If your tax situation isn’t complicated or you’re not familiar with tax filing, Credit Karma Tax might be an ideal solution for you. It is one of the few tax filing software services that offers absolutely free tax filing for both state and federal taxes.
It is not one of those software services that promise free filing but ask for your credit card details when you’re signing up. Let’s see what Credit Karma Tax has to offer, so you can decide if it’s right for you.
How Credit Karma Tax Works
To begin with, you have to sign up for Credit Karma to access the free tax filing software option. Once you gain access, you can import your previous year’s return, regardless of the service you used to file.
The primary advantage of that functionality is that you can quickly enter personal information. The software also allows you to import the information on your W-2 forms. You can just take a picture of the form and upload it—the software does the rest.
You have two options for entering the remainder of your tax return information:
- Interview-style filing
- Self-guided filing
With the interview-style filing, you’ll answer some simple questions, and then you’ll be directed to the relevant forms. With the self-guided method, you’ll have to navigate to the sections that need to be filled out.
You’ll have an easy time doing that as all sections are labeled, including salaries, wages, interest, dividends, and student loans.
Once you’re done filling out the relevant forms, Credit Karma Tax will do the calculations automatically and enter the information in the appropriate boxes to protect you from making mistakes.
If you don’t like the idea of online filing, Credit Karma Tax offers you the option of e-filing your tax return or printing it out to email. All the options are completely free of charge.
While Credit Karma supports a wide range of tax returns, you can’t prepare your taxes on the platform if you:
- Need to report foreign income
- Need to file a multi-state or part-year return
- Need to file as married filing separately in community property states
Features of Credit Karma Tax
Credit Karma Tax has many features that help it to deliver tax preparation services effectively. Let’s take a look at some of those features:
Credit Karma offers a great user-experience with its self-guided navigation. While you have to read various sections to find the appropriate forms to fill out, the software sensibly uses questions to help you enter your information correctly.
If you’re having a hard time locating the topics that relate to your tax situation, you can make use of the search tool located at the bottom of the federal filing page.
Credit Karma allows you to import your tax documents. You don’t need to waste time keying in information on your W-2. All you need to do is uploading a picture of the form and Credit Karma will add the information for you, though you do have to confirm accuracy.
The best thing about Credit Karma document import is that you can upload your prior year’s tax return to import your information, and it doesn’t matter which software you used to file your previous year’s return.
Credit Karma offers several options to receive your tax refund, including:
- Direct deposit to your bank account
- Check from IRS sent to your mail—this typically takes a couple of weeks to arrive
With this feature, relevant information from your previous tax return is auto-filled into your current return allowing you to skip some onboarding steps. Note that you can only enjoy this feature if you’ve used Credit Karma Tax before. If you’re a first-time user, you can take advantage of the document import feature.
Tax Audit Services
If you have an audit, you’ll enjoy Audit Defense courtesy of Credit Karma in partnership with Protection Plus at absolutely no cost. Protection Plus, a third party that also works with other tax filing service providers, will guide you on how to handle your audit.
They’ll evaluate all relevant documents to ensure you’re set for your audit. Moreover, Protection Plus can represent you in any meetings with tax authorities.
Accurate Calculations Guarantee
Credit Karma promises to reimburse you up to $1,000 in the form of gift cards in the case that the IRS or any other tax authority imposes penalties on you due to calculation error committed by the Credit Karma Tax software. This gives you peace of mind that you won’t incur losses due to inaccuracies.
Before submitting your tax return, Credit Karma Tax will review the return and let you know of any inaccuracies so that you can make the necessary corrections.
Credit Karma boasts a dedicated tax support center, where you can get a wide range of articles that provide valuable information about Credit Karma software. You’ll also get articles that cover various topics that you may need to understand to file your tax returns in the right manner.
However, it is worth noting that Credit Karma customer support leaves a lot to be desired. Tax preparation is just one of the many divisions of Credit Karma. Their customer support does not explicitly focus on tax preparation support.
They also don’t provide access to tax experts, which means you can’t get advice on personal or legal tax issues. Moreover, you can only get support via email and chat. You may only enjoy over the phone support if your issue is complicated.
Credit Karma Tax offers one plan that encompasses all the available features. This plan allows you to file both state and federal returns.
You also have access to all tax schedules and deductions, unlike other tax filing services, which generally offer various packages and ask you to upgrade to access extra features. With Credit Karma Tax, there’s no upselling, no income limit, and no hidden charges.
Credit Karma Tax Alternatives
There are a large number of tax filing software options. These are three of the top services competing with Credit Karma Tax:
- TaxAct – One of the oldest and most well known tax filing platforms. TaxAct has some free options and a lot more help for paid users.
- E-File – Another low cost options. E-File offers free federal tax filing.
- Tax Slayer – One of the largest tax filing solutions, Tax Slayer is a top provider of tax software in the United States.
Pros of Credit Karma Tax
- A simple, clean user interface
- Most IRS and State format supported
- Chat help available
- Context-sensitive FAQs
- Some import forms not available
- The search tool is sometimes inaccurate
- Site navigation tool unavailable
- Poor overall support – it can be challenging to get in touch the company’s customer care representative over the phone.
Credit Karma Tax Review Bottom Line
Credit Karma Tax is one of the few tax filing software services that doesn’t require you to upgrade to a paid version to access more advanced features. You get access to all the schedules and forms available at no cost.
This makes it stand out as a real option for anyone who wants to complete their taxes and file for no cost at all. It’s not a platform for someone who has a more complicated tax situation, but will work for most average tax filers.