Liberty Tax (opens in new tab) has been helping people with their tax affairs since 1997. While this IRS e-filing authorized provider does offer an online cloud-based software system its real strength is backing that up with help from real advisors. This is despite the coronavirus pandemic.
If you struggle with your tax filing or don't feel confident with the figures once you’ve finished then Liberty Tax could be the solution, allowing you to be sure that everything is as it should be prior to filing.
Alongside its physical locations across the US it has produced online tax software (opens in new tab) that’s reasonably easy to use and offers all of the features, functions and form capabilities for people with all sorts of tax filing requirements. Similar products such as TaxAct, TaxSlayer, Jackson Hewitt Online, Credit Karma Tax and FreeTaxUSA also compete for your attention in this packed marketplace.
- Want to try Liberty Tax? Check out the website here (opens in new tab)
In terms of products Liberty Tax currently has three variations on the theme. Its Basic package (opens in new tab) starts things off at $44.95 (State Returns available for $39.95) and is ideally suited for simple tax situations. If you’re single or married with no dependents and have relatively little paperwork to pick through then this is a good starting point.
Next up, Liberty Tax has Deluxe (opens in new tab), its $64.95 package (State Returns available for $34.95) aimed at those of us with slightly more complicated lives that can make filing time more problematical. It’ll help you get through considerations such as kids, investments, childcare costs, college fees and also covers home ownership when it comes to return time.
Top of the tree is Premium (opens in new tab) ($89.95 - State Returns available for $34.95), which is best for the self-employed, including freelancers and contractors, while it's also useful for tackling less common forms of income.
When it comes to features then Liberty Tax has tailored its three packages to suit different needs and requirements. Basic, for example, supports Forms 1040, 8853 and Schedule A and B. Deluxe supports Forms 1040, 4562, 8829, 4136, 8839, 8853 and Schedule A, B, C. Premium offers support for Forms 1040, 4562, 8829, 4136, 4684, 4835, 8839, 8853 plus Schedules A, B, C, E, F, K-1.
You can work your way around the interface via a menu system that sits to the left-hand side of your web browser. This allows you to see the various sections that include My Return, Name & Address, Federal Taxes, State Taxes and File. From here it’s possible to work down through the various sub-sections. As an online experience the design is workmanlike, but is aimed squarely at getting the job done.
Liberty Tax has been carefully designed to work without too much in the way of hassle, with a series of web pages that offer up simple form-filling layouts. Design-wise it has been tweaked compared to earlier editions, and the new structure has been revised in order to make your tax filing journey a little less complicated.
Work through the sections in series, as is intended, and you should find that Liberty Tax won't deliver any surprises. The main thing is to save your work as you go, as jumping around from section to section without doing this might result in data you’ve entered being lost. It’s all pretty basic, just as long as you use a little bit of common sense.
Ease of use
As is the case with rivals in this marketplace, Liberty Tax bills itself as a simple tax filing solution, with a website that hopes to remove much of the stress involved with the annual task.
Following your initial sign-up, which will included the creation of a username and password combination, the theme is much the same too, with a series of web pages that help you pick through the various sections of your tax documentation, based on the package you’ve picked to suit your background.
Depending on your personal tax situation this will include more obvious areas such as W-2, mortgage and childcare points, all of which forms the basis of your eventual filing documents. It’s quite a dry and formal approach but that’s to be expected given the subject matter. The review process, where you get the chance to pick over what you’ve entered, is subsequently able to highlight any flaws in your figures.
There are several help and support options within Liberty Tax that should get to the bottom of most queries. This includes an ever-present Help menu tab at the top of every window.
There is also the ability to chat with a representative, or email a question to the support team, while the FAQs aspect of the service can often unearth answers to more everyday quandaries.
Of course, Liberty Tax sells itself as being there with human support when you need it, and with over 3,000 physical outlets across the US it should be pretty easy to get the back-up of a chat with a tax pro if you’re not happy with what you’ve entered into the site. Better still, it'll be an integral part of your chosen package.
Liberty Tax (opens in new tab) has made improvements to its online tax filing solution and this is certainly a better service than it used to be. Anyone looking for a reasonably straightforward tax filing assistant should find this one useful, even though it lacks some of the pizazz of rivals found in our guides.
A fairly humdrum site design isn't going to fire you with enthusiasm, though Liberty Tax is certainly a practical solution, while the lack of a dedicated app might be a turn-off for some. You can, however, still use Liberty Tax on a mobile device using the same site within the confines of a smaller screen.
The help aspect of Liberty Tax, at least in its online incarnation, could perhaps be improved too. The upside to all this though is that you can elect to have help from a real tax professional at the end of it, which is basically the whole point of services like this.
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