With the tax deadline for 2018 hovering, many people are wondering what to do. Should you take time off to go to a tax center? Perhaps not. But then you must try it yourself, and have many options. You could try using the IRS tools and self file (just don’t mess up!) , or use many of the software suites available on the market. There are HR Block, TurboTax, and the TaxAct suite, which is growing in popularity. Let’s take a look at how TaxAct performs for the 2017 tax season. We will cover price, features, ease of use, and the ever needed tax support options.
For the majority of filers the TaxAct is easy and free. If you’re the kind of worker that gets a W2 and files either a 1040A or 1040EZ than you’ll likely be good to go with the free version. However, those needing to file something unique like a 1099 form (independent contractors or self employed individuals) or any different specialty tax form will likely need one of the paid options.
The first paid option is the Plus package, which is great for people who have the tendency or need to itemize. Whether you have a laundry list of charitable donations to deduct, rental properties to claim, or massive tax write offs, you can get the Plus Edition for $15 Federal and $25 State, one of the better values on the market.
Lastly, the Premium package is for those whose tax filings would better be classified as tax cabinetings. For farmers, freelancers and everything in between with diversified incomes and property holdings, TaxAct offers a steal of a deal at $30 for Federal and $25 per state filing.
Considering many top competitors have similar pricing schemes, it’s nice to see that TaxAct has followed suit, and usually is the better deal in terms of cost. One should keep in mind that depending on state filing policies, TaxAct may collect a surcharge for allowing you to pay your taxes through the software, and it is recommended you contact TaxAct with questions on this matter regarding your specific state.
TaxAct Features and Ease of Use
I have to start the review of Features and EOU by saying this: TaxAct is probably not the prettiest tax software you’ll use. If tax softwares were akin to cars, you’d be right in thinking (in terms of aesthetic at least) that HRBlock would be Ferarri, and TurboTax would be Lamborghini, while TaxAct is a Honda. Sure, the other two are flashier and more expensive, but end of the day, you’ll still be making the same time during the commute to the office. To further stretch an already extended metaphor, much like a Honda, TaxAct is easy to maneuver with and understand without any real training.
The first feature you may notice about TaxAct’s online services is cross platform pickup. Say you start on a desktop, but find you have to dash out the door and only have a smartphone? That’s perfectly fine, if you find some spare time you can log in via your phone to answer some needed questions and complete the tax process. While it’s not a feature everyone would use, it’s a nice touch for those “just in case” moments.
Ease of use is incredibly high with Tax Act, as it uses tab based systems to allow for data entry, calculation and answering of questions that may yield to bigger returns. While nested menus may occasionally make editing a specific field a little difficult, many should find it intuitive enough, and those lost can quickly navigate the system. While it’s recommended you follow the flow presented by the order TaxAct has items listed, it’s not difficult to edit or enter on the fly.
Overall, TaxAct has the features you would expect from a tax program including plenty of places to enter filing information, tax glossaries and options for more information and help, while also retaining ease of use, at the cost of some aesthetic pleasures.
Of all the things tax software needs, it’s support. Whether unsure of how to add in deductions, who you can register as a dependent, or if you are audited, it’s good to know someone has your back. It’s also nice to know that TaxAct provides unlimited free online support to help with the smaller problems, as well as telephone and email support when you need the big guns. In terms of help during auditing, TaxAct offers additional secondary services through Protection Plus which offers significantly more services to those who may need them. Not a bad option if the IRS comes knocking!
Final Verdict for TaxAct
Given the current features of TaxAct and comparing it to the competition, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to those who are new to filing taxes or haven’t used TaxAct in the past. As long as you aren’t required to file a 1099 form (freelancers and contractors) you should be able to use the free version of TaxAct without any issues what so ever. If on the off chance you need to file a 1099 you can upgrade seamlessly to one of their paid options. When comparing this years software to the others popular companies in this space (and traditional tax prepares), I would say TaxAct is easily one of the best options in 2017 for Tax Filing Software!
Save Some Money: There is currently a 15% discount on the paid versions which you can apply to your account (in case you need it!) by clicking here. You can also get the free version through this link!