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Taxhub Review 2021 – Online Tax Prep by a CPA


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At a glance

Our rating

3.9/5

TaxHub

  • CPA Involvement: Yes; CPA prepares your return after an initial phone consultation
  • Plans: Individual plans start at $159, and you can customize them to include numerous situations, including self-employment, itemized deductions, and rental property income, though customization may increase the cost; business plans (C-corp and S-corp filing) start at $459, and you can customize them to encompass greater complexity; CPA consultations start at $29 per 15-minute interval with fees credited against tax prep when clients file with Taxhub; Taxhub’s S-corp conversion and setup services carry variable costs, depending on the scope of work
  • State Returns Included: Yes; one return included when you file; additional state returns cost $75 each
  • Pay With Your Refund: Yes; a bank charge may apply
  • Audit Defense: Yes; included at no additional cost
  • Mobile Capabilities: Fully mobile-capable, including document upload via text messaging


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Taxhub is a relatively new online tax filing service that blends the user-friendly interface of online DIY services like TurboTax with the expertise of professional (often in-person) preparation services. It clearly aims to disrupt the tax prep industry.

This mobile-friendly cloud software platform offers CPA-prepared tax returns for individuals and businesses. Taxhub requires a fraction of the time commitment of DIY online options and may be cheaper than some full-service independent CPAs.

Taxhub isn’t the only online, hands-off, CPA-run tax prep platform out there. Imitators come and go, and big-name providers like H&R Block now offer hands-off or hybrid filing options of their own. But it does have a lot going for it.

Taxhub Plans, Pricing, and Features

Taxhub is more expensive than most DIY-friendly online tax software and at or above the cost of many independent CPAs. Whether its in-house expertise and hands-on service justify the high price is open to interpretation.

But the company’s approach to tax preparation is easy and convenient. No matter how simple or complicated your tax situation, a licensed CPA prepares your return, and the preparation experience is uniform for all filers. It consists of three steps:

  1. Upload Your Documents. After finalizing your plan, you upload your tax documents, including any relevant income and expense statements. You can upload files directly to Taxhub’s secure server or take a picture of each document and text (SMS) it to a particular phone number.
  2. Conduct a Phone Interview. The next step is a brief phone interview with a licensed CPA (usually the person who prepares your taxes) to go over the particulars of your tax situation. You can schedule the consultation from your account dashboard. There’s no questionnaire.
  3. Approve Your Return and Pay. After the interview, Taxhub prepares your return. After they finish — typically within 48 hours — you must review and approve your return. If you approve, you pay. The price may be higher than the estimate if your situation is complicated and requires a plan upgrade. In rare instances involving a very complicated return, your final price may be higher than the highest advertised price.

Tax preparation fees vary based on your needs. Individual Taxhub clients have access to a fully customizable prep and filing plan. Small-business clients have a fully customizable business prep and filing plan as well. Both businesses and individuals can schedule one-on-one CPA consultations for $29 per 15-minute interval, with fees credited back to the client if they later prepare and file with Taxhub.

Taxhub also offers a range of business services, such as S-corporation conversions and business incorporation, for independent professionals and small-business owners.

Individual Plan

Taxhub has one off-the-shelf plan for individual income tax filers. Starting at $159 per federal return, it includes:

  • One free state return
  • Wage income
  • Single or married filing
  • Common credits for filers with dependents
  • Common scenarios related to homeownership
  • Itemized deductions
  • Interest and dividend income

If Taxhub’s individual plan isn’t adequate for your needs, you can customize it by adding services on an a la carte basis, including rental property income, stock and crypto sales, and business income. Your estimated price updates automatically as you go, and at no point do you have to walk through a lengthy online questionnaire.

But adding a la carte services increases your return’s cost quickly. For example, you can expect to pay $100 to add business income or self-employment income and $100 to add equities sales, though pricing is subject to change. The first state return is included, but additional state returns cost $75 each.

Business Plan

Taxhub’s customizable business plan is appropriate for C-corporations, S-corporations, partnerships, and trusts. Pricing starts at $459 per business but can quickly rise for larger enterprises. As part of the customization process, you must answer basic questions about your business, including:

  • Number of fixed assets
  • Number of partners or shareholders
  • Annual revenues

For an additional fee, Taxhub can provide basic ongoing bookkeeping services as well.


Additional Features

Overall, Taxhub’s hands-off filing process is its most significant draw. But it has some additional features worth noting.

