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5.3

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LAST UPDATED: August 5th, 2023

Credit Karma is primarily a credit monitoring service; however, it does offer free tax preparation as part of its services, for both state and federal tax returns. In order to take advantage of this tax prep service, you just need to sign up for a free account with Credit Karma. In doing so, you will have access to your credit score from two of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax and TransUnion — as well as credit monitoring insights and recommendations. 

If your main purpose is simply to file your taxes, these credit monitoring services are just a nice bonus of signing up for Credit Karma. Filing your taxes with Credit Karma is completely free. You can file both state and federal income taxes in most cases, though there are a few limited exceptions to be aware of.

Credit Karma Tax was launched in 2017, and it was the first major tax preparation and filing service that is truly free for everyone. This can be hard to believe, but it’s true: Credit Karma’s tax filing service will not cost you anything. To date, Credit Karma Tax has saved Americans millions of dollars in tax filing and preparation fees.

Read on for more information about filing your tax return with Credit Karma, or scroll down to read Credit Karma Tax reviews from verified customers.

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The Good

  • Positive Reviews
  • Max Refund Guarantee
  • Accuracy Guarantee and Audit Defense
  • Secure
  • Coverage
  • Smart File System
  • Easy to Switch

Positive Reviews

While Credit Karma’s tax branch doesn’t have too many reviews on our site yet, the ones it does have speak very highly of the company. Customers affirm that the tax prep services offered by Credit Karma Tax really are free, even when you have to add an additional form, or Schedule, as they are called.

Other companies such as Turbo Tax claim to be free to file your taxes, but in reality, adding additional forms usually means you have to pay a fee. However, Credit Karma, according to customer reviews, does not charge a fee for added forms.

Credit Karma customers also speak highly of how fast and easy the process was to file taxes with Credit Karma. They like how the company keeps you constantly updated throughout the tax prep process, and you can get answers to your questions as you have them.

Max Refund Guarantee

Credit Karma’s customer reviews indicate that the tax refund the company gets you is just as good as other tax preparation companies, but even so, Credit Karma Tax offers a max refund guarantee, where it will pay you the difference (up to $100) if you get a bigger refund or owe less in federal taxes when filing an amended return through another online tax prep service. The difference just has to be at least $25 to qualify for this guarantee.

A max refund guarantee is not something we have seen with all tax prep companies, so this is definitely a perk of Credit Karma Tax that can give you some peace of mind, should you choose to file your taxes using the company’s services.

Accuracy Guarantee

Credit Karma’s calculations come with a 100 percent accuracy guarantee. If you have any penalties or interest imposed on you by the IRS or state authorities as a result of a calculation error on the part of Credit Karma, the company will reimburse you up to $1,000 in the form of gift cards.

Plus, the company also offers audit defense. We can’t find a lot of details about what this entails, but regardless, it is an added protection available to you when you file with Credit Karma Tax.

Secure

One worry you might have about doing your taxes online is cybersecurity. However, the IRS sets strict security and privacy standards for certified e-file providers, and Credit Karma meets or exceeds each of these standards. 

To give you an idea of what this means, Credit Karma uses data encryption on its site to protect your personal information and has safeguards in place that comply with federal standards and law. Plus, the company has an on-site security team as well as a number of independent third-parties that regularly assess the Credit Karma website for vulnerabilities.

Coverage

Credit Karma covers certain areas of tax returns that other tax prep service providers such as TurboTax do not. These include all itemized deductions, profit or loss from business, self-employment tax, and capital gains and losses. Plus, unlike TurboTax, you will never be asked to upgrade to a paid version, for state or federal taxes.

Credit Karma supports all of the most common tax forms, including the many variations of the 1099 tax form and different Schedules that might apply to your tax situation. Of course, there will always be unique cases where Credit Karma won’t be eligible to prepare taxes, but for the most part, the company can handle all basic tax situations and many exceptions.

Credit Karma Tax is open for tax filing in 40 states and the District of Columbia. This may seem like it is excluding certain states, but most of the states where Credit Karma does not file tax returns do not have state income taxes. However, in those states, you will not be able to use Credit Karma to file your federal tax returns either.

Credit Karma requires that you file a federal tax return before it will allow you to file a state return. You can, however, choose to only file your federal return and not your state return with Credit Karma, if you want to. You just can’t choose to only file your state return without filing your federal one.

Smart File System

Credit Karma Tax offers a smart file process where you are only shown the relevant sections of IRS forms that you need to file out based on your tax situation. This is a nice feature if you are easily overwhelmed by the jargon and tax-specific language of the forms involved in doing your taxes.

Credit Karma Tax wants to make it as easy as possible for you to do your tax return. In some cases, you’ll even be able to upload your W-2 information by simply taking a photo of the form.

Easy to Switch

You can easily import your tax information from previous years to the Credit Karma Tax system. This will make the transition to a new system much more streamlined. Whether you used H&R Block, TurboTax, or TaxAct in prior years, you can pull your return from those companies and use some of the information to populate your current tax return.

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The Bad

  • Exceptions
  • Not Primarily a Tax Prep Company
  • Must Create Credit Karma Account to Use

Exceptions

While Credit Karma is a great service if you are a single taxpayer and want to file your taxes for free using an online tax software, the company does have some limitations and exceptions when it comes to who is eligible to file taxes with Credit Karma. The following situations are not supported by Credit Karma’s tax prep services:

  • Multiple state filings
  • Part-year state filing
  • Foreign earned income
  • State returns for people who are married filing separately in community property states
  • State filing without a federal filing

Credit Karma also does not support businesses that need to file small business forms, or businesses that file as either an S or C corporation, or as a partnership or multi-member LLC.

If you are a nonresident alien, Credit Karma does not currently support form 1040NR.

However, if you are filing under any of the federally recognized statuses (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, or head of household), you will be just fine using Credit Karma to do so.

Not Primarily a Tax Prep Company

While Credit Karma does offer tax preparation services for free, the company itself is not only a tax prep agency. This shouldn’t mean that the quality of customer service is any lower; however, some people may feel more comfortable using a tax preparer or tax preparation software that is solely designed for that purpose.

Must Create a Credit Karma Account to Use

Creating a Credit Karma account is free to do, but it is a required step if you plan to use Credit Karma Tax as your tax preparation software. When you create an account, you will have access to credit monitoring insights and information regarding your credit report, credit score, etc. This might be helpful to some people, but could be irrelevant for others.

Thus, just know that if you want to use Credit Karma’s free software to get help preparing your taxes, you will have to sign up for its credit monitoring services as well. However, you don’t have to use these features if they don’t apply to your situation.

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The Bottom Line

Credit Karma Tax really is completely free. As long as you are eligible to file with Credit Karma Tax and meet the criteria, you will not have to pay anything to file your tax return through the company, and you will never be asked to pay to upgrade or add additional forms. 

You should be aware that you will have to create a Credit Karma account in order to do your taxes through Credit Karma Tax. This account will give you free access to your credit score, credit monitoring services, and more. However, if you don’t want to use these services, you don’t have to use them.

Overall, Credit Karma is a reliable brand and its tax prep services, being completely free, are quite appealing and convenient, especially if you already have an account with the company.
 
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4.6

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Mellissa Clark Palm Bay, FL

I used Credit Karma Taxes once and it worked out pretty well. I had to discontinue using the platform because they do not allow you to file multiple state taxes. If not for this one factor, I would still be using Credit Karma taxes.

9 months ago