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You’ve probably seen the people dressed in Lady Liberty costumes, standing on sidewalks and pointing you toward Liberty Tax. The company has office locations across the country and is perhaps best known for its in-person tax prep services.
However, like many brick-and-mortar providers, 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 for those who don’t like the idea of visiting an office to hand their taxes off to a pro, there are online plans and remote filing options too.
Here’s what you need to know about filing your taxes 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 filing, if you need some support but don’t want a professional to complete your returns for you, Liberty Tax isn’t right for you.
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 Cash App Taxes, 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 Online Features
For simple tax returns only
|Small Business Features|
|Audit Assistance Included|
|Accuracy Guarantee||Penalty and interest reimbursement|
|Filing Support||Live Chat and Phone: M–F 9A–5P Eastern Time; Email|
Liberty Tax Plans and Pricing
Liberty offers the following tiers of service for online plans: Basic, Deluxe, and Premium. All of these are covered by a Maximum Refund Guarantee and Accuracy Guarantee. If you prepare your taxes with Liberty Tax and then file with another provider, Liberty Tax will refund you for preparation fees if you receive a bigger refund from the competitor. And if Liberty Tax’s services cause you to make an error, you’ll be reimbursed for any associated penalty and initial interest charges you may be responsible for.
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.
Federal return: $45.95
State return: $36.95
If you’re claiming the standard deduction and you have a W2, the Basic Liberty Tax online plan might be right for you. This plan allows you to report taxable employment income of less than $100,000 or unemployment income and supports Schedules A and B. It’s, you guessed it, basic.
This plan is ideal for students, individual filers, and married couples without kids.
Federal return: $65.95
State return: $36.95
If your tax situation is more complex or you’re an investor, you may need a step above Basic. The Deluxe online plan with Liberty Tax is designed for moderately-complicated returns that need to include things like itemized deductions and investment income. This plan also gives you access to more forms including Form 1040 Schedule C for business profit or losses. And if you own a home, the Deluxe version is the way to go so you can deduct mortgage interest.
This plan is ideal for families, investors, and homeowners.
Federal return: $85.95
State return: $36.95
The Premium online plan is recommended for people with freelance, contract, or other types of self-employment income as well as those who earn income from rental properties. With this plan, you can prepare Schedule K-1 forms and claim deductions for a variety of business expenses. This plan also allows for taxable incomes over $100,000 while the other two do not.
The Premium online plan is ideal for self-employed filers and side hustlers, rental property owners, and high-income earners.
If you don’t want to file your taxes yourself, you can enlist the help of a Liberty Tax expert by either visiting a Liberty Tax office location near you or uploading your tax documents to allow a professional to file for you remotely. From there, all you do is answer questions as needed.
Liberty Tax states its offices and tax software will provide the most accurate return and the largest possible refund you are entitled to receive. This service is backed by an Accuracy Guarantee that ensures if there is an error in the preparation of your return that results in penalties or interest, then you will be reimbursed for the associated penalty and any initial interest.
Liberty Tax also offers Audit Assistance to people who have their taxes prepared by a pro in a local office. If you receive an IRS audit, an expert will come with you to the audit to help explain the details of your return. This service, including any potential charges, may vary depending on your situation and location – and is not readily advertised by the company – but may cost more than online filing plans.
How To Choose a Product
If you’re planning to go with Liberty Tax this tax season, decide first whether you want to file for yourself or pay someone to do it for you. Unlike other platforms such as TurboTax, you won’t have an in-between option that combines DIY filing with professional help for more support at a better value.
Pick an online plan based on your tax situation. If your taxes are simple and you’ll be using Form 1040, Basic will cut it and save you money. If you invest and/or own a home, choose Deluxe. And if you have freelance and/or rental property income, choose Premium.
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
- Netspend® Liberty Tax® Prepaid Mastercard®
- Refund Transfer via check, direct deposits, or Netspend® Liberty Tax® Prepaid Mastercard®
You can also get an advance loan on your tax refund, but we don’t recommend these due to their very high APRs and fees.
How To Sign Up
The initial form for signing up with Liberty Tax 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.
Like other tax packages, you have to use a verification code to finish the 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 upload files from your computer.
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.
The Liberty Tax mobile app is extremely simple compared to the competition. You can use it to upload your tax documents, get help from experts, and check your return status, but there’s not much you can do from your phone beyond that.
This app doesn’t have as many calculators, resources, and discovery questions to uncover tax advantages as other providers, but it has functionality going for it. It’ll get the job done if you’re set on using your phone rather than the online platform.
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 an email or chat with a representative through the webiste. You can also go into a local office to get support. There is also a phone line for general questions, and the number for that is 800-790-3863.
Pros & Cons
- Optional in-person filing. Those who appreciate hands-on help can make an appointment with a Liberty Tax pro to get their return filed.
- Guarantees. Accuracy Guarantee applies whether you’re filing yourself or having a professional do it for you.
- Higher prices. Liberty Tax online tax filing plans cost more, in some cases significantly, than many other providers.
- No free version. Many DIY tax software platforms offer a free version for those with the simplest returns.
- No software downloads. Only online plans and full preparation services are available with Liberty Tax.
- Lack of transparency. Liberty Tax does not clearly advertise pricing for its full preparation services, virtual or in-person.
- Lack of features. Compared to more feature-rich providers like H&R Block and TurboTax, Liberty Tax gives users little in the way of tools and resources.