The Taxing Truth: the Top Three Complaints About Online Tax-Filing Services

Everyone loves tax season!

Okay, so maybe we really don’t, BUT as a working adult, tax filing is a necessary evil. Like many services, tax filing and preparation have jumped on the technological bandwagon; in fact, e-filing websites continue to grow in popularity every year, and we totally understand why. As people get busier and busier, tax e-filing seems like a better and better idea, but like many things on the internet, the online tax world can be flawed. Sitejabber has analyzed hundreds of complaints regarding online tax services with the hope that we can help make your tax season as painless as possible. Without further ado, here they are, in descending order:

*Note: the percentages add up to more than 100% because some reviewers had more than one complaint.

#3) Refund Problems

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Tax refund problems come in third place with approximately 19% of our reviewers reporting refund miscalculations or complications. Tax refunds are a universal cause of joy for employed persons everywhere, but far too many hard-working citizens get low balled on their returns due to poor calculation on the part of the tax site. Even worse yet, sometimes site users will be penalized for the website’s mistakes. One user stated in his review:

2012 Software made calculation errors (adding when should have subtracted, failed to copy numbers from one form to another). After they finally fixed it, I e-filed my return — and then received a “late filing” penalty from the state because they didn’t receive one of the forms…”

Watch out for these types of reviews! Do your research to make sure you get the most out of your tax refund!


#2) “Free” Tax Sites

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In second place with a whopping 36% reviewer-reporting rate: sites that claim to be free but aren’t. It’s difficult to understand how so many websites can get away with this one, but it is one of the most common scams on the internet. Many of the biggest tax e-filing sites claim to be free only to “surprise” their customers with built-in fees after they’ve already gone through the filing process. As you can see here, several reviewers claimed such issues, with hidden fees as high as $130 being reported. Be sure to read the fine print and ask questions before you start the filing process; no one likes to lose money, especially after diligently completing tax paperwork!

#1) Tax-Filing Issues

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Coming in strong in first place: 53% of our reviewers reported persistent issues with the tax-filing process – most commonly with filing errors, delays, and lost returns. Check out this review below:

“I e-filed my tax return on FreeTaxUSA. I filed before the deadline. i even paid their fee to have my state tax forms filed electronically. My Federal was rejected because I had “already used my ss# on my state return”. Their web site indicated that my state form were accepted by the tax board, I also received an email stating that my state forms were accepted. As I had filed electronically with direct deposit I expected my refund within a month. 2 months passed still no refund. I contacted the state tax board to follow up. They informed me that they never received any tax forms from me, neither e-filed no other.”

The only thing worse than a lost tax return is an absent customer service department! Sitejabber review pages like this one can be very revealing – be sure to read up on all of the reviews to ensure your own safety!

Bonus Complaint Type

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…Because we care!

Several of our reviewers reported that websites don’t really store your tax records, despite their claims to do so. Websites will boast about their easy accessibility to your previous years’ taxes, but customer service will be conveniently absent or clueless when requests for prior years’ taxes come in.

The Takeaway

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Tax e-filing can be convenient and secure, but it’s important to thoroughly research your options before making your decision. Sitejabber has done its best to make the research process more convenient for you; in fact, if you’d like to see the highest-rated online tax preparation websites of 2014,  click here.

We wish you the best of luck, and the most pain-free tax year!