If there’s one thing that is easy to put off, it’s filing your taxes.
Sitting down and going through all of your financial records in order to file your taxes, doesn’t exactly sound like a fun afternoon (or day!) does it?
Unfortunately, it’s got to be done, and the sooner that you get it over and done with, the better.
If you’re feeling a bit apprehensive about how costly it can be to do it through a tax preparer, you may want to look at cheaper alternatives, such as a bit of DIY.
With a company like FreeTaxUSA, you can even file your taxes for free, and online. So should you do this?
FreeTaxUSA at a Glance
We are going to look at FreeTaxUSA in this article, and the benefits that you can get from using them.
Not heard of them before? They are an online tax preparation website, where you can prepare, print, and electronically file your taxes – and all for free.
They were founded in 2001 by a CPA and a team of professional software developers, and currently, have over 150 employees.
They are an original member of the IRS Free File Alliance and have filed millions of federal tax returns with the IRS with over 18 million returns submitted.
So it’s safe to say, they are pretty legit. But is it worth using them and filing your taxes this way, rather than going through the usual option of using a tax preparer?
FreeTaxUSA Pros and Cons
- FreeTaxUSA has an AAA+ rating with the Better Business Bureau
- It has free support available to you
- The accuracy is guaranteed and paid for by FreeTaxUSA if it is due to their calculation error.
- Audit Assist. If you have the Deluxe version, you will gain access to audit specialists, who are there to answer questions if you have an IRS audit. Although please note, that this only applies to Federal returns that are audited (not state returns).
- Not everyone can use this service
- It has limited support. You can email, or ask your question in the online forum if you are using the free service – but if you are with the Deluxe version you will have online chat support and priority.
- Additional services will cost you extra. You will have to pay $14.99 for every amendment that you file if you are using the Free version on the site.
What Is FreeTaxUSA?
As briefly mentioned, FreeTaxUSA is a company that allows you to file your taxes online for FREE.
When it comes to doing your taxes, there’s a lot of resistance there, so being able to do it for free is something that really sweetens the process for you.
FreeTaxUSA is authorized by the IRS to be an e-file provider, and every year they do updates which are approved by the IRS, which means that you will always be compliant with federal and state tax laws.
FreeTaxUSA Ease Of Use
Let’s be honest – none of us want to get our tax returns wrong. If you have made the decision to use FreeTaxUSA and do it yourself to save money, it’s always reassuring to know that it is easy to do.
So how easy is it to do exactly?
In terms of the interface of the site, it is clean and easy to navigate, with no need of downloading any additional add-ons.
When you have your FreeTaxUSA login, at the top of the page you are able to edit your information. This is where it is set up really well, as it shows which parts you have or haven’t done, by using green checkmarks.
Also, if you want to compare your tax return to the one that you filed last year, you are easily able to do so by using the section summaries.
FreeTaxUSA Review: What’s Included
This is arguably the most important thing when you are filing your tax return. You definitely don’t want to do it wrong, because you’ll be in trouble with the IRS.
Luckily, FreeTaxUSA guarantee that the information will be accurate, and if there is a problem on their end, they will reimburse you for any penalties that you incur.
If you are subject to an audit by the IRS, you will be able to get assistance with this from a tax specialist.
Cheap State Returns
You will have to pay extra for a state return ($12.95), but this is much cheaper than a lot of other companies charge.
If this is your first time filing your taxes yourself (or just at any time – I’m sure I’m not the only one who panics slightly about this kind of thing), you can get reassurance from the support that is offered.
You can get support via their support center, email support, and their online knowledge base.
FreeTaxUSA phone number is not available though, as they do not offer phone support.
Every year, you are able to back up your returns, and these will get carried over into the following year. If you haven’t used them before, you can use their PDF import feature to import your returns from whichever company you have used previously.
With all of your information on the site, it’s imperative that the security is good.
FreeTaxUSA has two-factor authentication upon signing in, data encryption, account alerts, and data center protection.
Special Tax Situations
FreeTaxUSA do as much as they can to assist you with your tax situations – it’s usually up to you if you want to go with the Deluxe version for a little bit more help, or through a tax specialist.
Within the free version on the site, you are able to file for a Section C if you are self-employed, a Schedule E for real estate rental money, and so on.
Who Can Use FreeTaxUSA?
Pretty much everyone can use FreeTaxUSA, but the question is whether you should use it or not.
If you have a straightforward situation, it will be easier to do it yourself than if you were in a more complicated one, and not sure what you were doing.
