We’ve prepared this review of Liberty Tax Online to help you make that decision. Not all tax preparation software works for everyone. But each has its own advantages, that might make it the perfect software for you. In this regard, Liberty Tax Online has some definite advantages.
Pros and Cons of Liberty Tax Online
- Access to a tax professional with all plan
- Offers informational audit support with all plans
- Can meet with a tax professional in person if desired
- No free plan
- Basic plan covers very limited situations
How does Liberty Tax Online work?
Liberty Tax Online provides tax preparation for both personal and business returns. They even offer Hispanic services for those who speak Spanish.
In person and online services
One of the biggest advantages of Liberty Tax Online is the ability to either file your return online using Liberty Tax Online Preparation software, or taking advantage of the thousands of tax preparation locations the company has all over the country.
You can even purchase an online tax preparation plan, then switch over to an in-person preparation if you reach a point where you don’t feel you can go any further.
Liberty Tax Online has been around since 1997 and is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. They currently operate more than 4,000 offices throughout the United States and Canada. They prepare more than two million individual tax returns each year.
Like other tax preparation software programs, you can sign up for Liberty Tax Online for free, and pay only when you actually e-file your tax return. So if you start and then decide Liberty Tax isn’t for you, you owe nothing.
Liberty Tax Online also has its Send-a-Friend program. You can be paid up to $50 when you refer a new customer to the company.
Liberty Tax Online plans
Liberty Tax Online offers three different versions Basic, Deluxe, and Premium.
It’s important to note that Liberty Tax does not offer a free plan.
- Basic Package: $55.95 for federal and $36.95 for state
- Deluxe Package: $75.95 for federal and $36.95 for state
- Premium Package: $95.95 for federal and $36.95
All plans offer both the ability to talk to a tax expert and audit support.
Access to a tax expert means you can get your tax questions answered. You can even meet in person with a tax expert at your local Liberty Tax office.
For audit support – if you filed your taxes in person, someone from your local office will accompany you to the audit and offer assistance. If you filed online you will get correspondence assistance only – which means you can call and ask questions about any letters you received but they will not accompany you in person to the audit.
Liberty Tax Online Basic
Liberty Tax Online Basic is for very simple tax returns. If you have kids or want to itemize your deductions this is not the plan for you.
The price is $55.95 for federal and $36.95 for each state return.
Liberty Tax Online Basic covers the following situations:
- Standard deduction only
- Taxable income less than $100,000
- Interest under $1,500
- W-2 and unemployment income
- Taxable scholarships
- Earned Income Credit
Liberty Tax Online Deluxe
Liberty Tax Online Deluxe is for more complicated tax situations You can itemize deductions, claim dependents, investment gains or losses, etc.
It has a price of $75.95 for federal and $36.95 for each state return.
Liberty Tax Online Deluxe covers the following situations:
- Taxable income of less than $100,000
- Itemized deductions
- Retirement savings
- Investment gains or losses
- Child care and education tax breaks
Liberty Tax Online Premium
Liberty Tax Online Premium is the top of the line version and can accommodate the most complicated returns, especially those who have significant investment income.
The price is $95.95 for the federal return and $36.95 for each state.
Liberty Tax Online Premium covers the following situations:
- Everything covered in the Deluxe plan
- Taxable income over $100,000
- Self employment income
- Business deductions
- Income from rental real estate
- Capital Gains and Losses, Profit and Loss, S Corporation (Schedules D and E)
- Other income, credits, and deductions
Basically this plan cover all other tax situations that aren’t covered in the previous plans.
Liberty Tax Online features
Liberty Tax Online offers the following features, depending on which Liberty Tax Online version you purchase.
- Free Chat & Email Support. You can access customer support with the free chat tool.
- Free Tech Support. If you need help after hours you can send an email to the customer support team. They’ll answer your question within 72 hours, so it seems the time delay defeats the purpose of being able to make contact after hours. It might be easier and quicker to wait until the next business day, and use the free chat support.
- Prior Year Return Access. If you filed your tax return through Liberty Tax Online the previous year, it can be imported into this year with just a click.
- Competitor Import. Even If you didn’t do your taxes with Liberty Tax Online last year, you can still import the previous years returned from a competitor with just a click.
- W2 Download. You can import your W2 from many employers quickly.
- Credit Maximizer. Liberty Tax Online reviews your return for hundreds of credits and deductions, helping you to get the biggest refund possible.
- Tax Return Amendments. If you have to amend your tax return, you can file the amended return for free.
- 360 Degree Support. You can get help from a Liberty Tax professional with multi-channel access. You can use live chat, email, social media, or in-person at thousands of company locations.
- Audit Assistance. Liberty Tax professionals will advise you on any potential audits or inquiries coming from either the IRS or your state department of revenue.
- Seamless Online-to-Office Transition. If you reach a point where you don’t believe you can go any farther doing your taxes on your own, your information can be transferred to one of the more than 4,000 conveniently located Liberty Tax offices.
- Free Double-Check at Participating Liberty Tax Locations. A Liberty Tax expert will review your return free of charge. This can be done at a participating office location.
