TaxAct

TaxAct is a solid and cost-effective means to file taxes. The company boasts multiple guarantees, audit liability coverage and 24/7 telephone and live chat support.

18 Ratings - Write Review
7.4
Grand Score
8.2
User Score
7.4
Grand Score
8.2
User Score
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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.

Grandfolk Scoring
Cost 10/10
Warranty 10/10
Ease 10/10
Cancellation 10/10
Customer support 10/10
Restrictions 10/10
Discounts 6/10
Disbursement options 8/10
Security 10/10
Cost
One-time fee
$0-$51
Warranty
Is the service guaranteed?
00% accuracy guaranteed, $100K liability coverage guaranteed, etc.
Ease
Is the service easy to use?
Yes, start for free online and pay later
Cancellation
Cost or difficulty to cancel?
No difficulty
Customer support
Ease of access
Unlimited 24/7 phone and live chat support
Restrictions
Are all State and Federal forms available?
Yes
Discounts
Does the site offer discounts?
No discount offered
Disbursement options
How can I get my refund?
Direct deposit, prepaid card or check
Security
Is the software secure?
Yes
Age Score:
6
50-64 Years
6
65-74 Years
5
75-84 Years
4
85-Above

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.

Health Score:
7
Great Health
6
Good Health
4
Fair Health
4
Poor Health

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.

Pros:

  • TaxAct offers free extensions for those who qualify.
  • TaxAct is available in any state, as well as for those living abroad with foreign addresses.
  • The company guarantees a 100% accurate return or up to $100K to cover your audit.
  • There are few hidden fees, and you get what you pay for with this service.
  • There is no additional charge if you decide to use your refund to pay for the filing fee.

Cons:

  • TaxAct comes with a host of limitations based on age and an adjusted gross income of $51,000 or less.
  • Navigating between input screens requires an inordinate amount of clicking and searching.
  • Audit representation can cost an additional $50 in the event you need professional assistance.
  • There are no certified CPAs on staff, despite telephone and online assistance being available 24/7.

Bottom Line:

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.

More Information:

Product Details

Overview:

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.

Package Details:

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.

Additional Company Details

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.

Contact: 

TaxAct
1425 60th Street NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Tel: (319) 373-3600
Website: https://www.taxact.com/press/contact

Kate Papenberg - Senior Advisor

Kate is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.