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TaxAct

TaxAct has a robust accuracy and refund maximum guarantee that eclipses most competitors. Its no-frills tax service is easy to use and simple to navigate. It really shines with its Xpert Assist help service, which allows filers across all tiers to consult a tax expert, though the service now comes with a fee.

Straightforward Tax Solutions for the Budget-Conscious

TaxAct is one of the most popular online tax software companies, and for good reason. While its user interface is relatively simple compared to some other tax services, confident filers may appreciate its straightforward, no-frills presentation style.

With TaxAct, users gain access to a wealth of tools and support options. These reasons, along with its $100k Accuracy Guarantee, make TaxAct one of the best online tax services around.

Pros

  • Maximum refund and accuracy guarantee
  • Ability to import previous returns from other online tax softwares

Cons

  • No free state return filing
  • Live tax help from an expert now has a fee

TaxAct at a Glance

Price

  • Free: $0 federal + $39.99 per state
  • Deluxe: $49.99 federal + $59.99 per state
  • Premier: $79.99 federal + $59.99 per state
  • Self-Employed: $99.99 federal + $59.99 per state

Guarantees

  • Accuracy guarantee
  • Maximum refund guarantee
  • Satisfaction guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee

W-2 + Prior Year Import

  • Yes

Audit Support

  • Audit defense for a fee
  • Questions + next step help after an IRS notice

Access to Tax Experts

  • Free account & technical support on all tiers
  • Expert help for a fee

Products and Pricing

TaxAct has tax preparations for almost every kind of tax return. Here's a look at the companies pricing and products so you can find the right fit for your needs.

Pricing varies per version and is subject to change.

TaxAct Products & Pricing

Tier Summary Federal State

Free Edition

  • Basic 1040 filing option
  • Standard deduction
  • Earned income credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Tuition and fees deduction
  • Can upload last year’s return

$0

$39.99

Deluxe Edition

  • Includes everything with the free plan
  • Itemized deductions
  • Child and dependents care
  • Adoption credits
  • Student loan interest
  • Mortgage interest
  • Real estate taxes
  • HSAs

$49.99

$59.99

Premier Edition

  • Everything included with Deluxe
  • Investments and investment income expenses
  • Rental properties
  • Royalty and Schedule K-1 income
  • Foreign bank and financial accounts

$79.99

$59.99

Self-Employed Edition 

  • Everything with Premier
  • Freelance income
  • Business income and deductions

$99.99

$59.99

Free Edition

For simple returns, turn to TaxAct’s Free Edition. It’s free to prepare and e-file for federal returns with dependents and students (state is additional). It’s meant for 1040 tax filers who aren’t itemizing deductions. TaxAct’s free version doesn’t allow for Schedules 1-3, but does include:

  • Standard deduction
  • Earned income credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Tuition and fees deduction

The free version allows you to upload last year’s return to save time. It walks customers through their returns by asking simple questions. TaxAct does most of the work, but several support options exist if you need extra help. If your tax situation isn’t complicated, take advantage of TaxAct’s Free Edition instead of paying for premium services.

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Deluxe Edition

For a little more flexibility with your return, TaxAct's Deluxe Edition might be a better option. It offers everything that comes with the free version, but also covers most tax forms and schedules, including:

  • Itemized deductions
  • Child and dependents care
  • Adoption credits
  • Student loan interest
  • Mortgage interest
  • Real estate taxes
  • HSAs

Keep in mind that you get all the benefits of the Free Edition as well.

Premier Edition

For more comprehensive support and access to all personal forms and schedules, check out TaxAct's Premier Edition​. It expands on the Deluxe version’s offerings to include:

  • Investments and investment income expenses
  • Rental properties
  • Royalty and Schedule K-1 income
  • Foreign bank and financial accounts

Self-Employed Edition

TaxAct also has a version of its software specifically for people who are self-employed. This includes small business owners, freelancers, independent contractors and other entrepreneurs. TaxAct's Self-Employed Edition​ helps customers easily report income, business expenses and depreciation. It also comes with several planning resources to use all year long.

TaxAct Self-Employed users also have access to the Deduction Maximizer, a tool for finding as many deductions as possible.

