible for your situation. Where some other programs force you to upgrade to gain access to additional forms and services, FreeTaxUSA has over 350 credits and deductions you can tap into when you use the Free version.
Who Is Not a Good Fit for FreeTaxUSA?
Those Needing a Lot of Support – If you don’t have a lot of experience DIY filing your taxes, you may find this software confusing. With that said, FreeTaxUSA has free support and the option to upgrade to Priority Support with the low-cost Deluxe version. But, if you’re looking for a lot of hand-holding, FreeTaxUSA may not be a good fit.
Those With Complex Tax Situations – Although FreeTaxUSA does offer forms for more complex tax situations (like self-employment, landlords, etc.), it may not be the best fit. Certain business owners who need more assistance and those with foreign income may wish to look elsewhere.
Getting Started with FreeTaxUSA
It’s a quick, easy process to get started with FreeTaxUSA. Get started with FreeTaxUSA here.
After you open their site, it only takes a few minutes to set up a free account. It’s even faster if you’ve filed with them before. Simply sign in to access all your saved information from last year’s return.
If you don’t have time to start this year’s return right away, that’s okay. FreeTaxUSA will save your personal details and you can log in later to finish entering your information.
When you’re ready to get started, gather up all the tax documents you’ve received. A few of the items you may need are your W-2 forms, 1099 forms, investment income information, and mortgage interest statements. Check out the Tax Form Checklist from the IRS to see if you’ll need more.
From there, FreeTaxUSA will walk through each step of your tax return to make sure you’re entering everything correctly. The balance will update with the amount of taxes you owe (or the refund amount you can expect to receive) as you go through each section.
After all your information is entered, take a minute to review the data and check for errors. Once you’re satisfied, you can e-file your tax return and expect to get your refund in as little as 21 days.
Free Tax Review: The Bottom Line
Filing your taxes doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. FreeTaxUSA offers a robust program with excellent features that allow you to file your federal forms for free.
While other online tax software sites make you upgrade to a premium version if you’re self-employed or have rental income, FreeTaxUSA does not. With FreeTaxUSA, you get access to all the major tax forms and more than 350 deductions and credits with their Free edition.You also get a 100% Accuracy Guarantee and the option to print your tax return for free.
You do have to pay an additional $12.95 to e-file your state tax return, and upgrading to the Deluxe version for audit protection and priority customer support with a live chat option will cost you $6.99. Still, even these prices are some of the best in the industry.
With the simple interface and lack of detailed explanations throughout much of the filing process, this isn’t always the best fit for beginner filers who need added guidance. However, if you have some experience filing taxes, you can e-file your state and federal return with priority support for less than $20.
If you’re looking for a solid tax preparation service at a low cost, FreeTaxUSA is a good choice.
The post FreeTaxUSA Review 2019: File Federal Income Tax Returns for Free appeared first on Club Thrifty.