Here at Money Crashers, we provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding all of the choices out there for online tax preparation software.
We have recently done reviews on the so-called “heavy hitter” options, but I also wanted to give you an inside look at one of the lesser-known players, CompleteTax. Why? They actually have a few advantages over some of the more popular tax preparation sites like TurboTax, H&R Block At Home, and TaxACT.
With the software packages available, just about anybody can file their own taxes online and not miss out on any potential tax deductions. After all, when it comes down to it, who knows your personal finances better than you?
CompleteTax offers three main products and one of them is sure to be right for you. Here are the features and benefits (and also the drawbacks) of these packages.
1. Basic Package (Free)
The biggest benefit of the Basic Package from CompleteTax is that it’s free. It supports most commonly used tax forms and schedules; it can handle any filing status and also supports the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Additionally, it offers step-by-step guidance throughout the entire process, and you can also “test-drive” the software. You won’t even have to pay until you submit your return, which is a great feature. With this Basic Package, you can even import your data from a previously used version of tax preparation software from another company (i.e. TurboTax, TaxACT or H&R Block). This makes it even easier to switch to CompleteTax.
You can also import data from your W-2s and 1099s, reducing the likelihood of an entry error. They have an e-file option, offer technical support, and also have a special “come back flag” option. If you don’t have a particular piece of information needed for your return, you can simply “flag” it so that you won’t forget to enter this info before submitting your return.
CompleteTax offers “locked-in” pricing, meaning that if you sign up for this Basic Package now (when it’s free) and the price later increases, you’ll still be able to get it for free. They will also reimburse you for any errors on your return attributed to them.
The drawbacks to this option are that additional services are available, but for a fee. Advanced help costs $4.95, technical support by chat costs $4.95 per session, and their fee for e-filing your state return is $24.95. This is a little higher than e-filing state fees for other free online tax preparation software and services on the market.
2. Deluxe Package ($24.95)
The Deluxe Package offered by CompleteTax offers everything included in the Basic Package plus these additional features: It will import last year’s CompleteTax return for free, handles itemized deductions, supports capital gains and losses and dividend income, and includes one free technical support chat and advanced help features.
Also, this option can assist you with Employee Business Expenses, Investment Coverage, Retirement Coverage, Charitable Contributions, Alternative Minimum Tax calculations, and Education Coverage. Again, with this package there are additional services at your disposal, but there is a fee associated with them. This option should suffice for most of us out there who itemize, but don’t have complicated tax considerations.
3. Premium MVP Package ($49.95)
The Premium MVP Package includes everything in the Deluxe Package plus the following benefits: It throws in the cost of a state return e-file (a $24.95 value in the previous package), calculates the first time home buyer credit for you if applicable, and it handles tax deductions for the self employed and small business owners (i.e. profit or loss from a sole proprietor business). It also supports reporting income or losses from real estate rental properties and includes a charity deduction calculator to accurately value all charitable contributions. So, as your tax situation goes “up the ladder” as far as complexity, this option could be for you.
And as with the other packages, there are additional services available for a fee. The online chat sessions are available at a lesser price, and this option also offers audit protection ($19.95 for one year or $29.95 for three years) if your return is ever audited.
I also want to mention two key points that may actually sway you to choose CompleteTax over some of their competitors.
- First, they have an offer that I think is right on point, considering the state of today’s economy. If you lost your job within the last year, they will give you their Premium Package for free. To me, this is an excellent selling point.
- Additionally, as of the writing of this review, all of the prices listed are significantly discounted from their normal pricing structure. So, if you’re considering going with CompleteTax, don’t wait. Jump on these prices now before they go up.
CompleteTax is a great tax preparation software option and it can provide you with benefits that some of the other more popular sites can’t. The extra paid services that they offer with each respective package should be looked at carefully before opting in, but you may be able to find a package that works for you – especially if you don’t need the extras.
Have you had any direct experience with CompleteTax? Leave your thoughts and comments below.