- The Good
- Cheapest prices
- Free telephone support
- Free state filing for easy returns
- The Bad
- No W-2 importation
- No in-person tax preparers
TaxAct offers the convenience of online tax preparation without the high prices, which is nice if you don’t want to pay too much for your tax services. The downside is that you also don’t get all the nice bells and whistles that come with services like TurboTax and H&R Block.
- Easy Filing
- Plus package
- Premium package
- State package
- $38 (only for Plus and Premium)
TaxAct’s free filing option is really free, including your state tax return, which other services charge you for. The only caveat is that you can’t have a lot of itemized deductions to file for free, which other services allow. You can claim dependents with the free service, though. If you have itemized deductions, own a home or have investments, the Plus package is the package to choose. If you are self-employed or have rental properties, you should pick the Premium package. State filings for the Plus and Premium packages are $38.
- Tax Prep Features
- Online and software options
- Easy-to-use preparation tool
- In-line explanation of taxes
- Accuracy and largest refund guarantees
- Price Lock guarantee
- Direct deposit, prepaid card or check for refunds
TaxAct doesn’t have all the fancy extras that TurboTax and H&R Block have, but it also is cheaper, so that’s to be expected. It does, however, have a very easy-to-use tax preparation tool that is intuitive and even incorporates some interview-style questions. While working through the different sections of your tax return, TaxAct offers tools and explanations of your taxes and deductions as well. It also offers a Price Lock guarantee that says you’ll pay the price listed when you started your return, which is a nice feature because some online tax prep services raise prices as the tax deadline gets closer, and don’t give you a price until the end.
- 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.
- Phone support
- Unlimited email support
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: User Reviews
TaxAct is a great alternative to larger tax preparation services like H&R Block and TurboTax if you are looking to save a little money on your tax returns. TaxAct offers more affordable prices with some of the same great features you get from the bigger names.
How Does TaxAct Work
TaxAct works similarly to other tax preparation services. First, it can import your previous year’s tax returns in your online tool, but it cannot import your W2, which most bigger services can do. You will have to key in the information from your W2 by hand. Once you have all that information entered, you will walk through TaxAct’s preparation tool to make sure you are taking advantage of all deductions and credits, and that all the information about your taxes is correct.
Once you’ve completed all the sections of the tool, you will be able to use that same information for your state tax return. At the end, you will confirm all the information is correct, and TaxAct will submit your tax returns for you.
You can opt to get your tax refund with a direct deposit, prepaid card or check, without being charged extra for any of the options.
What Makes TaxAct Stand Out
One of the biggest things that makes TaxAct stand out is its free state filing offer. If your tax return qualifies for TaxAct’s Free Federal package, which is completely free to e-file your federal tax return, you also get your state taxes filed for free. Every other tax preparation service charges for state filings, so this is a huge plus for TaxAct.
Another thing that makes TaxAct stand out is its price guarantee. Other services won’t factor in your price until after you’ve finished your taxes, which doesn’t seem like an issue, but tax preparation services often offer deals or change prices depending on how close Tax Day is. So if you start your taxes in February, but don’t finish them until mid-April, the price you thought you were paying may have gone up. With TaxAct, the price you are quoted at the beginning of the process is the price you pay when you finish.
Common TaxAct Reviews
TaxAct generally gets good reviews from professional consumer product review sites, ranging from four to five stars out of five. Most reviewers like TaxAct’s lower pricing model and freebies like free state tax filings. There seem to be mixed reviews about how TaxAct’s preparation tool works compared to services like H&R Block and TurboTax.
User reviews seem to be just as mixed. Every user, even the ones who have left bad reviews on sites like Yelp or Pissed Consumer, really like TaxAct’s pricing compared to the bigger names. The negative reviews seem to mostly come from repeat customers who were upset with TaxAct changing its pricing or the tools it used to prepare your taxes.
Is TaxAct Right For You?
TaxAct is a great option for doing your taxes online, but it is hard for it to compete with some of the bigger names in tax prep. So how do you know if you should pick TaxAct over a service like TurboTax or H&R Block? Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:
- Am I looking to save a little money on doing my taxes?
- Do I have easy taxes for both federal and state filings?
- Do I want to pay with my refund?
TaxAct is the best affordable tax prep service you can use, so if you don’t want to pay the price for the bigger services, TaxAct is probably your best bet. It has the lowest prices of any reputable tax prep service that can process both federal and state filings.
If you know your taxes are easy and you will be able to file a free federal tax return with any service, you should pick TaxAct because your state tax filing will also be free. Every other service will charge you to file your state taxes. If you think you are going to have to pay for an upgraded package, you can probably find a cheaper state tax filing option elsewhere.
TaxAct is one of the only companies that will let you pay for services with your tax refund without charging you extra. Most companies charge a fee to pay with your refund because the company will have to wait for your refund to be deposited before it gets its money. TaxAct lets you defer your payment until your refund comes without charging you extra.