TaxAct is one of the more popular tax filing programs on the market. With a competitive price point and a variety of features, it can provide the help and support you need — without the full cost of an accountant.
However, before you start using TaxAct, let’s take a look at what it offers and what you need to know.
What Is TaxAct?
TaxAct has been positioning itself as an affordable alternative to other tax preparation software since 1998. As a result, TaxAct has been maligned in the past for its spare, utilitarian approach.
Luckily, the software recently went through a visual overhaul, and the interface is more attractive than it has been before.
While TaxAct is often seen as the “discount” option when compared to other tax prep software, the reality is that it offers more than you might expect. It’s worth taking a look to compare TaxAct with other tax prep options before making a decision.
Who Is TaxAct Good For?
For the most part, TaxAct is for those who want a good value in tax prep software. It’s designed to require a little less hand-holding than other products, so it’s ideal for someone who is reasonably confident about preparing their taxes but wants a little guidance.
|Small Business Features|
|Audit Assistance Included|
|Accuracy Guarantee||Up to $100,000|
|Filing Support||Live Chat and Phone: M-F 8AM-5PM Central Time. Extended hours including weekends from Jan. - April. Email.|
TaxAct Plans and Pricing
There are several different features and products offered by TaxAct. As with many other tax preparation software programs, you should purchase a product tier based on the needs you have and the complexity of your tax situation. However, all products come with the following features:
- Free account support (level of access varies)
- Access to your tax return for seven years
- Maximum refund guarantee
- Accuracy guarantee
- Tax document import
- Tax prep tips and tools
- Return status
When deciding on other products, first select the situations that apply to you, including whether you have dependents, rental property, investments or meet other criteria. Once that’s done, TaxAct can recommend the product best for you. Each TaxAct product has been updated with COVID-19 and stimulus tax implications. TaxAct also has a 24/7 resource hub for additional help with primary tax law changes as a result of the CARES Act.
They also offer ProTips, which are designed to give you easy to digest bites of information to help you file your taxes and improve your tax income. They also have a $100,000 accuracy guarantee and have a deduction tool to help you maximize your tax deductions.
TaxAct offers file on your own and file with Xpert Help options, the latter of which comes with unlimited one-on-one advice from tax experts, certified public accountants and enrolled agents with an average of eight years of tax preparation experience. With all products, TaxAct offers account and technical support over chat, email and phone, as well as an answer center for all your FAQs.
Federal Return: $0
TaxAct Free+ with Xpert Help
Federal Return: $35
|If your tax situation is very simple, TaxAct has a free filing product for both federal and state taxes. You can quickly and easily import your W-2, unemployment and stimulus income to get started. You can’t itemize any deductions with this product, and you’re limited as to available forms and schedules.|
Federal Return: $24.95
TaxAct Deluxe+ with Xpert Help
Federal Return: $74.95
|Now we’re starting to get into slightly more complicated territory. With the Deluxe version of TaxAct tax prep software, you can access everything in the Free version, as well as file a Schedule A and Schedules 1-6. It also includes the ability to claim education credits and dependent care expenses.|
Federal Return: $34.95
TaxAct Premier+ with Xpert Help
Federal Return: $94.95
|For many people who aren’t self-employed, this can be a good choice. It offers access to many of the most common forms and schedules, including those you’ll get with Deluxe. You’ll also have the ability to file Schedules D and E, which deal with stock investments and rental property.|
Federal Return: $64.95
TaxAct Self-Employed+ with Xpert Help
Federal Return: $139.95
|With this tax package, you get most of what you need as long as you’re a sole proprietorship, S-Corp, or LLC. You can use the Deduction Maximizer to make sure you’re claiming all your business expenses, and you’ll get help with your Schedules C and F. On top of that, you can even get a financial assessment and year-round tax planning help.|
Other Products From TaxAct
TaxAct also offers other products, depending on your needs. There are business tax filing forms, including help filing for a C-Corp and filing as a nonprofit. There’s also enterprise software designed for tax professionals to use when preparing client tax returns. These products start at $150 and go up from there.
As with other tax preparation software, TaxAct allows you to choose from different ways to receive your refund. Some of your options include:
- Direct deposit
- Paper check
- Applying to next year’s taxes
- Buying U.S. savings bonds
- American Express prepaid debit card
Another option is to use your refund in the Refund Marketplace, which allows you to get gift cards from a number of retailers.
How to Sign Up
To get started with TaxAct, you need to choose your product, and then you’ll be asked to create an account. Provide your email, and TaxAct will send you a code you can use to create your account. You go to create a password, give your phone number, and set up security questions. It’s a process that’s a little more involved than just getting started, as you do with many other tax products.
However, you can start your return without entering payment information. It’s easy to import your previous year’s 1040 and review the information. Once you’ve done that, you can start digging into this year’s situation.
You can import your tax information from previous years, and you’ll have to provide your bank information if you want to have your tax refund directly deposited into your account, which is the fastest way to get your money. You can also sign into your account from a mobile device and continue working on your tax return from a different place.
TaxAct upgraded its mobile app, TaxAct Express, and now it’s much easier to use. You can use your phone to capture important documents, and you can switch between mobile and desktop versions. It also has Touch ID and Face ID support.
However, there are some features that TaxAct Express doesn’t have. For example, you can’t manage some of the forms and schedules that come with more advanced situations, so you might need to switch to the desktop to complete your taxes, even if you start them with the mobile app.
TaxAct has a searchable knowledge base, and all filers can get help with email, chat, or phone. Customers who choose products with Xpert Help have the option to share their computer screen.
Understand that you won’t get tax advice from representatives on the phone. They have prepared taxes before, and it’s a plus that they are all dedicated to tax preparation, but they can mostly just help you navigate the app.