When it’s tax season, there are three major rules that taxpayers follow: tax returns should be done accurately, cheaply, and as fast as possible – which are exactly what Liberty Tax has to offer through its pay-only tax software. But the program’s convenient nature isn’t enough nowadays as the market is full of similar solutions, some of which are certainly worthy rivals. So, there is one question left: how does Liberty Tax compare to FreeTaxUSA, which not only provides an outstanding tax prep program but is also available entirely free of charge?
|Free Versions||Free Versions||Free Versions|
|Filing for Deceased|
|Previous Years' Returns|
|Covered Tax Topics|
|Forms & Attachments|
|Email Confirmation||Filing only|
|Software & Platforms|
|State Tax Price|
|IRS Audit Assistance||$29.99||$6.99|
|ID Theft Protection|
|Available Payment Methods|
Although Liberty Tax still prefers providing on-premise services, its online software perfectly serves its intended purpose. In fact, regardless of its outdated appearance, Liberty Tax can still put together federal and state taxes in no time as it allows you to simply skip all the tax topics that are irrelevant. However, the process of filling the forms out can be sped up even more thanks to the fact that the program fully supports the importing of data from last year’s returns, documents created by competitors, and even W-2s created with ADP or Equifax.
The software is also pretty intelligent, too, since it always strives to earn users the highest possible refund by choosing only the best credits that users are eligible for. To make things even better, not only is the account itself completely mobile friendly but it can also house up to five tax returns at the same. If that’s not enough, Liberty Tax can create five additional returns for the previous two years, which can then be printed and mailed to the IRS.
Unfortunately, Liberty Tax doesn’t provide any of its services for free with the exception of federal tax returns. However, by paying $14.95 for the most basic product you will get access to the most important features without any restrictions – and even the top-tier version costs no more than $69.95. There is an option to purchase the company’s extra services in bulk – for reduced prices – or subscribe to Liberty Tax’s newsletter to receive temporary discounts and other promotional offers.
Unlike many free tax prep solutions – which are often rather limited – FreeTaxUSA is a pleasant surprise as it provides everything that top-tier tax software offers and actually a bit more. For instance, the program comes with easily understandable categories, all found within drop-down menus that smartly highlight which topics have already been visited. Despite requiring a lot of manual data entry from users, FreeTaxUSA easily compensates for this by offering various help tools such as a glossary about deductions, a guide that explains where forms should be entered, or a bookmarking tool for highlighting which sections need further attention.
However, the traditional features aren’t bad at all either, as the software conducts thorough interviews for both federal and state returns, not to mention performs a deep search to find all available refund maximization options. And to put the icing on the cake, not only is FreeTaxUSA’s account security better than you might expect – by providing two-factor authentication and activity history logs – but it’s also fully compatible with mobiles, too.
Of course, the features are one thing but arguably the main reason why FreeTaxUSA is such a great choice is that, as its name suggest, it’s completely free of charge with the exception of state returns, which are available for a very friendly price of $12.95 per state. However, there is also the option to upgrade to the default solution of Deluxe for just $6.99, which entitles you to priority support, unlimited free amendments to returns, and assistance in cases of an IRS audit.
When it comes to prices it’s pretty obvious who would be the winner here. But take this out of the equation and both tax companies can have their own merits. Liberty Tax, for instance, is the better option for those who want to deal with multiple tax returns as quickly as possible. And it achieves a fast and convenient tax return preparation with features like a thorough interview process, the option to skip certain topics entirely, or the ability to seamlessly import data. But FreeTaxUSA has nothing to be ashamed of either, because it’s just as thorough and intelligent as its pay-only counterparts. In fact, it’s safe to say that in aspects like its built-in help tools and the precise deduction maximizer it’s, in fact, even better. Put things next to the company’s cost-friendly prices and FreeTaxUSA indeed becomes an unbeatable tax program.
Best Tax Software of 2020