This bare-bones software is one of the cheapest options, yet one of the few that offers free federal filing for taxpayers with small-business income, investments, and/or dependents, whether or not they qualify for Free File. There's no phone or chat support; all correspondence is done via email.
- Adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less, and
- 17-75 years old
- Supports all common forms
- Not available to residents of AK, FL, NV, NH, SD, TN, TX, WA, and WY
FreeTaxUSA Free Edition
- No income or age requirement
- Supports all common forms
What stands out with this free online tax prep software is its ability to handle a variety of tax situations, including children, investments, and freelance/small business income. FreeTaxUSA even supports part-year and nonresident returns for taxpayers who moved during 2014. These features mean big savings when compared with other tax software packages, which charge well into the double digits for similar software and electronic filing.
The user-friendly format also garners positive reviews for FreeTaxUSA, and there seem to be quite a number of repeat customers. Review site The Wirecutter raised the provider's ranking this year, noting that using the software is straightforward and quick. It doesn't frequently prompt users to pay for additional features, as some competitors do. At SiteJabber, past and current users commend the simplicity and the ability to import data from previous returns prepared with FreeTaxUSA.
Moreover, the price is right, asserts NextAdvisor, an independent consumer information site, especially given the free software's applicability to various tax situations without an upcharge. On the other hand, this FreeTaxUSA review grouses about having to pay $5.95 for the Deluxe Edition in order to receive audit assistance. FreeTaxUSA representatives and the FreeTaxUSA Audit Center answer specific questions, help write responses to the IRS, explain options for settling debt, and generally guide users through the process.
The free software is pretty basic, and if you need a lot of guidance while filing, other tax prep software may be preferable. That's not to say there isn't any help along the way. The interface presents an interview-style experience, and email support is free; priority is given to paid users. Taxpayers report that customer service generally responds quickly, although not always with helpful answers. The package features a refund/owe meter, deduction finders, and an accuracy guarantee (as long as you input the data correctly). Another bonus for some tax filers: no charge to print the finished return, so you can have a paper copy for your records and/or mail it in instead of filing online. You also can choose to have the forms professionally printed and shipped to you ($5.95) or printed and bound ($12.95).
State e-filing with the Free Edition costs $12.95* and federal filing is, of course, free. The Free File edition of FreeTaxUSA imposes age, income, and residency requirements and doesn't allow users to import previous returns. If you use the Free File edition link but don't qualify, you'll be charged $9.95 to file your federal return.
FreeTaxUSA isn't the best option for simple returns, and the $5.95 upgrade for audit assistance is irksome. Still, the company had the lowest state e-filing fees at the time of writing (although no option to file for free in select states). The software is available at no cost no matter how complicated the return, while other preparers often charge more once business income or rental property is added in.
*Prices subject to change.