TaxSlayer vs TaxAct
Last Updated: January 12, 2023
With such an abundance of options, finding the best tax software could be overwhelming. If you’ve already narrowed your choice to TaxSlayer vs TaxAct, our detailed comparison will help you single out a winner.
Without further ado, let’s look into the two companies’ services, prices, user experience, support and refund options.
The table below illustrates the basic features of TaxSlayer and TaxAct with an emphasis on their DIY online filing options. Let’s see how they stack up.
+$0/$39.95 per state filed
+$39.95/$54.95 per state filed
|Access to a tax expert||Yes||Yes|
|Support||Phone, email, blog, live chat with Premium plan||Live chat, phone, email|
|Guarantees||100% accurate calculations, maximum refund||$100,000 accuracy, maximum refund, 100% satisfaction|
What Is TaxSlayer?
Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Augusta, Georgia, TaxSlayer is a cloud-based tax preparation software company that ranks among the best on the market. It includes all forms and resources at affordable prices based on the complexity of your situation and the support level you need.
What Is TaxAct?
TaxAct was founded in 1988 with the goal of empowering everyone to do their own taxes. In 2005, TaxAct became the first to provide free tax filing services. It now offers a variety of online products tailored toward different tax situations.
TaxAct vs TaxSlayer: Free Edition
When it comes to simple federal taxes, both TaxAct and TaxSlayer are completely free. However, you have to pay an additional cost for state taxes. Each state you file will cost you $39.95 with TaxAct, while TaxSlayer offers one free state return and charges $39.95 for every additional state filed.
With TaxAct Free, you can file just your 1040 forms. You can use this option if you have dependents, claim earned income credits, child tax credits, have retirement income, etc.
Likewise, the free edition of TaxSlayer is for simple returns only. This option is for single or married fillers with no dependents and a taxable income of less than $100,000. It is also for those who claim the standard deduction and only have imported income on W-2 forms.
In addition to their free simple tax return offerings, TaxSlayer and TaxAct serve veterans and active duty military members free of charge no matter the complexity of their tax situations.
This is TaxAct’s most popular plan because it includes forms for homeowners, those who itemize deductions, students that pay student loan interest, etc. With TaxAct Deluxe, you can import data about charitable donations, too. This plan will cost you $46.95 for federal filing plus $54.95 per state.
On the other hand, TaxSlayer has a Classic plan which is the most popular option. TaxSlayer Classic covers all major forms, deductions, and credits. Same as with the free plan, you have unlimited tech support, but you need an upgrade to access a tax professional. The Classic plan will cost you $29.95 for federal filing and $39.95 per state.
The Premium option of TaxSlayer includes everything from the Classic plan plus priority technical support via live chat, audit assistance for three years and unlimited expert tax advice. You will get all of this for a price of $49.95 for federal filing plus $39.95 per state return.
TaxAct Premium is designed for people with rental property or investments. The plan costs $69.95 for a federal return plus $54.95 per state return. It can help with schedule A, schedule E and other forms for reporting investment property.
The Self-employed plan of TaxSlayer has the same features as the Premium option plus a few more. This option is for people filing Schedule C, those who have a 1099-MISC, and anyone who’s filing both 1099 and W-2. It also comes with tech support, and you have access to a tax professional. The price of this plan is $59.95 for federal filing and $39.95 per state.
Same as TaxSlayer, TaxAct Self-employed is for people filing Schedule C, W-2, and 1099-MISC. Also, if you decide to choose TaxAct Self-employed, you will have access to unlimited tax expert support. For TaxAct, this option is the most expensive, costing $94.95 for a federal filing and $54.95 per state.
TaxSlayer vs TaxAct: Ease of Use
TaxSlayer’s interface looks like one of the more expensive software solutions on the market. There is an interview where you will be asked a few simple questions, but you can skip around if you need to. A “Learn more” link will offer you some explanations and tips and a help button laying out all the available support options.
The software allows you to import last year’s report but only if it’s a PDF. You can also import your W-2 information into your return, which may be helpful if you have more W-2s. Unlike TaxAct, there isn’t a calculator to help you with the deduction value of items you donate to charity.
TaxAct’s interface offers a user-friendly experience and various tools to help you with the process. A simple interview and embedded links offer tips and explanations for the filing process. A help centre also links to a search area where you can ask for help. At the top of the screen is a shopping cart icon showing which plan you bought and the total software bill.
In addition, you can easily handle data importing from previous years’ returns. The software allows you to upload your 1099-B information if you have it in a CSV file. With TaxAct, you can also import your data prepared from other software such as H&R Block or TurboTax.
Both TaxAct Express and TaxSlayer have mobile apps available for Android and iOS users. Based on the reviews on Google Play and App Store, they have a high customer rating.
The apps have the same features as the desktop versions. You can easily prepare your federal and state returns from anywhere using your smartphone or any other device. In case you haven’t finished your preparation on the desktop version, you can always switch to the mobile app and complete the process.
You can choose to receive your TaxAct refund as a direct deposit to a credit card or a paper check. Alternatively, you can have it loaded onto an American Express prepaid card.
With TaxSlayer, you can also choose to receive your refund as a direct deposit to a bank account, or you can have it loaded onto a Visa Green Dot Bank prepaid debit card. You can also have it as a paper, typically arriving five days after the IRS issues it.
Both TaxAct and TaxSlayer allow you to pay for the software out of your refund, but the cost is $17.99 and $39, respectively.
Also, whichever of the two companies you choose, you can count on a maximum refund.
Support and Resources
With TaxAct and TaxSlayer, you can find answers and get guidance when filing your return. Both providers offer tech support by email or phone as well as expert advice.
TaxSlayer users who want more hands-on assistance need to upgrade to the Premium or Self-employed plan. These packages include the Ask a Pro service at no additional cost. The in-house professionals will research your situation and answer your questions within one business day of submitting them. On the downside, there is no on-screen expert help.
TaxAct also offers an option called Xpert Assist, which allows you to schedule a call with a certified tax professional. The experts can also review your taxes before you file them. The price of this add-on depends on the current promotion. You can even get it for free regardless of the selected plan. In fact, at the time of writing, Xpert Assists costs $0 for all users.
Once you file your tax return, the IRS will check for clerical errors and missing information. In case you are selected for an audit, you’ll get a notice in the mail advising you of the correction. In such case, it’s best to get professional audit assistance.
With TaxSlayer, you get audit support at no additional cost if you are a Premium or Self-Employed user. The company will work with you to prepare for and resolve inquiries in the case of an audit up to three years after your return is accepted. However, TaxSlayer doesn’t offer direct representation before the IRS.
TaxAct, on the other hand, doesn’t provide audit assistance services itself. Instead, it partners with Protection Plus, whose professional team will guide you through the audit process and even defend you before the IRS. TaxAct customers can purchase a Tax Audit Defense membership before filing their tax returns for a one-time fee of $39.95.
Final Verdict: Which Is Better, TaxSlayer or TaxAct?
TaxAct and TaxSlayer both offer free simple tax return filing. But TaxAct’s pricing gets steeper with upgrades compared to TaxSlayer’s. Also, you get more support with TaxAct, especially when its Xpert Assist feature is available for free.
On the other hand, TaxSlayer has a great interface and supports its Premium and Self-Employed users during an IRS audit at no additional cost.
Ultimately, the two companies have a lot in common. Most importantly, they both guarantee you a maximum refund. So whichever you choose, you should be able to file your taxes smoothly and securely.