TaxAct offers customers four extremely inexpensive plans, all backed by a $100K accuracy guarantee. The lack of bells and whistles may be appealing to seniors who are simply looking to maximize their refund and save on filing fees. Filers may have to pay a bit extra if they have multiple streams of income, but the pricing is still tough to beat.
TaxAct is not always easy to navigate, but if know what you’re doing, these plans could be for you.
Is the service guaranteed?
|00% accuracy guaranteed, $100K liability coverage guaranteed, etc.|
Is the service easy to use?
|Yes, start for free online and pay later|
Cost or difficulty to cancel?
Ease of access
|Unlimited 24/7 phone and live chat support|
Are all State and Federal forms available?
Does the site offer discounts?
|No discount offered|
How can I get my refund?
|Direct deposit, prepaid card or check|
Is the software secure?
TaxAct falls short of the competition for user experience and online navigation capabilities in the age-friendliness category. To wit, the filer may have to toggle between screens if they forget to input a critical figure, and there is risk of the software timing out and leaving you stranded. The online and telephone support is helpful and useful, but not for incredibly complex tax situations such as disability income and the like.
TaxAct is also not entirely clear about who may qualify for its free version, since competing sites state different adjusted gross income amounts for those between the ages of 18 to 57 as a prequalification. Regardless, the cost of each plan is appealing, as are the multitude of price-backed guarantees.
There is no significant health benefit tousing TaxAct to file taxes over any comparable service. That said, TaxAct is certainly not for the faint-hearted (no pun intended). The service has a host of limitations, as well as terms and conditions that one would be wise to understand prior to initiating a return. Many seniors may not qualify for the free version based on their adjusted gross incomes, and could end up paying for a more advanced, but unnecessary, plan without the help and expertise that some competitor sites offer.
What other sites make easy, TaxAct makes difficult. For example, uploading old tax returns from the likes of H&R Block or TurboTax results in a $15 charge, and ensuring that all of the inputs match can result in a headache. TaxAct does offer its Premium plan for extra peace of mind, but this really only covers professional audit protection and defense that you can buy for an additional fee with other plans.
TaxAct is the least costly online tax preparation service, but does come with a few trade-offs. With pricing over four plans scaling to just $51, the reliability of the free technical support is questionable, as there are no certified CPAs staffed on a regular basis. TaxAct does cover its bases, though, with a 100% accuracy guarantee backed by up to $100K to cover your legal fees in the event you are audited by the IRS.
This company does not offer physical office locations and the website can be tricky to navigate, especially if you have a more complex set of circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long are my files kept on record?
TaxAct keeps records on file for three years.
Can I use my refund to pay my filing fee?
Yes, and TaxActis the only online tax preparation service that does not charge an additional fee for this.
Can I visit a physical location?
No, but there are online, software and mobile app versions of all four plans.
TaxAct ditches the bells and whistles that come with most standard online tax preparation portals, and gets you started faster with a pre-screening interview prior to plan selection. That said, customers might find it difficult to navigate between screens and have their questions answered, since TaxAct does not regularly staff certified CPAs. The company does offer a $100K accuracy guarantee, wherein they promise to cover your legal fees up to that amount, but the filer would be wise to double check their numbers anyway.
Like similar online tax filing services, TaxAct provides four plans that grow in complexity (and cost!) as you navigate online dashboards. The most basic offering is the free version for most standard 1040EZ and 1040Z forms. Consumers should note, however, that importing previous tax forms from other sites will cost an additional $15.
The Plus plan is the next tier and begins at $25. This bracket is geared toward homeowners and investors, while the next level, or Freelancer, is for independent contractors and starts at $39. The last plan is the Premium for $51. This plan is tailored to those who want the ultimate peace of mind.
Optional Accessories or Add-on Services:
At no additional cost to you, TaxAct will analyze your tax return and provide you with a complimentary personalized financial report. This allows you to make changes before next tax season in order to continue maximizing your refund.
Contract Details: As a member of the Free File Alliance, TaxAct does its best to ensure you get the maximum amount possible on your refund. Alternatively, the service also tries to ensure that you pay as little as possible for its services, and as a result, does not staff full-time CPAs. This means that the customer must still perform their due diligence, follow the interview-like prompts, and complete their tax forms to the best of their abilities.
Warranty: TaxAct does the competition one better and not only offers a 100% accuracy guarantee, but also covers any legal or audit costs up to $100k. The company also offers a Maximum Refund Pledge, but one would be well-advised to research the terms and conditions before submitting a claim. The company also offers a price lock guarantee worth investigating.
Accreditations: TaxActis accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and has received an A+ from the organization. This speaks volumes for its staying power in the online services industry.
Company Details: TaxAct was founded in 1998 and is a member of the Free File Alliance. This is a free federal tax preparation service that was developed between the IRS and a collection of private e-filing companies to help American taxpayers complete their taxes at a significant cost reduction to the IRS.
1425 60th Street NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Tel: (319) 373-3600