TaxACT, which provides affordable tax products to the masses, is owned and operated by 2nd Story Software, a privately-owned company since 1998.
According to Hitwise reports, TaxACT is the #2 destination for e-filers on the Web.
Key Features and Benefits
- Provides a risk-free federal refund guarantee: if you get a higher refund or less tax owed with another tax preparation method, using the same data used with TaxACT, you will get your money back.
- You can access unlimited Web and email support as well as video tutorials.
- If you’ve got simple taxes, you can use the free version, which includes most forms but much less guidance.
- Helps you with figuring in life changes such as marriage, a new baby or a new house purchase.
- Imports last year’s return information to your current filing and checks for large differences between this year and last.
- The Deluxe version is sufficient for most users, but if you’ve got a C corp, S corp, or partnership, they also have a more advanced Business version.
- Tools Center offers calculators for loans, donations, taxes, savings and even a stock assistant.
- Prices are lower than competitors – the Free version is much more comprehensive than its competitors, and you don’t even have to upgrade to get Schedule C.
- You don’t pay anything until you are ready to e-file.
- You can complete your taxes on TaxAct’s site, download a copy of the software, or receive a copy on CD.
- Guarantees 100% accuracy on all editions. If assessed a penalty due to a calculation error by TaxACT, they will pay the penalty plus interest.
- Price guarantee—you get the price quoted when you started e-filing regardless of when you finally file.
- The program allows you to go back to view previously completed forms without losing data you’ve already entered.
- Shows your total refund or owed amount as you go through the filing process.
- Asks questions about life events such as surviving a disaster, where you may be eligible for a tax break.
- Free e-filing is included with all editions, and the state return is the cheapest among its competitors as well.
- I found the help videos rather annoying, and eventually just turned off the sound.
- You can only receive help online – there is no phone support included, but you can pay them for it.
- The wording often isn’t very clear, so unless you know what you need to do, you might need more assistance.
- It provides the least guidance of the major tax programs and took me the longest to complete in the head-to-head comparison.
- While TaxAct states you will be able to import prior year’s taxes, it can’t always read the PDFs generated by other programs.
- If you use the Free package, your state return will cost $14.95. However, buying the Deluxe plus State edition costs $17.95, so if you’re going to use them to e-file your state returns, you might as well just get the Deluxe anyway.
Free Federal Edition – Free
Suitable for those who need to file the 1040 and not much else. It does include all the schedules, but doesn’t offer much guidance or extra deduction calculations. Everything about this product is free from e-filing to email and audit support. State taxes will run you $14.95 if you use the Free edition.
Deluxe Federal Edition – $9.95
Includes everything you get in the Free Edition plus the following: the ability to import data from last year’s forms; get the most exemptions for your charitable donations; extra calculators & reports; free phone support and guidance from tax specialists; ability to factor in life changes.
Ultimate Bundle Edition – $17.95
This is the Deluxe edition plus State taxes. Best value for those needing to file both federal and state. It includes the Deluxe edition and your choice of one state.
Business Edition – $39.95 to $54.95
There are several different business editions, which are used if you have a partnership, S corp, or C corp. You can also buy discounted packages that include filing for your business as well as your personal taxes, and the $54.95 edition also includes your state taxes. These editions must be downloaded or purchased on a CD.
Is It Right for You?
TaxACT is less user-friendly but more complete than the other major tax preparation software choices. You are certainly getting what you pay for in ease of use and access to support. Their Deluxe edition is much less costly than TurboTax or H&R Block’s comparable editions, but you may need some tax knowledge going into it in order to get everything completed correctly. If you use them each year, you’ll save time on importing items since it will use information from prior year returns.
Overall, this is a good tradeoff between price and convenience. If you have some tax knowledge, they also give you the option to view the forms as you go along so you can double-check the program’s work. All the personal editions can be started for free and no payment is required until you are ready to hit the File button.
Looking to file your taxes online using a different service? Check out our comparison table of TaxACT vs TurboTax vs H&R Block At Home.