Pros: Easy to understand forms, will kick back mistakes
Cons: Will not help you with deductions you are not certain about.
We filed our taxes last year using Taxslayer.com and I purposely waited 12 months, just in case we would get a nasty letter from the IRS telling us we did it all wrong and we owed them a bundle.
To date we have not received a letter from the IRS, so I assume everything went well. We are now in the process of filing our taxes, again using Taxslayer.com.
I came across this website totally by accident. I was actually looking for software that would make filing taxes not only easy, but also be reasonable in price. Places like HR Block simply didn't appeal to us. They charge high fees and the refund they give you is actually a loan and the interest (over 400 %) would be killing us, should we actually have to pay it back.
We also did not see the need for a regular Tax Accountant. With no deductions other than the regular ones (children etc.) we did not want to spend the time waiting for an appointment and pay fees in excess of $50.00.
Since I am the money manager in our household, I decided to give Taxslayer.com a try. The website is easy to navigate and I found all their questions easy to answer. It took me less than thirty minutes to enter all the information they require to prepare both our state and federal returns. If you have a lot of deductions, this time frame might be too short for you, but as I said, we don't have many.
Taxslayer offers two methods of filing taxes. If you just use their software and file electronically, you have to submit payment of $9.95 before the filing can be submitted. Taxslayer does not offer a guarantee that your refund is correct, or that the IRS will accept it. They do however guarantee that there are no errors with the amounts you put in. I accidentally transposed a number and it was kicked back to me right away (before I exited the page). Correction was not a problem. You are able to edit each page as you fill it out and also at the end, before your return is submitted.
I understand that they don't guarantee your refund, because if you entered incorrect information, the IRS might not accept your return. And that wouldn't be Taxslayers fault.
If you do not want to e-file using Taxslayer, you can just print out your return and it will cost you nothing.
I think that's great for people that just want to see how much they can get back or if you want to compare a return using standard deductions vs. a return with personal deductions.
Taxslayer gave me an average of two weeks for our tax return to hit the bank. As far as I know the only method of getting your return is by direct deposit, but I might be mistaken, because that's the only option I looked for. It does not give you the option to have the money put into separate accounts (i.e. state refund in one and federal into another, but I can live with that)
We filed our returns on Wednesday night. Imagine my surprise when my State return was deposited in the bank on the following Monday, less than five working days.
A week later I received my federal return.
Previously I had used a variety of taxpreparers and getting my refunds had taken from two to four weeks, even with e-filing and using direct deposit. So I was really amazed at the speed.
I do our taxes usually in February or early March at the latest. I assume that, if you don't file much before April 15th, it will take longer for your refunds to be deposited in your account. I also assume that this is more the IRS' fault then Taxslayers.
What I did not find was some kind of guarantee that Taxslayer would pick up the tab if they screwed up my return or if my account number and routing number (which I had to give for the direct deposit) would become public knowledge. I really don't know what recourse anyone would have should that happen.
All sites that require personal information such as social security numbers and banking information are SSL (Secure Socket Layer) sites and technically your information should be protected.
I am not a tax whiz, but even for me filling out the forms was very easy. However, taxslayer does not offer many taxtips. So if you have a lot of deductions or have never filed your taxes yourself, you might either become more knowledgeable on what is deductible or have someone prepare the return for you (at least for the first few times).
I eventually had an accountant look over the forms I printed out and he found them to be in order and correct. He also did not find any deductions that I had not already taken. That saved me from a few sleepless nights.
Taxslayer was also nice enough to not only send us a reminder for this year via e-mail, but also send us a postcard for the same purpose. I will use this program for as long as it's available and recommend it to a few more of my friends.