TaxACT Review

TaxACT offers a dizzying array of packages and plans which is obviously designed to meet the needs of every individual and small business that is filing taxes returns online. Although no clear comparison of their packages is offered on the TaxACT website, we've taken the liberty to compare their offerings and to report our findings. We've also compared the pricing, ease of use, customer support and other aspects of TaxACT to other top online tax preparation software packages to help you determine if TaxACT will meet your needs.

Company Information

Founded on: October 1998
Headquarters: Cedar Rapids, IA

 

Pricing

Prices for online tax filing with TaxACT are comparable with the prices offered by other top online tax filing companies, though we found TaxACT to offer significantly more packages than their competitors, a factor which can be helpful if you are looking for very specific tax filing features, or can complicate matters if you aren't entirely sure what type of service you need.

  Web Federal Filing Web Federal & State CD/Download Federal Filing CD/Download Federal & State Filing
Free Edition Free $14.95 $5.95 S&H for the CD N/A
Deluxe Federal $9.95 $17.95 $12.95 + S&H $21.95
State N/A $14.95 N/A $21.95 for state + premium federal
Ultimate Bundle (aka Deluxe + State) N/A $17.95 N/A $21.95

Anyone wishing to purchase a CD package for all 50 states can do so for $51.80 plus $15.95 S&H.

Small business packages are priced as follows:

Package Price Comments
Business 1120S $39.95 For federal S returns
State 1120S $14.95 AZ, CA, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, MD, MN, MO, NC, NJ, NY (Includes NYC), PA, SC, TX, VA, WI Free e-file for: CA, FL, KS, NY & WI.
Home & Business 1120S $54.95 Includes Business 1120S, Deluxe (1040), State 1040, 1120S federal e-file, federal 1040 e-file
Business 1065 $39.95 For federal partnership returns
State 1065 $14.95 AZ, CA, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, MD, MN, MO, NC, NJ, NY (Includes NYC), PA, SC, TX, VA, WI Free e-file for: CA, FL, KS, NY & WI.
Home & Business 1065 $54.95 Includes: Business 1065, Deluxe (1040), State 1040, 1065 federal e-file, federal 1040 e-file
Business 1120 $39.95 For federal C returns
State 1120 $14.95 Available for: CA, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, MD, MN, NC, NY (Includes NYC), PA, SC, TX, VA, WI Free e-file for: CA, FL, KS, NY & WI.
Home & Business 1120 $54.95 Includes: Business 1065, Deluxe (1040), State 1040, 1065 federal e-file, federal 1040 e-file

Features

TaxACT offers most of the features offered by its competitors, though it should be noted that their advisement about investments is mostly in the form of articles rather than via assistance during the filing process. Nevertheless, we found the information offered to provide a sufficient basis upon which to complete our own tax returns. It is also worth mentioning that in addition to the features listed below, TaxACT offers a Maximum Refund Guarantee ensuring that users who file their taxes with another company and receive a higher tax refund will get their money back from TaxACT. Eligible applicants who wish to claim a refund for the free service will receive $4.95.

  Free Service Deluxe State Bundle & Save
Federal filing included v_sign v_sign v_sign v_sign
State filing included x_grey_sign x_grey_sign v_sign v_sign
Automatic transfer of information from prior year's filing Free to import from a competitor's site only v_sign v_sign v_sign
Real-time assistance x_grey_sign v_sign x_grey_sign v_sign
Data transfer from other financial services v_sign v_sign v_sign v_sign
Provides IRS forms v_sign v_sign v_sign v_sign
Measures and reduces risk of audit x_grey_sign x_grey_sign x_grey_sign x_grey_sign
Provides guidance for investments v_sign v_sign v_sign v_sign
Guide to reporting retirement income v_sign v_sign v_sign v_sign
Downloadable Audit Support Center x_grey_sign v_sign v_sign v_sign
Step-by-step guidance x_grey_sign v_sign v_sign v_sign
Coverage for all needed forms v_sign v_sign v_sign v_sign
Extra guidance about tax breaks, deductions and credits x_grey_sign x_grey_sign x_grey_sign x_grey_sign
Assistance with FAFSA filings v_sign v_sign v_sign v_sign
Guidance for self-employment income v_sign v_sign v_sign v_sign

Ease of Use

Although we found it difficult to choose the right TaxACT package because the company's product comparison is buried at the bottom of the website, we were relieved to see that once we identified the product we needed, using it was markedly more straightforward.

Downloading the product took under five minutes and required us only to follow the prompts. Once installed, we were offered the option to include explanatory videos within the software or to skip them. We chose to include them and were intrigued by the concept of having this form of tutorial. Although we were disturbed by the fact that TaxACT is available in a downloadable version only, it was surprisingly nice to know that the service wouldn't crash in the event of an internet outage. The service's autosave feature made us feel doubly reassured that our information wouldn't be lost.

Unlike other online tax preparation services, TaxACT provides a view of each required form so that you'll know exactly how it looks as you prepare it.

Taxact -in -screenshot TaxACT's autofill services
 

Unlike other online tax preparation services, TaxACT does not tell you how much of the return you've completed as you file. Though this information isn't critical, we did miss the updates as a way to predict how much longer it would take.

During our TaxACT review we found that while the service was unquestionably simpler than its competitors, it was undeniably easy to use and made the process both pleasant and straightforward.

Audit Protection

TaxACT is one of the only top online tax filing services that does not offer audit protection, either as part of the package like H&R Block does, or as a supplemental service, like CompleteTax does. Nevertheless, it does offer a rather hefty informational section about how to respond to an audit in the event that your online tax filing is manually reviewed by the IRS. This information is free and does provide a decent guideline for what to do in the event of an audit.

Additional Features

Not only does TaxACT offer the largest range of tax-related products for personal and small business use, but it is perhaps the only online tax filing company that offers unique packages for larger business filings. The 1040 Enterprise package costs $199 and is suited for accounting firms and those who intend to share their information with others. The 1040 Edition is ideal for small firms or companies and can be purchased for $119.

TaxACT also offers users of their free federal filing service the ability to import last year's information to TaxACT for a fee of $12.95.

Customer Support

TaxACT offers free customer support via email for all users, and unlimited phone support for $7.95 for the full tax year. No chat support is available. Although we're always disappointed when payment is demanded for customer support, we do find that such payments allow for shorter wait times.

We tested out the company's email support and were relieved to see that we received not only an instant confirmation on the website, but via email as well. We were also happy to see that the company's business hours are listed clearly on the site so that we have an idea what to expect in terms of response time.

We emailed TaxACT at 1:15pm on a Thursday afternoon and were impressed with the helpful response we received in just over 3 hours.

Taxact -in -screenshot2

Email from TaxACT

 

TaxACT offers a self-help option on the side of their software, though we found that while it was sometimes helpful, it didn't always offer relevant responses to our queries.

Taxact -in -screenshot3

Irrelevant help answers

Summary

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Positive Features

  • Least expensive online tax preparation services
  • Maximum refund guarantee
  • Wide range of packages for personal and business use
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Negative Features

  • Superficial product comparison
  • Registration and download are required
  • No chat support
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