FreeTaxUSA 2022 Release Review | Tom guide
Mobile application: no; Mobile web only
Online support: Email (free), live chat (deluxe)
Phone support: Weekdays and Saturdays from 9 am to 11 pm ET
Tax assistance: With Pro support, $49.95 free upgrade, including live chat, screen sharing, and phone support
FreeTaxUSA is upfront about the key feature: This tax filing service is free to electronically file federally, even for more complex taxpayers like those who are self-employed. FreeTaxUSA 2022 Edition does have some extra fees, including a government filing, but in terms of free tax service, FreeTaxUSA offers a lot more than most competitors. The cash-only app Taxes may be an alternative to FreeTaxUSA, and even then, FreeTaxUSA has the advantage of having some level of support via chat and phone—and can handle mutual status returns.
Utah-based TaxHawk operates FreeTaxUSA, as well as an identical-looking Web tax service under the TaxHawk moniker. While the basic software is identical, and they both share the same fee structures, a name like FreeTaxUSA clearly sums up the service’s aesthetic. Nothing fancy here. No questions on board, simple design, little help or guidance. Even investment support is minimal (you have to enter transaction information manually). But if you’re looking to save some money and don’t need a lot of hand-holding, FreeTaxUSA can get the job done. between the The best tax softwareFreeTaxUSA is the best option if you don’t want to pay for the service.
Editor’s note: This is a review of FreeTaxUSA 2022, which covers the 2022 tax filing year.
FreeTaxUSA 2022 Review: Cost
All three levels—Basic, Premium, and Self-Employed—are free to file for federal e-file. That’s it. What’s annoying is that the service lists the levels at all. FreeTaxUSA is clearly doing this as a marketing game to show how its free products stack up against competing service offerings.
Unlike the Tax Cash apps, FreeTaxUSA has escalation pricing that adds extra features and levels of support.
The $7.99 deluxe package gets you priority support to go to the head of the chat queue for information on how to use the service, and for basic tax information (but no tax assistance). Deluxe includes unlimited adjusted returns and audit assistance if you need it. Unlimited modified returns are an additional $14.99 otherwise, which makes the deluxe add-on a reasonable jump up, even with the $1 price increase. The new Pro support tier costs $49.99 to add direct tax assistance with screen sharing and all Deluxe features to the free version.
Other Uncommon Extras: $15.99 for a professionally binding tax return. You can also prepare prior year federal returns for free, or pay $17.99 for prior year state returns. If you want Audit Defense, that’s an additional $19.99 no matter what package you have; FreeTaxUSA is defended by an (unnamed) third party.
FreeTaxUSA Review 2022: State Filing
Like other services, FreeTaxUSA charges a fee to file a state return (only the Cash App is free to file a state return). Unlike competitors, FreeTaxUSA’s price is a bargain, just $14.99. FreeTaxUSA supports non-resident returns, so if you have a multi-state tax situation, you’re covered.
FreeTaxUSA Review 2022: Features
Unlike other tax software with announced levels of service, it doesn’t matter how much you spend – apart from the service and live help features. Your federal return is free at FreeTaxUSA.
You get a variety of forms as part of the service, supporting typical scenarios that families, individuals, students, investors, sole proprietors and small businesses will encounter. Deluxe customers who spend an additional $7.99 also receive unlimited returns adjustments.
FreeTaxUSA Review 2022: Help Available
FreeTaxUSA’s online assistance is very basic, almost rudimentary, in its design. For example, click Help Links to This Page or Discount Dictionary in the right-hand support pane, and you’ll get a popup of basic HTML-formatted hyperlink lists for support definitions. The content lacks the depth and original reporting of competing services, such as TurboTax. For example, the service has a few resources that explain the child tax credit.
Last year, live chat help was available to everyone. Now, it’s an upgrade that requires a Deluxe subscription. You can access the live chat from the support center just by clicking on the button that says live chat. The chat window is an overlay on the right, and you can’t go back to another screen while that overlay is active. In the standard model, the assist part is underused, with a lot of unused prime real estate. At the very least, the search tool at the top of the site searches for relevant help entries. The site contains several entries discussing cryptocurrency investments.
If you paid $7.99 for the Deluxe package, you’ll have to go to the head of the chat queue and get additional hours, Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET (the chat window conflicts with information elsewhere on the site, Saying chat is available from 8 am to 7 pm GMT Monday to Friday).
Plus, you have to be on the Deluxe tier to sign up for the $49.99 “Pro Support,” which gives access to chat, screen sharing, and phone calls with tax professionals (CPAs and EAs). That’s more than double the price of last year, but much less. The costs of adding direct assistance at competitors such as TurboTax. And with this level of service, you can offer unlimited amended returns, in case you need to correct something in the future. Last year, Pro support was new, with limited information and availability. Now, you can easily access the service via a link under Support options on each page.
