TaxSlayer has emerged this year as a strong contender in the DIY tax prep space. In fact, we named them as one of the best tax software programs for small business – since they offer all of their forms for a single price, which is huge for side hustlers and busienss owners that have multiple forms and complex returns.
However, they may not be the best tax software option for you. In that case, you may be looking for TaxSlayer alternatives.
We break down our choices and picks for the best TaxSlayer alternatives that you could use to prepare your taxes this year.
What Is TaxSlayer?
In our recent review of TaxSlayer, we outlined a number of benefits to using it for your tax return software, including free filing if you are claiming student interest as a deduction. Here’s a quick review of TaxSlayer’s highlights:
- Pricing: $0 (state included), $19.95, $39.95, and $49.95 (for these three options, state is available for $39.95)
- Web-based (no downloads required)
- Options for tax audit, live tax pro help, and self-employed
- E-file available
- Easy to use
Most people will find that TaxSlayer meets their needs. Those with more complex tax filings may find they need more options than what is offered by TaxSlayer. In those cases, specialized tax software that can accommodate the unique needs of those filers will probably be the best option. Here are a few choices.
TurboTax offers a large variety of options but is on the more expensive side compared to other tax filing software. Like most tax filing software, they have four plans that increase in price as your tax needs increase or become more complex. Each higher-cost plan includes everything in the lower-cost plans. Except for the free edition, state filing will cost extra. You don’t have to pay for any plan until you file.
- Free Edition: Great for simple individual tax returns.
- Deluxe: $39, best if you have mortgage interest, donations, student loans, and 1099-MISC income. State filing is an additional $39.
- Premier: $69, best for those with various investment income including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and rental properties. State filing is an additional $69.
- Self-Employed: $89, best for self-employed, including freelancers and small businesses. Access to year-round tax estimator after filing. State filing is an additional $89.
You also have the option to add Live CPA help to each plan at a cost. Fees by plan are $0 (limited time), $89, $139, and $169. TurboTax is web-based but you also have the option to purchase it as a CD or download.
TaxAct handles filings for anyone from individuals to businesses to those looking to maximize their deductions. There are four plans offered. Each higher-cost plan includes everything in the lower-cost plans:
- Free: For Individual Federal return. State will cost $39.95 even at the free tier. No phone support.
- Deluxe: $24.95, best for homeowners and those with specific types of deductions such as itemized deductions. Also great if you have the following: child and dependent care, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, student loan interest, a health savings account (HSA), or adoption credits. Includes tax specialist phone support. State filing costs $59.
- Premier: $34.95, best for those with investments, rental property, Schedule K-1 income, investment income and expenses, rental property income, and foreign bank and financial accounts. State filing costs $89.
- Self Employed: $64.95, Deduction Maximizer™, and year-round tax resources. Best for freelancers, businesses, and farmers. Finds business deductions and calculates depreciation. State filing costs $119, higher than the other two non-free plans.
When you factor in state pricing on top of their high federal pricing, it’s hard to justify TaxAct over TaxSlayer.
Sticking to the current theme, H&R Block also offers four plans with the individual plan being free. They have an Online Assist option for a fee that allows you to speak with a live tax expert, enrolled agent, or CPA. H&R Block’s software has a great-looking interface, is easy to use, and is completely web-based.
The free plan includes one state filing. State filings for the paid plans can be purchased for $37 each.
- Free: $0 and includes state filing. Tech support is available by chat.
- Deluxe: $35, for homeowners and those with donations and HSAs. Includes DeductionPro® to optimize donations. Technical support is available by chat or phone. State taxes with be $37 additional.
- Premium: $55, for freelancers, contractors, and investors (including rental properties). Performs cost basis calculation. State taxes with be $37 additional.
- Self-Employed: $85, for self-employed and small businesses. Import Uber driver tax information. Includes the ability to add home office depreciation and vehicle expenses. State taxes with be $37 additional.
TaxSlayer again has much better pricing that H&R Block Online, but H&R Block has some of the most robust assistance options of any tax software option. Between online assistance, phone support, and their network of offices, if you need help with your taxes, you can find it easily.
FreeTaxUSA is a popular alternative because they offer simple flat-rate pricing for their software. And it’s about on-par for ease of use compared to TaxSlayer.
- Free: $0 Federal and $14.99 State
- Deluxe: $7.99 and $14.99 State (includes audit support)
With these low prices and full access to all tax forms at the lowest level, FreeTaxUSA even gives TaxSlayer Classic a run for its money. Both FreeTaxUSA and TaxSlayer are about the same ease of use, and so for most users FreeTaxUSA is a compelling alternative.
Cash App Taxes
Cash App Taxes is a popular alternative to TaxSlayer specifically because its the only tax software option that offers truly free Federal and State tax filing.
However, Cash App Taxes does have some drawbacks. For example, it doesn’t allow for multiple state taxes, and doesn’t support foreign earned income. There may be other tax situations that it doesn’t support as well.
As a result, TaxSlayer is still a competitive option. But if you have a simple tax return (like a W2 and maybe a 1099 for interest), Cash App Taxes could be a good choice.
If your filing needs are simple (just a Form W-2 and no investments), any of the free options above will work fine. If you are a small business owner or freelancer, TaxAct and H&R Block have comparable options with great feature sets.
However, FreeTaxUSA and Cash App Taxes are probably the most compelling options for simple tax returns.