Maximum Refund Guarantee

Like most competitors, Taxhub has a maximum refund guarantee for state and federal returns. If you find another tax prep service that earns you a larger tax refund or lower tax liability, Taxhub promises to refund your preparation fees.

Pay With Your Refund

Taxhub allows you to pay your preparation fees with your IRS tax refund. Taxhub doesn’t directly charge for this option, but you do have to accept a bank charge the company can’t control.

Prior Year Returns

You can use Taxhub to file a previous year’s return, even if you didn’t previously prepare with Taxhub.

Tax Return Copies

You can obtain copies of your current year and prior-year tax returns by contacting Taxhub directly.

Audit Defense

All Taxhub customers are automatically enrolled in the company’s Audit Defense service at no additional charge. Under this plan, Taxhub corresponds and negotiates with the IRS on your behalf during the audit process while providing clear explanations and interpretations along the way.

Free LifeLock Trial Membership

Every Taxhub user gets a free trial membership with LifeLock, an identity theft protection provider. The trial runs for 30 days after you create your account, after which you can opt into a paid membership of your choice.

Messaging System

If you have any questions before or during the tax preparation process, you can use Taxhub’s internal messaging system (accessible through your account) to ask them. This system functions like email and usually takes a few hours to a business day to produce a response. Whenever possible, you’re connected with the CPA tasked with preparing your return.


Advantages

Taxhub has many filer-friendly features that justify paying CPA prices.

1. Incredibly Simple Process

Taxhub’s tax preparation process is incredibly simple: You provide some basic information about your life situation, sign up for the plan that suits your needs, upload your tax documents, conduct a brief consultation with a Taxhub CPA, and approve your completed return.

You don’t have to pore over your documents, interpret IRS jargon, or sit through tedious questionnaires. That’s a massive advantage over DIY tax prep services, which either hold your hand through every step of the process or require you to take ownership of the involved risks.

2. May Be Cheaper Than Some Other Full-Service Options

Although Taxhub is unquestionably more expensive than cut-rate DIY options like FreeTaxUSA and TaxAct, it might be a better deal than full-service, in-office tax prep options like Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax Service.

For example, depending on the complexity of your tax situation, it can cost you anywhere from $300 to $500 to file with Liberty Tax Service. Compare that with $200 to $400 for similar returns prepared by Taxhub.

Taxhub also has no hidden fees, a significant advantage over some office-based preparers. And it may be cheaper than independent CPAs and smaller firms that specialize in complex situations, though the gap has all but disappeared in recent years.

3. Can Upload Documents by Text Message

Taxhub lets you upload your tax documents via text message (SMS) rather than email attachment or fax. That’s a handy little perk that’s virtually unique among American tax prep companies — and one that’s hugely advantageous to customers who dislike breaking out their laptop or desktop computers.

4. Low Time Investment Relative to DIY Options

With no questionnaires or self-filled forms, Taxhub is a breeze compared to DIY competitors. Though the amount of time filers need to devote to the initial consultation and document upload processes lengthens as their situations grow more complex, the same applies to DIY returns. The more information your return contains, the longer it takes to answer all those interview questions and fill in all those form fields.

Once you finish your initial consultation with your Taxhub preparer, you’re pretty much done with your end of the bargain. Unless there’s an unexpected snag, Taxhub will file your return within 48 hours, and you’ll get your tax refund (if eligible) within a couple of weeks.

Accordingly, the amount of time required to complete a Taxhub return is almost always less than the amount of time needed to complete a comparable DIY return with TurboTax, TaxAct, or H&R Block.

5. Mobile-First Website

Unlike competitors like TurboTax and H&R Block that began as desktop software programs, the much newer Taxhub started as a mobile-friendly, cloud-based service. Every part of its website is a pleasure to use on small-screened devices. There aren’t any sections that feel like they haven’t been updated since the first iPhone’s release, as is the case with Jackson Hewitt Online and some other online tax prep services.

6. Audit Defense Included at No Extra Charge

All Taxhub customers get Taxhub’s Audit Defense product, which provides guidance and representation throughout IRS audits, at no extra charge. Many competing tax prep services charge for such services. TurboTax and TaxAct both charge up to $50 for comparable products, for instance.

7. Personalized Service

As a boutique shop, Taxhub offers a degree of personalized service larger competitors can’t match. Don’t let the all-online filing process fool you: When you do your taxes with Taxhub, you’re keenly aware of your value as a customer.