For example, if you are self-employed, have property income, those who have foreign income. It’s worth taking a look and seeing if it would be a good fit for your situation.
Who Is FreeTaxUSA Right For?
As with anything, FreeTaxUSA won’t be right for everyone. But there are a lot of people that it is right for, such as:
- DIY tax filers. If you want to file your taxes by yourself and have complete control, then this is perfect for you.
- Those who want to save money. I don’t know about you, but I like to try and save as much money as I can on pretty much everything, and if you can in-source this rather than paying somebody else to do it, this can save you a lot.
- If you want to get a refund. One of the best things about FreeTaxUSA is that it is set up to try and get you the best refund that you can get. There are other companies that you can use, but they try to upsell you to more expensive products in order to do this.
How Much Does FreeTaxUSA Cost?
FreeTaxUSA has 2 different plans:
Pricing and Plans
You get quite a lot with the free edition, but there are some limits of course, as the more advanced options are available with the Deluxe version.
With the free version you get:
- Federal tax return
- Customer support
- Printable tax return
- Tax extension
If you want to do a state tax return, this will cost you $12.95.
Some of the benefits that it offers with the Free Edition that other tax software companies do not do are:
- Over 350 credits/deductions
- Ability to import previous years tax information (and can compare)
- Backup of your tax returns – you have the option to print them out now, or later
- Homeowners can write off property taxes and interest from the mortgage
- Small businesses can use self-employed, 1099 or contractor income
- Report investment income from stocks, bonds, and dividends
- HSA contributions (you can get a deduction)
- Affordable Care Act – health insurance is covered, and other benefits
The free version offers lots of great options, but there are even more options available with the Deluxe Edition.
Amazingly, the Deluxe Edition is available for only $6.99 (with State still being $12.95).
With the Deluxe Edition, you are able to get:
- Live chat with a tax specialist (hours are Monday – Saturday 8 am – 12 am Eastern)
- Audit Assist. If you are subject to an IRS audit, you can get access to an expert to help you through the process
- Audit Center – where you can find all of the information that you would need for an audit
- Unlimited amended returns. You can file extra returns at no additional cost.
How Does FreeTaxUSA Make Money?
FreeTaxUSA makes their money through the Deluxe Edition that they sell, and also the State Tax Return fee ($12.95).
There is so much that is available to you for free on the site, and it’s only fair that they are able to charge a small extra fee for additional services, I’m sure you’ll agree.
How Safe Is FreeTaxUSA?
As FreeTaxUSA is an authorized IRS e-file tax provider, they need to have good security.
They have the following safety precautions:
- Data encryption. All of the data on the website is encrypted with SSL.
- Secure IRS transactions. All of the tax returns are encrypted and FreeTaxUSA have higher than necessary encryption for sending to the IRS.
- Data center protection. They have all day monitoring on their servers.
- Personal safeguards. They are able to protect your information on there from unauthorized access from other users.
- Protection upon signing in. When you sign in, there is a two-step authentication, as well as security questions.
- Account alerts. Whenever changes are made that affect your security (email address, username, password, mobile number, security question, deposit information), you will be emailed.
Getting Started With FreeTaxUSA
To get started with FreeTaxUSA, you will need to sign up here and create an account.
It is free to sign up, and you will have to fill in your personal details. To get started with your tax return you will need the following documents:
- 1099 forms
- W-2 forms
- Investment income
- Mortgage interest statements
As previously mentioned, you will be guided along the process with a check mark system, that will show you the information that you need to enter as you go.
Once you have finished entering your information, make sure that you double-check everything, and then you can file your tax return.
FreeTaxUSA Review Final Thoughts
When it comes to filing your taxes, the more money that you’re able to save, the better.
If you are confident about completing the required information or are happy to give it a go, then FreeTaxUSA is a great choice.
You can file for free, with a state file charge of only $12.95 – and additional support available to you for an extra $6.99 if you need it.
It may also be a good idea to look for a FreeTaxUSA coupon beforehand, to see if you can get any money off.
As it is an authorized e-filer for the IRS and has filed millions of taxes, you can rest assured that FreeTaxUSA is a legitimate company to use, and you will be safe with them.
If something goes wrong with their calculations, they will cover the costs of any fees (although you won’t be covered if you have entered something incorrectly of course).
FreeTaxUSA is an excellent choice for a free tax filing service, as you get great value for money, and peace of mind knowing that they will support you along the way.