If you paid $6.99 for the Deluxe package, you’ll have to go to the top of the chat queue and get additional hours, Monday through Friday, from 8am to 11pm ET. In addition, you’ll need to be on the Deluxe tier to sign up for this year’s new “Pro Support,” which offers access to chat, screen sharing, and phone calls with tax professionals (CPAs and EAs).
FreeTaxUSA’s website lacked details about this feature when we tested the service, but according to the support chat, only a “limited number” of customers will be able to upgrade. The service’s discounted price of $17.99 sounds good–maybe too good–if you can get it, but the lack of information makes it impossible to draw any conclusions. We found one mention of this in help, but didn’t see any mention of it other than being told about it by a chat rep.
FreeTaxUSA Review 2022: Ease of Use
Although FreeTaxUSA lists several products by name among its listings, each ultimately gives you just one button — Start Free Return — to get started, and they all lead to the same basic service. Account setup is mostly standard fare, where you enter your name, email address, username, and password, and then an account verification code is sent to your phone. However, the username part deviates from the norm, due to company guidelines that do not allow you to use your name or email as a username. The service is simple and straightforward, and is best for users who know what they’re doing. Although FreeTaxUSA is free on all levels, it lacks the quests of competitors like TurboTax and H&R Block.
Once we got into our account, it was clear that this was a no-frills service, from a visual perspective. The screen design is as old-school as it gets, with the biggest discrepancies being bold and text size, but a lot of… text. Even the color scheme is minimal, with a white center panel to work in, a slightly gray periphery, and the occasional graphics and colored button, menu tabs (so it’s obvious which section you’re in). The page has a responsive design, is more visually appealing on the mobile web, and is the only way to use the service on mobile since it lacks a dedicated app.
Along the top of the page are seven drop-down menus for navigating the different components of the return, but you can’t move between the different return areas until you fill in the screens in the specified order. This can be annoying if you’re trying to test the product before committing to your information, or trying to fill out what you have without all of your documents on hand.
As a new person, to start our 2022 tax return, we clicked the option to import 2021 tax returns. We liked that, upfront, FreeTaxUSA gave an option to file an extension as well. Many other services don’t list or offer extensions at all, or wait until the tax deadline approaches to allow you to file an extension.
FreeTaxUSA lets you import PDFs from TurboTax, H&R Block Online, H&R Block Tax Software (self-prepared) – worded, not what we see in H&R Block – and TaxAct. Anything else and you have to start from scratch.
We then entered personal information, including taxpayer details, registration status, and dependents. On this screen, FreeTaxUSA asked for information about child tax credit payments as of 2022, though there is minimal help information about what this all means.
As a returning user, a lot of the above information was already filled in, and all we had to do was go through the personal information to make sure the information already carried over from last year was still accurate.
On the Summary screen, you can add your IRS Identity Protection PIN, if you have one, and add an additional phone number to your account with FreeTaxUSA.
The following claims for income. everything must be entered manually; There is no way to take a picture and import the information into the FreeTaxUSA system. Same for interest income and 1099 income, which can get tiring quickly if you have a lot of accounts or clients.
Although there is no clear reference on the main income screen to cryptocurrency, FreeTaxUSA does have some help topics available, and the service reminds you after the main income entry screen to include cryptocurrency on your tax return. But that is the extent of coding guidelines.
Elsewhere on the site, FreeTaxUSA instructs you to use a crypto tax service to set up a file Figure 8949, which you can then enter as a summary of the total long-term sales and short-term sales on the service, and then submit your form separately to the IRS. Or you can enter each row of cryptocurrency sales as a separate sale.
After income, this year you’ll get a great display for $49.99 for the Pro service. A simple click gets you moving if you’re not interested.
For all entries, you can download a PDF preview of the actual form, but this preview is watermarked and cannot be used for the IRS. All pages also have three navigation items in the upper right corner: bookmark, history, and topic list, each of which is a popup on the page. As with everything about FreeTaxUSA’s interface, the presentation is very OG web design, with basic HTML links and a timeless visual presentation. The Topics menu is the best way to navigate what you’ve already done, though the pull-down menus show surprising details, too.
The cut-outs screensaver is straightforward, going through several common and not-so-common scenarios. Then you access various forms and topics, for additional information, and finally a summary to review everything before moving on to your state taxes.
FreeTaxUSA has some simplicity about it, but it’s so streamlined that it’s annoying. Jumping around gets frustrating, explanations lack detail and competitors’ tips. If you need help with something in the free version, you must first go to the support screen to get the chat overlay; And you can’t go back to where you were having problems while chatting.
FreeTaxUSA Review 2022: The Verdict
FreeTaxUSA 2022 version is free and fairly comprehensive in what it covers. The streamlined interface lacks the visual nuances and details of competing products, including the free cash app taxes. And it lacks any image imports, again something the Cash App Taxes have.
However, FreeTaxUSA might be worth a look if you know you don’t need to do much with your taxes, and don’t mind the stripped-down interface. Intuit’s TurboTax Deluxe 2022 costs more, but we like it for its friendlier interface, more powerful data import tools, and straightforward handling of cryptocurrency transactions and investing.