Heard of Credit Karma Tax? It’s Credit Karma’s free tax return software.
Their tax filing software may be a great option if you’re working for Uber, Doordash, Etsy, or another service, and you don’t want to pay $50 to $200 or more to file your taxes this year. Credit Karma launched their free tax software in 2016, but have improved it to the point that it now makes sense for most tax filing situations.
It currently offers most of the features of the big tax filing software players like Turbotax and H&R block, but with the added benefit of being free.
(Disclosure – We independently research our content to provide free advice for you. We may get compensation if you sign up with services, or purchase products through our affiliate links.)
What is Credit Karma Tax?
As noted above, it is the free tax filing software from Credit Karma, the free credit monitoring service with over 85 million users.
Credit Karma was founded in 2007 as a service providing free credit scores. In 2014, the company began offering full free credit reports to members as well, and is now the leading consumer credit monitoring service in the U.S.
While there are a number of free tax filing options out there, most of them are missing a lot of features, or aren’t totally free. Some will file your federal taxes for free, but charge you to file your state return. Other free tax filing options don’t work if you need to file a Schedule C or E form, a necessity for many Lyft, Uber, and Doordash drivers.
Is Credit Karma Tax free?
Yes, it is a totally free tax filing service. The service doesn’t even charge for filing a state tax return, audit defense, or having a small business.
The service also provides support for multi-member LLCs, S corporations, C corporations, partnerships, estates, and trusts!
- Free Audit Defense: Credit Karma Tax users will receive free audit defense. This service provides correspondence management and in-person representation in the event that a member gets audited by the IRS or the state. They are the only major tax filing software to offer audit defense for free.
- Mobile Filing: Users can file their taxes, from start to finish, directly from their smartphone with every step now mobile enabled.
- Easy Migration From TurboTax, TaxAct or H&R Block: New users can jumpstart their tax filing process by easily importing their prior year’s information
- Error double-check: Before a member submits their tax return, Credit Karma Tax will check and re-check the return to let them know if anything looks off.
- Personalized guidance: Once a member inputs their tax data, the app gives personalized guidance to help members maximize their refund, including helping them understand the impact of taking standard or itemized deduction and their filing status.
How Does Credit Karma Tax Make Money?
The software doesn’t actually make any money. In order to use it, you do need to join Credit Karma, a free credit monitoring service (disclosure: I’ve been using it for years). It’s been around since 2007, and helps you monitor your Transunion and Experian credit reports for free.
Credit Karma makes money by presenting loan and credit card offers to its users. When people sign up, Credit Karma gets some money from the loan or credit card company.
However, no advertising offers appear on the tax side of the software.
Pros And Cons Of Credit Karma Tax
- Free Federal & State Filing
- Free Audit Defense
- Supports most tax situations including joint filing, and self employed schedule C filing.
- Includes 1040 schedule C, 1040 schedule E, and 1040 schedule SE (self employment)
Cons – Does not support certain situations like:
- Multi state tax return filings
- Part-year state filing
- Foreign earned income
- State returns for married filing separately in community property states. Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin are community property states.
- State filing only
Credit Karma Tax also has weaker help and support options when compared with TurboTax and H&R Block.
Credit Karma Tax – Getting Started Walkthrough
Getting started is pretty easy. First, sign up for Credit Karma (it’s free) by clicking the button below.
Once you’ve joined, you can start your tax return on their website or in the Credit Karma app.
1. To get started in the app, from the main dashboard, click on “Tax”.
2. This will bring you to the tax section of the app, which is free and has no ads. Click “continue”.
3.. The next step is to verify your phone number.
4. After that, you simply fill some info about yourself, and you can begin importing information and completing your Federal & State return. You can complete the entire process on the app, and since the software is free, you won’t even have to pull out your credit card.
How Does Credit Karma Tax compare to TurboTax and H&R Block?
Overall, it compares pretty well. While Turbotax does offer a free option, it only applies if your income is under $34,000, and their free option does not include Audit Defense.
H&R Block also has a free option, , but it does not support Schedule C forms, which most people who work for services like Postmates and Uber will need to fill out.
The only place Turbotax and H&R Block still have a major advantage is if your business or financial situation is really complicated.
If you own multiple businesses, or plan on filing multiple state returns, one of the paid offerings from Turbotax or H&R Block may be a better option. These options also come with superior customer support, with phone or chat options available.
Credit Karma Tax – Final Take
If you’re a gig economy worker for a service like Handy, Lyft, Care.com, or one of the other on demand services out there, Credit Karma Tax may be the free tax filing software you’ve been looking for.
It allows easy import from popular tax software, has most small business forms available, and is truly free in more tax situations than competing services.
To get started filing your Federal and State taxes for free, with Audit Defense included, simply click the button below.