There are many tax programs online to help the average American with the process. FreeTaxUSA is one of them. The program guides you through the steps of preparing a tax return. The company boasts its free e-filing services, but the fine print reveals that the service is free only for those exempt from e-filing fees through the federal government. Furthermore, other FreeTaxUSA problems have taxpayers thinking about using the company to file their taxes next year.
As previously states, the service is not free. This is a common misconception among users. Free e-filing is available through the federal government. FreeTaxUSA only offers its services free to these same people. The rest have to fork over a $9.99 fee. Additionally, to file all of your taxes (i.e., including state taxes), you must pay another $9.99 fee.
Unlike other online tax preparation services, FreeTaxUSA only has online customer care services. Users have expressed frustration with the inability to speak to a human being when there's a problem. The emailed limitation creates another problem in that the correspondence between FreeTaxUSA and you is via email. Any messages on a rejected return, for example, can potentially get lost in your spam folder or dropped by a digital snafu. Lose your password and there's no way to access your tax return.
The effects of FreeTaxUSA problems range from unauthorized charges on customer bank and credit accounts to an inability to make changes or even submit a return. These problems arise because of the electronic support system and the fees that aren’t so obvious upfront. Customers have complained that emails do not reach the customer support staff, or the staff sends solutions that are not feasible given the customer’s particular problem. One customer even complained that customer support emails consistently gave the same solution although they were repeatedly told that the solution did not work. Unauthorized charges are said to be just as difficult to reverse.
The problems experienced when using FreeTaxUSA mirror those of other cheap tax preparation services. Taxpayers, in an effort to get the most from their refund or reduce what will be an already expensive tax bill, look forward to these bargain preparation prices. (A tax accountant can range from just under $100 to more than $500 depending on the individual’s tax needs.) However, the rise of such services has increased the amount of problems that customers are experiencing.
To bypass the problems of FreeTaxUSA, go with a tax preparer that has a proven track record in tax preparation. Also, look for a certified public accountant. They are tested and certified by the state. The personal touch of a CPA is also helpful if you are audited. This is a service that CPAs include in the tax preparation pricing but cheap tax services such as FreeTaxUSA do not. Oftentimes, the added expense of a human touch can be well worth it.
Jonita Davis is freelance writer and marketing consultant. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "The LaPorte County Herald Argus" and Work.com. Davis also authored the book, "Michigan City Marinas," which covers the history of the Michigan City Port Authority. Davis holds a bachelor's degree in English from Purdue University.