Personal Finance
January 9, 2017

TaxAct Review

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One of the key ingredients that make TaxAct a worthy option for online tax prep is its affordability. Saving money is the primary goal around tax time, and TaxAct delivers. This software option provides a variety of levels with different features and price points so consumers can purchase what they really need.

For a solid tax software option that offers versatility and affordability, TaxAct is a great option to consider. Read this TaxAct review to learn more about the features of this program and the different versions available, as well as the downsides of this product.

TaxACT Review

Get Started with TaxAct

TaxACT Review image
  • Price: TaxACT has three different tiers of service, Free, PLUS ($37), and PREMIUM ($47).
  • Packages: The Free package is for 1040EZ and 1040A filers and includes a free state return. The PLUS package is for those who itemize, own their own home or have investment income, this $37 package is the best TaxAct option. The PREMIUM package includes filing for the self-employed, contractors and freelancers.
  • State filing: State filing is free in the FREE package, which no other tax service offers. State filings for other packages are $38 each.
  • Audit protection: TaxAct offers basic audit support in the Support section of its site. It includes all the information you’ll need regardless of what type of audit notice you’ve received from the IRS. You can also call the support phone number to have someone talk you through the audit process. TaxAct does not offer audit representation.
  • Customer service: TaxAct is one of the only tax preparation services to offer unlimited email support for any tax questions you have. You also have phone support if you need it. The TaxAct site also offers a slew of FAQs and information in its Support section, and also has a blog with useful information.

TaxAct 2017 is a cost-effective tax preparation program that has greatly improved over previous versions. Its characteristics include the following:

  • Extremely affordable option when compared to its competition
  • Comprehensive free tier
  • Updated user interface
  • Price guarantee to ensure users receive the lowest prices available
  • Easy review features
  • Editing functions for importing information
  • Alert system for problems
  • DocVault app that helps users keep track of documents

TaxAct 2017 offers different tiers that customers can select from. The higher-priced tiers include all of the features of the lower-priced tiers.

TaxAct is easy to use. First, you enter personal information about the taxpayer and his or her dependents. Then, the software gives you the option of walking through a guided navigation or skipping to those parts that are only relevant to you. By clicking on “Review,” you can see the information that you input into different categories, such as “Life Events” or other tax information. As you input information, mini-alerts might pop up if something is incorrect or incomplete. This helps you prevent avoidable mistakes that would delay the tax return.

The primary difference between TaxAct and its competitors is that TaxAct provides a number of different models and filing options. It is ideal for freelancers, independent contractors and self-employed workers who need a number of different filing options but who are looking for a better price than competitors offer for their premium versions. Let’s delve into some more information about TaxAct 2017 options and features.

TaxAct Premium

TaxAct Premium offers a number of key benefits to consumers, including the ability to open up all available schedules. This feature makes it ideal for independent contractors and freelancers to use the program with ease.

The program also provides support for Schedule C and Schedule F in case you run into any problems related to self-employment or complicated tax situations. For these reasons, people with businesses, rental properties and farming income often choose this high-tier option. The streamlined depreciation tool helps you maximize your tax savings. Additionally, TaxAct Premium features reporting for capital gains income and losses.

TaxAct Premium Cost

The TaxAct Premium Cost provides one of the most appealing aspects of the program with a low cost:

  • Federal: $19.99
  • State: $14.99

This price point makes it the most affordable way on the market to pay self-employment taxes. You can use TaxAct Premium here, with 15 percent off.

TaxAct Plus

TaxAct Plus unlocks more than 300 tax deductions and credits than TaxAct Premium and TaxAct Premium Cost provide. TaxAct Plus also helps to track all donations that a taxpayer made for the year.

The TaxAct Plus version is the most popular option, boasting helpful tools to help individuals get their taxes filed and maximize deductions and tax credits. Homeowners, investors and other people who do not have businesses or rental properties often opt for TaxAct Plus.

TaxAct Plus Cost

The TaxAct Plus Cost scrapes a few dollars off the price tag, making filings more affordable. The filing costs include the following:

  • Federal: $14.99
  • State: $14.99

You can use TaxAct Plus here, with 15 percent off.

