TaxACT Tax Software
TaxAct is an online tax filing service that enables you to quickly and efficiently prepare your returns and enjoy the convenience and ease of e-filing. The software includes good resources for learning how to maximize deductions and tax credits, and has all the basics of preparing your tax return covered.
Users choose from four versions of the software, including a free version for those with very simple taxes that can be handled with form 1040EZ. The free version even allows free state filing, a perk most of TaxAct's competitors don't offer. The paid versions are among the best-priced tax software products on the market, making it a great option for the budget conscious.
TaxAct Standout Features
Upon creating your account, you can import your taxes from prior years, whether you used TaxAct or software from competitors such as TurboTax and H&R Block.
For users who have bought or sold stock during the year, TaxAct includes a stock assistance tool that tracks your trades, profits, losses and more during the tax year on a spreadsheet. The data is made available seamlessly for tax reporting purposes.
As you complete each section of your taxes, mini-alerts appear to inform you if there are any problems with the section that need to be handled. You choose whether to address the problem immediately or return to it later.
TaxAct includes great learning resources with a glossary, video tutorials and a knowledge base, all to enhance your knowledge of tax preparation and filing. For those who prefer to fill out their own taxes, the learning resources are a great tool in the quest to keep more money in your pocket.
The software inspects your return for problems that increase risk of an audit, and identifies tax-saving opportunities you might otherwise miss.
You are provided with expert tips and strategies as you work on your return, including explanations of deductions and tax credits as well as stumbling blocks to avoid.
TaxAct guides you through step-by-step. Answer simple questions and TaxAct handles the rest. The company states that your return is guaranteed 100% accurate, and promises the maximum refund possible via the quickest route, e-filing. These claims are used to market the product, but TaxAct in general can back it up.
Four Versions of TaxAct
TaxAct offers the choice of four versions of its software, depending on your overall financial picture and the complexity of your tax situation. They offer two ways to access their products, via TaxAct Online and TaxAct Download/CD. With TaxAct Online, you create an online account and prepare your taxes using a web browser. The TaxAct Download or CD is software you download or receive via CD and install on your personal computer.
The free version of TaxAct allows you to prepare, print and e-file simple federal and state tax returns at no cost. The federal forms supported in this version include the form 1040EZ or 1040A. The real-time refund status tool gives a clear picture of your refund or amount due as you work on your return. Email support is available to help you answer questions about your return.
The entry level paid version of TaxAct adds live support and prior year import to the free version. This is still a program for simple tax situations, using the form 1040EZ and Schedule A. You stand to save time and reduce errors, importing information from your prior year's tax return. Unlimited phone support comes with this version, and you can use TaxAct's Answer Center. TaxAct Basic also tracks life changes to see how they impact your taxes and help you get the biggest deductions. This version costs $9.99, and for an additional $9.99 you can file your state return. The software automatically transfers your federal information to your state return.
This version is great for homeowners, investors and those doing itemized returns. You can maximize credits and deductions with over 300 to choose from. Track charitable donations with Donation Assistant, and access audit backed values for over 1,300 items. It's also a breeze to report your investments and rental income, and take the biggest tax break from your mortgage interest. TaxAct plus costs $14.99 for federal e-filing, and an additional $14.99 for state filing.
This highest tier of TaxAct software is perfect for the sole proprietors, freelancers and the self-employed. It helps you realize the maximum tax benefit for business income, expenses and depreciation. You can use all business related forms such as Schedule C and F, taking deductions from your business income in order to reduce your tax bill. There are robust tools for maximizing the benefits of depreciation too. You can import data on capital gains using the Stock Assistant's user friendly entry tools to save time and reduce mistakes. The Premium version of TaxAct costs $19.99, and for an additional $14.99 you can file your state returns.
You have several options for customer support with TaxAct, which vary depending on which version you use. Search for the quick answers in the Answer Center, or email for free tax & technical support. There is a Popular Help Topics page accessible from the support page of website. Phone support is available with the paid versions, but not the free version.
TaxAct's great prices come with some drawbacks, such as a mildly confusing and somewhat weak customer support, and clunky access to past-year returns. Its navigation interface is less than intuitive, limiting your ability complete your return manually. If you can hang with a somewhat bumpy ride through the process, it's worth digging in with this decent enough product at a great price.
On the plus side, it is really cool that you can file both state and federal forms with the free version, no cost at all, as long as you can are able to use only the 1040EZ and Schedule A.
Verdict - Very Good
For a simple to use, decent, and affordable tax preparation and filing service, TaxAct offers a very reliable solution. It's a good economical choice for people with simple tax preparation needs who can handle the process on their own.