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If you prefer to manage your own tax return rather than hire someone, an online tax prep service could be just the ticket to filing taxes this year. TurboTax® and TaxSlayer® offer multiple preparation options, from simple returns to complex tax scenarios.

This review explores each tax prep service's products, pricing, features, refund options, and customer service. Keep reading as we compare TurboTax and TaxSlayer side by side to see which is best for your tax needs.

Overview: What Is TaxSlayer?


Regardless of which tier you opt for, TaxSlayer offers users an incredible amount of value for a relatively affordable price. Featuring a free version meant for simple tax situations, as well as a Classic tier that includes access to additional deductions, credits and forms and a Premium tier that comes with robust customer support functionality, you'll likely be able to find a service offered by TaxSlayer that satisfies your needs. Plus, active military members can file their federal returns for free with TaxSlayer.


TaxSlayer offers four tiers of service, ranging from a free version that’s best for simple tax situations to a premium tier that includes live chat support, as well as priority phone and email support. While not everyone qualifies for TaxSlayer’s free edition – free users must earn less than $100,000 in taxable income and cannot claim dependents, among other requirements – pricing on all of TaxSlayer’s tiers compares favorably to its top competitors’ prices.


  • Premium tiers are relatively affordable compared to competing products
  • Free version available
  • Free federal returns for active-duty military members


  • Some tax credit forms not available in free version
  • Free version not available to high-income users

TaxSlayer has been helping individuals file their taxes for over 50 years.

TaxSlayer offers tiered tax preparation packages online, all including free, unlimited phone and email support. Add-on support packages and other tax preparation services are available with some paid tiers.

TaxSlayer is an online tax preparation service. The Augusta, Georgia, company offers cloud-based DIY tax preparation help to file federal and state tax returns electronically. Every customer receives unlimited support via email or phone. Other services, like audit help and tax pro help, are available via the Premium tier.

Overview: What Is TurboTax?


TurboTax shines when it comes to customers who have more complex tax returns. The Deluxe Edition helps maximize tax deductions and credits, while the Premier Edition covers investments – including cryptocurrency and and stock activity – and rental properties. Plus, you can easily import your investment income automatically with TurboTax.


Regardless of how complex your tax return is, you’ll likely be able to find a TurboTax service that meets your needs. TurboTax offers five different pricing tiers, including a Free Edition (for simple returns only, not all taxpayers qualify), as well as multiple premium tiers geared towards more complicated returns. There’s even a full-service edition for anyone who’s worried about filling out their tax return incorrectly.


  • A product for every tax situation, both simple and more complex
  • The Premier Edition includes investments and rental properties
  • A comprehensive review of your return, ensuring nothing gets missed


  • Some products are more expensive than industry average

TurboTax is an online tax preparation software that offers a variety of tax return and refund options to fit most taxpayers' needs.

A division of software company Intuit, TurboTax comes in multiple versions to cover various tax scenarios, including simple tax returns, more complex returns, and self-employed returns. TurboTax's features include mobile access, live customer support and a library of tax tools.

TurboTax allows you to prepare and file federal and state tax returns regardless of your tax situation. Several versions of the popular software are available at various price points, as well as a free version (for simple tax returns only, not all taxpayers qualify).

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TurboTax vs. TaxSlayer: Products

Winner: Tie

TurboTax offers four versions of its online tax software. The free version is for simple tax returns only, and not all taxpayers qualify for it. Among other limitations, this version doesn't allow you to report unemployment income or itemize deductions. TurboTax also offers free state and federal tax filing for active military and reservists.

TurboTax Breakdown


Free Edition

For simple tax returns only, not all taxpayers qualify. Covers W-2 income, Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC), and child tax credits.




Includes everything in the free plan plus a search for 350+ tax deductions and credits.




In addition to features from basic plans, includes investments, rental property income, and deductions.




Specifically geared toward freelancers, independent contractors, and small business owners.



If you'd like to receive expert advice on your return – or even have an expert do your taxes for you in-full – TurboTax Live is an add-on live support option available at an additional cost. Costs range from $219-$409 based on the package and live assistance option (Assisted or Full Service) chosen.

Like TurboTax, TaxSlayer carries four software packages, including a free version for basic 1040 tax returns. TaxSlayer offers free federal returns for active military members but charges a fee for state returns for the military.

TaxSlayer Breakdown


Simply Free

Works for basic 1040 returns. To use this option, you must earn less than $100,000 in taxable income annually from wages, salaries, tips, taxable interest of $1,500 or less, and/or unemployment compensation. You also cannot claim dependents, and must claim the standard deduction.





Includes all forms, deductions and credits.





Includes Ask a Tax Pro and live chat, and skip-the-line privileges for phone and email support.





