You’ve probably seen the people dressed in Lady Liberty costumes, standing on sidewalks and pointing you toward Liberty Tax. The company is known for its reasonably priced tax prep services and unique marketing.
However, like many brick-and-mortar tax preparation services, Liberty Tax recognizes that many people really just want to be able to prepare and file their taxes online — without the hassle of going into an office. So Liberty Tax also has its own online tax software.
Here’s what you need to know about filing your taxes online using Liberty Tax.
What Is Liberty Tax?
Liberty Tax opened its first offices in the United States in 1998 and since then has become a fixture at tax time. There are more than 3,000 branches in the U.S. and Canada.
While you might receive good, cost-efficient service by making an in-person appointment, the reality is that the DIY tax software offered by Liberty Tax might not be the best option. The interface is clunkier than many other online tax prep packages.
Most of the navigation is self-guided, so it’s not very intuitive for beginners. Seasoned filers shouldn’t have a problem, although they may prefer more appealing software.
However, if you’ve started your tax return online and grow frustrated with the experience, you can transfer your filing process to a Liberty Tax brick-and-mortar office for no extra fee.
Who Is Liberty Tax Good For?
For the most part, Liberty Tax’s online software is best for those who are fairly confident filers and who don’t need a lot of hand-holding. The service can be good for experienced filers who know what they are doing and just want a little help going through their taxes in an orderly fashion — and don’t mind that they aren’t getting a great bargain.
At the same time, since there aren’t a lot of options for very complicated returns, if you’re expecting a complex return, Liberty Tax probably isn’t a great fit for you, either.
In many cases, other tax filing software is likely to be a better choice. For complicated taxes, TurboTax and H&R Block have better support and options, as well as better customer service. Plus, with those companies, you can purchase audit defense products that aren’t available with Liberty Tax. For those who have simple taxes and want free options, just about every offering out there is a better choice — including Credit Karma, which is completely free at any level.
Unless you want to be able to go into an office if you get stuck, or for the double-check, there’s not much that Liberty Tax has to offer beyond what you can get for a better deal elsewhere.
Liberty Tax Features
|Small Business Features||Yes|
|Audit Assistance Included||Yes|
|Accuracy Guarantee||Penalty and interest reimbursement|
|Filing Support||Live Chat and Phone: M–F 9A–5P Eastern Time; Email|
|Promotion||Save 30% on Liberty Tax|
Liberty Tax Plans and Pricing
It’s important to note that there is no free online offering with Liberty Tax. So you’ll have to look elsewhere if you have a very simple situation and want to file your taxes for free.
If you’re willing to pay, Liberty offers the following tiers of service:
Federal Return: $34.95
|At the simplest level, you can still get help with maximizing your child and dependent care credits and filling out the Schedule B, if needed. You can’t get help itemizing with this version, however.|
Federal Return: $44.95
|If you’re itemizing but still don’t have a complex tax situation, this could be the right product to select. It’s possible to report self-employment income and some business expenses, but you won’t have access to Schedule C. Additionally, you can deal with HSA information using this version.|
Federal Return: $64.95
|If you’re looking for a more complete experience, especially if you’re an investor or you have rental property, the Deluxe version is likely a better choice. You get access to a wider variety of forms and schedules and can access the Schedule C with this version.|
Federal Return: $89.95
|Finally, if you have a small business, Liberty Tax recommends this version. You’ll be able to prepare K-1 forms with this product, as well as report a sale of your home and account for various types of income.|
There aren’t any really stand-out tax refund options with Liberty Tax online tax prep software. You’ll have access to the standards:
- Direct deposit
- Paper check
- U.S. savings bonds
- Application to next year’s tax return
You can also get an advance loan on your tax refund. Generally, these are expensive and come with fees, however, so don’t get too excited.
How to Sign Up
The initial form for signing up is a little longer than with other services. You provide your name, email address and phone number, as well as a password and security questions, all in one form. The password requirements are also more stringent for Liberty Tax than for other tax packages — instead of requiring eight characters, the minimum is 15.
Like other tax packages, you have to use a verification code to finish setup. Liberty Tax emails your code, and once you enter it, you can select the option that allows you to start a new return. You can import from a competitor by choosing who prepared your taxes, or just import from a PDF of your 1040.
Once that’s done, you can move forward and start verifying information and filling in the rest of the forms.
It’s a nice touch that you can import your 1040 from the previous year. Additionally, there’s a great feature that seamlessly hands your tax return off to a local Liberty Tax office if you decide that you need in-person help.
Liberty Tax doesn’t have its own mobile tax filing app. You can access the full website on your tablet or phone, but the mobile interface isn’t as easy to use on the small screen as it is on a laptop or desktop.
There are a number of helpful articles explaining tax concepts, and you can access FAQs from the online tax prep interface. For the most part, these are helpful, although they aren’t offered as part of the flow when you’re filling out the form.
For customer service or tech support, you can send emails and chats, as well as use social media channels to connect. You can also go into a local office to get support. There isn’t specific phone support, but there are enough other ways to get your questions answered that it probably isn’t needed.
Liberty Tax Pros & Cons
- Clean interface — Even though there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles, the interface is clean and fairly easy to use.
- Physical branches — If you decide you want face-to-face help with your taxes, you can go into a branch and see someone. The return you start online can be transferred to the brick-and-mortar location.
- Free double-check — The fact that you can take your return into a participating branch free of charge can provide you with peace of mind. Have your work double-checked before you file.
- Tools to help you organize your taxes — Whether you file online or in person, Liberty Tax offers some helpful tools that can get you organized before you start. The Tax Organizer is a helpful resource, as are the calculators.
- No free filing option — You can’t file your taxes for free, no matter your situation, with Liberty Tax. Most other online tax prep software providers have a free version.
- Not intuitive for beginners — Even though you’ll have a clutter-free experience, Liberty Tax doesn’t offer an intuitive experience for beginners. You have to do a lot of the work on your own.
- Knowledge base isn’t very extensive — While you can get answers to questions, the access you have isn’t great. And the integration into the forms as you go through isn’t there, so you sometimes have to search out answers on filling out a field separately.
- Limited customer service — Unlike other providers, Liberty Tax doesn’t have longer hours during tax season. Plus, you can’t screen share or get phone support.
- Not many options for complex filing — If you have an especially complicated tax situation, the online tax prep software likely won’t fit the bill.