Liberty Tax Online tools
Liberty Tax Online offers several tools and calculators you can use to help you prepare your return. They’re available on the site for free, so you don’t even have to sign up for the service to take advantage of them. But by doing so, you’ll be better prepared when the preparation begins.
To help you prepare to file your tax return, and to be as accurate as possible, Liberty Tax Online offers this organizer to help you get your information together.
It will help you assemble all the information you need to accurately complete your tax return.
This calculator offers a dry run on your tax return. By inputting information on a few computer screens, you’ll get an estimate of your tax liability or refund.
It’ll give you an opportunity to know what to expect, even before you begin the formal preparation process.
Mileage Log & Calculator
If you have to track mileage for business purposes, you know what a tedious process it is. But with this tool, you can create a mileage log that will record your miles for business, charitable, medical, or moving purposes.
You can even include business mileage reimbursement from your employer. You can either download a blank, printable mileage log, or fill in your miles on the calculator directly.
W-4 Withholdings Calculator
If you’ve had to complete a W-4 form recently, then you know it’s not a simple process. There are calculations that must be made, but only after you’ve made a series of sub-calculations. But you can use this simple one-page calculator to do the number crunching for you. It will let you know exactly how much withholding you should claim.
Where’s My Refund
Liberty Tax Online will help you to track your refund by directing you to the IRS “Where’s my Refund?” page. There you can get information about your federal tax refund beginning 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your return.
You enter your Social Security number, filing status, and the exact dollar amount of your expected refund, and the tool will let you know when your refund has been sent or deposited by the IRS.
Who is Liberty Tax Online good for?
Those looking for an all-around good tax software
Liberty Tax Online can work well for taxpayers at any level of complication. It’s about middle of the road as far as pricing among tax preparation software packages.
But while it’s not the least expensive, it has an extensive level of tools and services that make it an excellent choice.
Those looking for a mix of in-person and online help
But perhaps what makes Liberty Tax Online stand out above other services is that you can sign up for the software, prepare your return, and if you decide you’re in over your head, or you’ve reached a complication you can’t seem to work out, you can take advantage of the extensive network of offices and tax preparers available through the Liberty Tax Service.
Who isn’t Liberty Tax Online good for?
Those looking for free filing
If you’re looking for a free filing option, it’s not available through Liberty Tax Online. And while the lower grade plans are relatively inexpensive, the Deluxe and Premium versions will work best for anyone who has any level of complication in their return.
Those susceptible to audits
If you’re at all concerned about the possibility of an audit, Liberty Tax Online may not be the best choice. Though they provide a considerable amount of audit advice, they don’t actually represent you before the IRS. In that regard, you might be better off with TurboTax, since they provide a more comprehensive audit package, including direct representation before the IRS.
But for the most part, the ability to shift to in-person assistance from the online software makes this program worth using for just about any taxpayer.
Liberty Tax Online Alternatives
H&R Block is probably the closest competitor as it also offers both online and in person tax prep services.
H&R Block pricing is as follows:
- Free: $0 federal and $0 for each state return – simple returns only
- Deluxe: $55 for federal and $37 for each state return – includes 1099 income (but not business expenses) and allows for itemizing deductions
- Premium: $75 for federal and $37 for each state return – includes schedule C-EZ for simple business income and expenses, and investment gains and losses
- Self-employed: $110 for federal and $37 for each state return – includes full business income and expenses and rental property income
It’s important to note that these prices do not include speaking to a tax expert for tax related questions. That is an additional $85.
All returns come with Audit Support, meaning they will answer questions if you get audited but will not represent you with the IRS. If you want representation with the IRS, you can add-on Worry-Free Audit Support for a fee.
Here’s our full H&R Block review.
TurboTax doesn’t offer any in person assistance but they do offer virtual tax help for an additional fee.
TurboTax has four plans and then three service levels of each plan – which means they have 12 price points. For simplicity I’ll list here the prices of each plan that offers tax assistance. That will be the most “apples to apples” comparison with Liberty Tax.
TurboTax’s plans that offer live tax help are as follows:
- Basic: $89 for both federal and state total – simple tax returns only, not all taxpayers will qualify.
- Deluxe: $129 for federal and $64 for each state – includes the ability to itemize and business income, but no business deductions.
- Premier: $179 for federal and $64 for each state – includes rental property income
- Self-employed: $209 for federal and $64 for each state return – includes full business deductions.
Keep in mind that the prices for all plans are lower if you don’t add on the ability to speak to a tax expert.
For a fee, you can add on full audit support and someone will represent you to the IRS in the event of an audit.
Here’s our full TurboTax review.
Liberty Tax Online also is consistently on the lower-cost end of its various software available. But it offers features that are not available with other lower-level competitor plans, including the ability to import prior year’s return from other tax software, computation of the earned income credit, and free access to tax assistance.
Liberty Tax Online is neither the cheapest nor the most comprehensive tax software available. But pound for pound, it seems to offer the best service level at the most reasonable price. It’s definitely worth considering if you’re on the hunt for a new tax software system.