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Credit Karma Tax review

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The popular credit monitoring site lets you file for free, but it’s not available in all states.

Credit Karma Tax offers a straightforward way to file your taxes for free, even if you’re self-employed or have several deductions. But you need a Credit Karma account and if you live in one of the 10 states where this service isn’t available, or you’re hoping for hands-on support, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

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Federal returns starting price

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State returns starting price

Details

Federal returns starting price$0
State returns starting price$0
Maximum return guaranteed?Yes
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Review by


Michael Benninger is a staff banking writer at Finder. He is a former credit analyst and longtime freelancer whose articles have been published by Intuit, Business Insider and the Los Angeles Times. Michael is passionate about all facets of personal finance and has written hundreds of articles about money management during the past decade.

Expert review

Credit Karma Tax is best if your taxes are uncomplicated and if you’re already familiar with the filing process. Credit Karma Tax is free and offers maximum refund guarantees and free audit defense. Plus, as far as free online tax software goes, Credit Karma Tax is also able to offer calculations guarantees — yet only up to $1,000.

But if you’re hoping for a lot of hand-holding during the application process, you’re limited to its 24/7 online chat. Plus, you’re only eligible to use Credit Karma Tax if you have a Credit Karma account and if you live in Alaska, Florida, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington or Wyoming.

How much does Credit Karma Tax cost?

Credit Karma Tax is completely free for all users. There’s no cost to file your state or federal return, no matter how simple or complex your tax situation is.

How to sign up

Signing up for Credit Karma Tax only takes a few minutes. There’s nothing to download, and if you already have a Credit Karma account, the process is even faster.

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. From the provider site, select File now for free.
  3. If you have a Credit Karma account, select Log in. Otherwise, enter your email address and create a password.
  4. If you’re creating a new account, enter your name, address, birthday and Social Security number.
  5. Review the benefits of using Credit Karma Tax and select Continue.

Credit Karma Tax pros

Credit Karma Tax offers several attractive features, including the ability to import previous years’ returns from TaxAct, TurboTax and H&R Block.
  • Completely free. There’s no cost to file your state or federal return with Credit Karma Tax.
  • Max refund guarantee. If you file an amended return using a different online service and receive a bigger refund or find out you owe less, Credit Karma will pay you up to $100 to cover the difference.
  • Streamlined process. Credit Karma Tax will only show you sections you need to complete based on your tax situation. You can also upload your W-2 by taking a photo of it.
  • Accurate calculations guarantee. If the IRS or your state tax authority penalizes you due to a calculation error, Credit Karma will reimburse you up to $1,000. Some other tax programs offer greater guarantees, including Tax Act, which will reimburse up to $100,000 for any penalties and interest you’re required to pay due to miscalculations caused by its software.
  • Free audit defense. Credit Karma automatically checks your return for accuracy and provides an Audit Defense service for free.

Cons

Credit Karma Tax also has a few shortcomings to keep in mind before signing up.
  • Not available in all states or if you recently moved. You can’t use Credit Karma to file taxes in Alaska, Florida, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington or Wyoming. It also doesn’t support income from multiple states, so you’ll need to look for another software if you moved in the middle of last year.
  • Credit Karma account required. You must open a Credit Karma account to use Credit Karma Tax.
  • Can’t import investment data. There’s no way to import investment data into Credit Karma Tax easily.
  • Not for complicated taxes. Credit Karma Tax contains the most common tax forms, but it’s missing forms you may need if your taxes are unusually complicated. Plus, unlike other online tax software, you won’t get a step-by-step walkthrough on how to file your taxes. You’re limited to a 24/7 chat if you need support.
  • Can’t skip around. Credit Karma tax requires you to complete one form before proceeding to the next one. Other services let you skip sections you’re not ready to fill out.

If you want more tax filing support or you have complicated taxes, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when considering an online tax software.

Credit Karma Tax reviews and complaints

As of March 2021, Credit Karma Tax is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), though it has a B rating on the BBB’s website, where it has received 91 complaints during the past three years. Many of the complaints relate to problems contacting customer service or accessing and closing individual accounts.

On Trustpilot, Credit Karma has a rating of 1.8 out of 5 based on 291 reviews, though most of the reviews are about the credit monitoring service and have nothing to do with tax filing.

Compare Credit Karma Tax with other online tax software

Name Product Federal returns starting price State returns starting price Maximum return guaranteed? Free options available? Photo import of W2? Live chat?
H&R Block
$29.99
$36.99
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
File simply and securely with tax software from H&R Block.
FreeTaxUSA
$0
$14.99
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Yes
No
Yes
File federal returns for free and pay $14.99 for state returns with this online tax preparation software.
Keeper Tax
$89
Included
Yes
No
No
Yes
Keeper Tax helps people with 1099 income automatically find tax write-offs among their purchases. At tax time, file federal and state directly for $89 or export to file elsewhere for $39.
Jackson Hewitt
$25
$24
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
File taxes online or in-person for a no-fee refund advance loan. But watch out for high filing fees
Intuit TurboTax
$60
$50
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
File returns electronically and get taken step by step through the tax-filing process, so that you can receive the fastest refund possible for yourself, and/or your business.
Liberty Tax
$34.95
$29.95
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Choose from EZ, Basic, Deluxe, and Premium packages to support the simplest or the most complicated of returns; including business and investments.
TaxSlayer
$24.95
$39.95
Yes
Yes
Yes
TaxSlayer offers free federal and state filing for simple returns and $0 federal return to service members filing with a military EIN.
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Credit Karma Tax customer support

There are only two ways to contact Credit Karma Tax customer support if you get stuck or need help.

  • Chat. You can chat with a tax support specialist 24/7 throughout tax season.
  • Email. You can send a message to a Credit Karma Tax support specialist by filling out a form in the website’s member help center.

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