This differentiator is crucial now that H&R Block and TurboTax offer CPA-assisted packages clearly designed with competitors like Taxhub in mind.


Disadvantages

As convenient and easy as Taxhub is, it’s not without its drawbacks.

1. Not a Good Value for Simple Tax Situations

Taxhub’s off-the-shelf plan costs more than $150 per return but accommodates only relatively simple situations. By contrast, the lowest-priced plans offered by competitors like TurboTax and H&R Block also have limited functionality.

But they cost far less. Many offer federal returns for free, and some (including TurboTax) provide state returns for free as well, for a total cost of $0. If you have a straightforward tax situation one of those discount plans can accommodate, there’s absolutely no reason to spend so much money with Taxhub.

2. Limited Staff

Taxhub is a young company that has grown considerably since its founding but remains very much in startup mode. In the past, I’ve interacted professionally with Taxhub’s founder, something that would never happen at major incumbents like TaxSlayer or H&R Block (and probably wouldn’t happen at Taxhub these days, given the company’s growth).

Lean staffing cuts both ways. Compared with clock-punchers at major tax prep companies, Taxhub’s staff is more likely to be fully invested in making the product the best it can be and providing top-notch customer service.

That said, its small team is likely unable to provide the same breadth of service or overall responsiveness its larger competitors can, particularly during crunch times. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which Taxhub’s small team becomes overwhelmed with customer questions or problems in the week or two before the filing deadline.

3. No Military Discount

Taxhub doesn’t advertise any discounts or deals for military filers. That’s a significant disadvantage relative to other options, which may offer deals for active-duty military.

4. Questionable Security Practices

Taxhub is a secure website with a lengthy privacy and security policy. I never felt like my information was at risk here, nor do I have any reason to believe that Taxhub is any more likely to experience a hack or breach than any of its better-known competitors.

That said, Taxhub has a laid-back approach to front-door security that could give some users pause. For instance, it doesn’t require you to set up any security questions, and its password requirements are pretty lax — they just need to be eight characters.

Taxhub’s timeout fuse is pretty long too. The website takes longer to time out than TaxAct and TurboTax. Though you should never do your taxes on a public Wi-Fi network, this long fuse can be a problem even in semiprivate situations, such as an apartment with nosy roommates or a shared Wi-Fi network.

At a minimum, use a virtual private network (VPN) and make sure your computer’s anti-malware software is operational and up to date.

5. Higher Prices Than DIY Competitors and Many Human CPAs

Taxhub was once cheaper than most mom-and-pop CPAs. That’s no longer the case for individual filers and businesses with complex situations. It’s now possible to spend well over $400 at Taxhub for a return that would cost $250 with an independent mom-and-pop CPA or less than $200 with TurboTax or H&R Block.


Final Word

For a scrappy tax prep startup, Taxhub is pretty impressive. It’s among the most hands-off tax services I’ve encountered, requiring far less time from its customers than DIY competitors.

It’s cheaper than most in-person tax prep services and other CPA-run online services, though recent price increases have blunted this advantage somewhat. And it offers some inclusions, such as text message document uploading and no-charge audit defense, that aren’t common elsewhere.

On the other hand, Taxhub doesn’t have instant name recognition or an established reputation. It’s not at all clear Taxhub has what it takes to grow into a company that could challenge the tax prep industry’s status quo. But disruption doesn’t happen without early adopters who buy into the cause.

For more options, check out our full list of top-rated free online tax preparation services.

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The Verdict

Our rating

3.9/5

TaxHub

Taxhub is an ideal choice for taxpayers who can’t (or don’t have the time) to do their own taxes but don’t want to invest the time required for in-person tax prep. It’s particularly useful for taxpayers with complex situations thanks to the relatively low time investment on the customer’s end.

Taxhub isn’t for people who prefer to handle every aspect of the tax prep process or those who value the security of a recognizable brand. It’s also not a bargain option by any stretch — the highest-priced plan costs nearly as much as in-office certified public accountant-assisted services.

The hands-off process, fee-free state returns and audit defense, text messaging document upload, mobile-friendly website, and personalized service are all benefits.

But it’s a poor value for simple tax situations, and Taxhub has confusing branding, a lean staff, a limited track record, and relatively minor security issues. Overall, Taxhub is a suitable choice for filers who’ve had it with do-it-yourself online tax prep, want to try something different, and don’t mind paying substantially to get it.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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