Covers personal and business income and expenses, 1099, and Schedule C.




Right now, you can get the sale prices listed in the table above using coupon code SLICK25 at TaxSlayer.

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TurboTax vs. TaxSlayer: Features

Winner: TurboTax

TurboTax offers most of the tools and features you need to do your own taxes, including:

  • Mobile App: The TurboTax mobile app is available for iOS and Android. 
  • Audit Support: All TurboTax returns come with audit support from trained tax professionals. 
  • Self-Employed Tax Center: TurboTax features a special library of articles for self-employed individuals.
  • Unemployment Center: There's a special support section for unemployment tax help. 
  • Tools: TurboTax provides calculators, help videos, checklists, and expense estimators to help you file your taxes.

TaxSlayer comes with access to several features and tools to help you prepare and file federal and state income taxes, including:

  • Mobile App: The TaxSlayer mobile app allows you to file taxes from nearly anywhere. The app is available for iOS and Android. 
  • Audit Assistance: Audit support is only available to customers who purchase the Premium package. The service provides audit support for up to three years after you file your tax return. 
  • Tools: TaxSlayer customers can access tools like help articles, a support database, a tax refund tracker, and refund calculators.

TurboTax vs. TaxSlayer: Guarantees

Winner: TurboTax

Along with a comprehensive review of your return before it's filed, TurboTax backs its product offering with five guarantees:

  • Maximum Refund Guarantee: TurboTax will find every tax deduction and credit you qualify for on your tax return.
  • 100% Accurate Calculations Guarantee: TurboTax will pay any IRS penalties for incorrect calculations on returns. 
  • Audit Support Guarantee: Free guidance from a tax professional if you are audited.
  • Expert Approved Guarantee: TurboTax will pay any IRS penalties due to advice received from a TurboTax professional. 
  • Full-Service Guarantee: Tax experts will only sign off on your return after they know it's 100% accurate and you're getting the best outcome possible.

TaxSlayer also stands by its products, offering two specific service guarantees to its customers:

  • Maximum Refund Guarantee: TaxSlayer will refund your software purchase if you receive a larger federal refund or pay less tax using a competitor's software. 
  • 100% Accuracy Guarantee: TaxSlayer guarantees its software will calculate with 100% accuracy and will reimburse you for any federal or state penalties incurred and interest charges due to calculation mistakes on its part.

TurboTax vs. TaxSlayer: Refund Options

Winner: TurboTax

TurboTax offers a few different refund options for tax returns. Customers can receive their refund in four ways:

  • Direct deposit to a linked bank account
  • Deposit to a Credit Karma Money™ Spend account 
  • Loaded onto an existing prepaid card 
  • Paper check by mail from the IRS

TurboTax also allows customers to check the status of their e-file returns and refund online.

TaxSlayer gives its customers three options for receiving tax refunds:

  • Direct deposit to a linked bank account
  • A TaxSlayer Visa® debit card
  • Paper check by mail from the IRS

You can also choose to have your software fees deducted from your tax return. You must file electronically and be eligible for a tax return to use this service.

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TurboTax vs. TaxSlayer: Customer Support

Winner: TurboTax

TurboTax offers premium live support through TurboTax Live for an extra fee. The software company also provides other ways to receive support while preparing and filing your taxes. Basic online support is available through a TurboTax specialist. The company also provides articles, a knowledge base, and phone support to answer tax and software questions.

TaxSlayer provides unlimited email and phone support with all of its tax preparation packages. Premium and Self-Employed customers receive priority support with less waiting, as well as one-on-one assistance with tax issues. As mentioned, TaxSlayer also provides customers with ample support through articles, an online knowledge base, calculators, and other tools.

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Bottom Line: Is TurboTax or TaxSlayer Better for Your Online Tax Return?

TurboTax and TaxSlayer offer similar products, including premium and self-employed tax filing.

TaxSlayer is a better option if you are looking to save money on tax preparation, have a simple 1040 tax return, or are adept at doing your own taxes. The software may not be as intuitive to use as other programs, so it may not be the best option for beginning tax DIYers. The Premium version gives you access to more support but may not provide enough help for more complex tax situations.

TurboTax is one of the most popular online tax software programs on the market each year. Its free version doesn't necessarily include everything you might need, and is only available for simple tax filers (not all tax payers qualify), but upgraded versions cover a gamut of tax scenarios and provide basic live support to get your taxes filed quickly and accurately.


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      Kevin Payne

      Kevin Payne is a personal finance, credit card, and travel writer. He is the family travel and budget expert behind Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids. His work has appeared on several websites, including FinanceBuzz, Credit Karma, Millennial Money, Club Thrifty, Student Loan Planner and Slickdeals.