Last Updated: July 3, 2021
- Federal tax returns: Free
- State tax returns: Paid
- Data backup and import: Yes
- Maximum refund guarantee: Yes
- Accuracy guarantee: Yes
- Unlimited amendments: Available
- Customer support: Good
- Audit assists: Available
Easy tax e-filing
- Free federal tax return e-filing
- Cheap state returns e-filing
- Free backup and prior year import
- Strong security
- Some tax situations aren’t covered
- Limited audit assistance
- No dedicated apps
- Basic interface
What is FreeTaxUSA?
FreeTaxUSA is an IRS-approved online tax service that helps e-file US federal and state tax returns. Owned by TaxHawk Inc. in Utah, FreeTaxUSA was founded in 2001 by a CPA and is an original member of the IRS Free File Alliance. Over the years, the service has assisted over 40 million customers in filing their tax returns.
In this FreeTaxUSA review, we look at its different features to identify the pros and cons. Let’s take a look.
These are FreeTaxUSA’s key features that help you prepare and e-file your tax returns efficiently and securely.
Wide Tax Form Support
One of the highlights of the FreeTaxUSA tool is that it offers support for most tax situations. While similar services make you buy a premium subscription to deal with self-employment income and capital gain distributions, FreeTaxUSA’s free plan offers support on these.
There is a small set of items not covered by FreeTaxUSA, including foreign employment income (Form 2555) and non-resident alien returns (Form 1040NR).
Cheap State Returns
FreeTaxUSA provides support for federal US taxes for free. However, as is the case with most other tax preparation services, you have to pay a fee for e-filing state tax returns. The price is only $14.99 per state, much lower than what most competing services charge.
Given that an online income tax preparation service is handling your critical financial data, it needs to ensure privacy and security. Our FreeTaxUSA review has found the service to be well-equipped in this department, thanks to many security features that meet or exceed Internal Revenue Service requirements.
FreeTaxUSA is safe to use as it encrypts all your data at rest and in transit. Because the company owns its physical servers, they have full control over the safety of your data. These servers are regularly monitored and maintained under strict access control.
FreeTaxUSA is trustworthy. Its services are certified by multiple agencies, including DigiCert SSL/TSL certificates for encrypted data transmission, SecurityMetrics® Site Certification for PCI data security requirements, and TRUSTe compliance certificate for adherence to privacy best practices. Finally, the Better Business Bureau has rated FreeTaxUSA with an A+.
Maximum Refund Guarantee
To assure you that you are getting the best tax preparation support, the FreeTaxUSA refund calculator backs itself up with the maximum refund guarantee. Thus, if you get a high refund or a lower tax liability by using a different tax filing method, FreeTaxUSA will refund any fees you’ve been charged and will give you a coupon for a free amended tax return.
You can be sure that your money is appropriately handled with a 100% accuracy guarantee. The FreeTaxUSA tax return system employs multiple levels of checking to ensure that there are no errors that may lead to penalties.
If you end up having to pay a penalty or interest because of a calculation error after using FreeTaxUSA’s service, the company will reimburse this amount. This way, you don’t have to double-check the tax formulas and calculations in the FreeTaxUSA electronic filing system.
Free Backup and Prior Year Import
Another handy feature, much appreciated in FreeTaxUSA reviews, is the online backup of your completed tax returns.
While this maintains a safe record of your returns, it also automatically carries over your previous years’ information to use the service over consecutive years. Even if you did not use FreeTaxUSA in the past, the free import feature could add your tax information.
This feature provides you access to specialists who can answer your queries regarding IRS audits. Compared to more expensive services, the FreeTaxUSA Audit Assist feature is quite limited.
It doesn’t cover state tax returns, nor does it assign a representative who will directly deal with the Internal Revenue Service. Its experts will only guide you through the process and help you prepare responses for the IRS. Note that you can only get Audit Assist with the paid version of the FreeTaxUSA tool.
This feature offers step-by-step and easy-to-understand instructions on making corrections and allows the filing of unlimited amended tax returns.
Even if you did not use the FreeTaxUSA tax return system initially, you’re able to use this feature. When using the Free version, you can correct a mistake in your tax return by paying $14.99.
Interface and Ease of Use
The FreeTaxUSA interface is quite basic and easy to figure out. However, we have some concerns regarding the simplicity that many other FreeTaxUSA reviews don’t point out. The lack of additional guidance could be an issue if you are not used to tax-related paperwork.
The tabbed interface takes you through different sections and doesn’t allow you to jump between orders when filling up various forms. But you can always come back to make changes.
We liked the primer screen shown before filling in any information, summarizing the features’ functions to follow. The FreeTaxUSA refund calculator keeps tracking your estimated refund as you add more data.
Unlike some more expensive tax filing programs, there’s no separate FreeTaxUSA app. While the website is responsive for smartphones and tablets, it does feel a little constrained on small screens.
On the whole, our FreeTaxUSA review has found its interface to be suitably functional and easy to use without unnecessary frills.
The customer support doesn’t live up to the more expensive competition but works well.
While there is no phone support, you can contact the team through email. If you are a paying customer, you can sign in and use the online form to submit any issue. These get resolved faster than email queries.
The live chat option is available for Deluxe customers. The website also has an efficient searchable Q&A section. Most common issues can be resolved quickly through the answers given here.
We tested the email option to submit a couple of queries and received helpful replies within a few hours. The response time is reasonable when one is not a paying customer. Both answers also had links to the relevant sections on the website Q&A. Based on our experience and other FreeTaxUSA user reviews, we rate the service’s customer support satisfactory.
FreeTaxUSA payment options are straightforward, including two plans:
- Free Edition: Includes federal tax return preparation and e-filing, complex tax filing, printing, backup, and import.
- Deluxe Edition ($6.99): Includes everything in the Free edition, along with live chat support, unlimited amendments, and audit assistance.
For both editions, state tax returns cost $14.99 per state. Professionally printed tax returns ($6.99) and printed and bound tax returns ($12.99) are two extra services available at additional cost. When using the Free edition, amendments cost $14.99.
FreeTaxUSA Review – Verdict
According to our FreeTaxUSA review, the service includes many free essential features, strong data security, and valid guarantees. The pricing plans are simple, and even the additional costs are not too expensive. On the negative side, there are a few tax situations that the service doesn’t cover.
Plus, the FreeTaxUSA Audit Assist is not as robust as offered by many competitors. The interface is a bit too basic. The absence of a dedicated FreeTaxUSA app is undoubtedly a drawback but not a significant concern, as the primary functions are handled reasonably well by the mobile-responsive website.
Most FreeTaxUSA reviews have praised its genuinely free offering, which helps deal with the most common and complex federal tax situations. After a thorough investigation of its features, we confirm that if you are looking for an uncomplicated service that gets the job done efficiently and cheaply, this is an excellent option.
Yes, FreeTaxUSA is IRS-approved with certifications from TRUSTe, DigiCert, and SecurityMetrics® and an A+ rating from Better Business Bureau. You can find more information about its security features in our FreeTaxUSA review.
Any US citizen or resident alien needing to file Form 1040 can use FreeTaxUSA.
Most customers get their federal refund in between 7-14 days with e-filing and direct deposit. But it depends on the time taken by the IRS system to process the refund.
All federal tax returns can be filed for free, except for a few tax situations not covered by FreeTaxUSA. State tax returns require a payment of $14.99 per state.