TaxACT Review

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Many people find that they can save money by preparing their own taxes. However, it can be tedious and difficult to fill out all those forms by hand — and then have to make sure you are figuring your tax liability correctly. One way you can solve that problem is to use tax preparation software. Using your own software can help you easily enter your information, and then figure your taxes.

One of the options you have for tax software is TaxACT by 2nd Story Software. TaxACT has some of the same features that you will find with other tax prep software packages, as well as some different features.

Different Versions of TaxACT

Like most tax software, TaxACT allows you to enter information into various fields, and then it figures your tax liability and prepares the forms for you. You can use e-file with TaxACT make it very convenient. You can get different versions of the 1040 Form, as well as various Schedules.

There are three different options for TaxACT:

  1. Standard: This version is free for your federal tax return, and $13.95 for each state tax return that you fill out.
  2. Deluxe: This version adds tax tips as you work through the forms, as well as advice for different life changes. There are even FAFSA worksheets for those who will be applying for federal student aid. You also receive free phone support. The cost for this is $12.95 for your federal tax return, plus $13.95 for each state tax return.
  3. Ultimate: You get everything above, but you get one state tax return included. So the total cost is $19.95. If you want the state tax return, and you expect that you would like some of the bonuses in the Deluxe version, this is likely to be the best value.

One of the great bonuses offered is the FAFSA help, as well as the free phone support with with the Deluxe and Ultimate versions. These are not items seen often with tax returns, especially the FAFSA help.

Downsides to TaxACT

While there are some definite perks and advantages to TaxACT, there are also some downsides. One of them is that the data entry can be somewhat cumbersome. Some of the data entry is spread out over more screens than it needs to be, while many other tax programs have the data entry for each form on a single screen, or on one screen. Additionally, the user interface and the look of TaxACT isn’t as slick as what you might see with other tax prep software.

The interface issue isn’t such a big deal, though, since TaxACT has an easy to use navigation bar. Plus, the low-cost pricing of TaxACT means that many people are willing to do without some of the frills that might come with other tax prep software packages.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a low-cost tax prep program, TaxACT can be a good choice. You won’t be able to do your home business return, but you can take care of your more “regular” returns fairly easily, including your state tax return, and it has the bonus of being helpful to parents of college students who need to fill out the FAFSA.

{ 13 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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13 Responses to “TaxACT Review”

  1. Dawn says:

    I’ve used TaxAct for the past seven or eight years. It’s always been so simple and easy to use even though I have a somewhat complicated return. I can’t understand why people pay double for the other programs on the market.

    • billsnider says:

      I used it last year and thought it was fine. Previously I used TaxCut. I switched based on price.

      I also found over the years that they give you the same result.

      Bill Snider

  2. cvargo says:

    does anyone have a comparison maybe of TaxAct and TurboTax? I have been using turbo tax for YEARS, and have never had any problems (pretty simple return with itemizing). I like how turbo tax helps me find tax breaks that i might have not known of. Even though i spend close to $45 each year for the software it seems worth it, but i would switch if the products are comparable

    • billsnider says:

      When i was working, with did a study about this question. We did our returns on different software. We all got the same results. The only time I have read where you may get a different result is on oddball deductions.

      Bill Snider

  3. Bey says:

    I’ve used TaxAct since my TY2000 return, and always found it easy. Importing your last year’s return cuts down on data entry, and following the Q & A to get through your forms makes it a breeze. $20 for the ultimate version, which includes your federal e-file, but you’ll have to pay an additional fee for your state e-file. Still pretty darned cheap for the quality and accuracy you get.

  4. Shirley says:

    I have also used TAXact since 2000 and I have always been happy with it. Before I retired I especially lked the way it compares the present return to the year before return to double check any discrepancies. (Since retiring, not much changes.)

    I would definitely recommend this software.

  5. Steven says:

    I’ve used both in recent years, depending on which I could get for free (IRS or deals).

    The GUI in TaxACT is outdated, and definately a little more confusing that TurboTax. But it does the same job, just TurboTax is a little easier on the eyes and less going back and forth between screens.

    The main convenience of using the same program is usually importing prior year data, saving a few minutes.

  6. Dave says:

    I’ve been using TaxACT since 2000 and when I first made my switech from Turbo Tax, I thought it was great. Haven’t used TT since then though, so I can’t say. Being able to import your info from Last year is a great tool and I also like being able to compare, side by side, what I filed this year and last year.

  7. Shirley says:

    Using TaxACT, I calculated our tax forms and e-filed them in about one hour on Sunday 2/12. Thursday morning 2/16, the refund showed as deposited in our checking account.

    Granted that our income situation is an easy one with little if anything to be disputed, importing the info from the previous year made filing these forms a simple task.

    In the twelve years that I have used this software, from start to refund deposit, this was the quickest time yet!

  8. Daniel W Oliver says:

    Tax Act for 2011 is the worst user unfrendily program yet. I AM A SIX YEAR USER of Tax Act! TOO MANY ERROR REPORTS and flags. NO 1-800 SUPPORT NUMBER. Hung up on Roth IRA completion on a distribution. Flagged and would not help find easy solution. Finished on Turbo Tax in a just a few minuets with the help in the program without any hassel and good explanation of what to do. No comparison hear ! Played with Tax Act For hours but could not complete!!! Don’t waste time and money on Tact Act

  9. Tom Robinson says:

    I thought TaxAct was free. I entered all my info and went to print and was informed to get my Cr Cd for the $9.95 fee. What gives?

  10. Dan says:

    TaxAct sucks. I e-filed my returns to Fed and State of GA weeks ago. I have not received the email confirmations, neither the IRS or GA recognizes me on their respective “Where’s my refund?” sections and there is no way to contact TaxAct by phone. I have no idea where my returns are or whether they have been received.

  11. jurupa55 says:

    I found a problem with their code that would result in a substantial increase in taxes (incorrectly). They denied the issue was a problem, and would not refund me the purchase price.

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