TaxAct Basic

TaxAct Basic provides import options for previous year’s tax returns. The program also includes TaxAct Life Events, which helps you maximize your deductions. The support options are greater than they are for the free version via TaxAct Online Support. TaxAct Basic also includes improved scanning functionality to detect errors or other problem areas.

TaxAct Basic Cost

The TaxAct Basic cost is among the lowest in the industry:

  • Federal: $9.99
  • State: $9.99

You can use TaxAct Basic here.

TaxAct Free

TaxAct Free is, of course, the most affordable option if you consider cost alone. You may wonder, is TaxAct really free? The answer is yes. You can certainly use TaxAct Free without having to pay to file your taxes.

TaxAct Free offers some great options, including software that can quickly find answers to tax-related questions, an email hotline for users to ask specific questions about their particular tax situation, free federal filing and free state filing. When you use this version of the software, for a low one-time fee of $7.99, you can pay for phone support to talk to a TaxAct professional if you need help more urgently. Besides Turbo Tax’s Absolute Zero option, which is very limited because it only applies to 1040A and 1040EZ filing forms, TaxAct Free is the only truly free tax software option.

While this version may work for many people, it does not contain all of the features of the other options. The email hotline can be helpful, but it is slower than the real-time support offered through the live chat feature. Additionally, the ability to import other documents is very limited. You can use TaxAct Free here.

TaxAct Professional

TaxAct Professional is the solution for professional tax preparers who need dependable tools that allow them to print an unlimited number of federal returns. This software package provides tools that help tax professionals organize client files, increase accuracy and save time on tax preparation.

Up-to-date tax forms are included with the package. Different editions are available for different tax filing types. The Client Manager feature helps tax professionals to manage their client lists from one location. This tool also allows professionals to quickly collect all of the information that they need from one convenient location.

The import options that come with the TaxAct software allow professionals to import previous year’s tax returns, W-2 forms, stock transactions and more. There is also an exclusive TaxAct customer service line that tax professionals can contact through phone or email to assist them. Tax professionals can also easily track the status of their clients’ returns and provide them with reports to impress clients.

TaxAct 2017 includes comprehensive and helpful calculators. TaxAct 2017 taxpayers can go to taxact.com and input basic information to get an estimate of their tax refund or tax bill. Tax professionals can also access a number of handy calculators and tax tools to provide customized tax planning information to their customers.

There are several ways to receive assistance from a TaxAct professional. Email support is always free regardless of the type of product you purchased. The paid-for versions include the ability to chat with a live TaxAct customer service agent. Phone support may be free or may come at a one-time fee, depending on the version that you purchase. For more information, you can also check out the extensive list of tax topics and questions and answers on taxact.com in the Answer Center.

For savvy customers who want to save even more, TaxAct Online sometimes has special promo codes that will shave off a little from the price tag for this software. You can find these promotions by searching for “TaxAct promotion code” online.

When making a TaxAct review, it is important to compare TaxAct with its main competitor, TurboTax. TurboTax has long been an industry leader. TurboTax does offer some features that may appeal to customers, such as the following:

  • The ability to import prior year returns
  • A sleek interface
  • Full mobile access
  • Enhanced deduction finder
  • Linked definitions that are easier to read

While these features are nice, customers often must pay a much higher premium to get them, compared to TaxAct’s very low price point.

TaxAct also has features that are very comparable to those of TurboTax, including extensive support from TaxAct professionals. Additionally, TaxAct features a final review feature that is comparable to that of TurboTax. Three color codes make it easy to detect possible errors. A red alert means that there is an inconsistent response or incomplete information. Yellow means that there may be a problem somewhere or that an additional action is necessary. A green alert means that the taxpayer is ready to file and additional ways to save money are listed. If there are any errors, the TaxAct software shows the error immediately and provides a blank field for the taxpayer to provide the accurate answer.

TaxAct is a purposeful product. Its developers wanted to be able to undercut the competitors without sacrificing the quality of the product. TaxAct can help taxpayers prepare their own taxes even if they have complicated tax returns.

While some of the higher-priced options may have a slicker interface than the current TaxAct versions come equipped with, TaxAct reviews usually praise the clean look of the program and its ease of use. These characteristics have a much more direct effect on a person’s tax filing ability than all of the bells and whistles that taxpayers pay for with higher-priced options. If you are looking for an affordable way to file your taxes this tax season, a TaxAct download is likely the way to go.

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TaxAct
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