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Other TaxAct Editions

Besides the versions already mentioned, TaxAct also has options for businesses, tax-exempt organizations and tax professionals. There’s also a TaxAct version specifically for estates and trusts. In addition to online software, TaxAct also has downloadable versions of its software still available for those who prefer not doing their taxes online.

Features

TaxAct offers several options that are standard with online tax services, like:

  • Imports of last year’s return
  • PDF import of a return prepared by a different software provider
  • W-2 import
  • Tax calculators
  • Information on the latest tax laws

TaxAct goes beyond that, though, with other features that most customers will appreciate.

  • Xpert Assist: For a fee, get unlimited assistance from live tax experts to ask unlimited questions to file confidently. They’ll even give your taxes a quick review before you file.
  • Donation Assistant: This useful tool helps calculate the resale value of donated items to charitable or non-profit organizations, which will help maximize your deduction.
  • Alerts: TaxAct inspects every return, looking for any errors or omissions that increase your chances of being audited. It also looks for tax savings missed when you filled out your tax return. 
  • Real-Time Refund Status: As you work through your return on TaxAct, it automatically updates your refund amount so you can see what you’re getting back. 
  • Automatic State Return Transfer: TaxAct automatically transfers information from your federal return to your state forms to save time.
  • ProTips: Quick, easy-to-digest bits of information while you’re filing that help improve your tax outcome and financial wellness.
  • My TaxPlan: After you file your taxes, TaxAct gives you complimentary advice on ways to boost next year's refund with a customized tax plan.

Refund Options

TaxAct customers have a variety of options for receiving tax refunds. Direct deposit to a bank account and receiving a paper check are always good options. There’s also options to load funds onto an American Express Serve® prepaid debit card or receive your refund in U.S. savings bonds. Direct deposit is the fastest refund option available.

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TaxAct Support

TaxAct comes with a Help Center to answer more common tax questions. Technical and account support is available by phone.

Phone support is available all year, with extended hours during tax season. Here’s a breakdown of its phone support, which is available at (319) 373-3600:

January 2, 2024-April 7, 2024:

  • Monday-Friday: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. CT
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. CT

Support hour exceptions:

  • April 8-12, 2024: 8 a.m.–10 p.m. CT
  • April 13 and 14, 2024: 9 a.m.–8 p.m.
  • April 15, 2024: 8 a.m.–12 a.m. CT

All TaxAct editions also include live chat support, along with access to screen sharing with tax specialists and prioritized support.

TaxAct Xpert Assist

A standout support option available through TaxAct is its Xpert Assist offering, which allows filers to get unlimited access to tax experts—this service was free in the past, however, and now comes with a fee that varies depending on the product you pick. Experts include CPAs and EAs. You can also request an expert to review your return before you file.

TaxAct Xpert Assist allows you to connect one-on-one with a tax expert when you need it and share your screen so it's easy to talk through your questions. Not all tax prep services offer this type of service, so it's worth considering if you think you could benefit from a little extra support.

Is TaxAct Secure?

TaxAct takes security seriously and has several measures in place to protect customers’ information and tax returns. Security measures include:

  • Complex password requirements
  • Account authentication
  • Device verification
  • SSL encryption

TaxAct’s website also features security tips and resources to keep customers safe. TaxAct partners with the IRS and state agencies to ensure it uses the latest security protocols.

TaxAct and Audits

Nobody wants to face an audit, so it's essential to find a tax solution that provides support should it happen to you. TaxAct offers some audit support in the form of answers within its knowledge base, but it also partners with a company called ProtectionPlus to provide extra audit protection for an additional charge.

ProtectionPlus comes with three years of coverage for your return and includes:

  • Assistance with federal and state audits
  • Contact with the IRS or State on your behalf
  • Preparation of correspondence on your behalf
  • Tax fraud assistance

You can enroll in this premium audit service during the TaxAct filing process.

TaxAct Guarantees

One of TaxAct’s strongest features is its guarantees. TaxAct has two guarantees in place that stand out compared to its competitors:

  • $100k Accuracy and Maximum Refund Guarantee: TaxAct guarantees its software is 100% accurate and will calculate the maximum refund for your return. If an error occurs that leads to a smaller refund or larger tax liability than you receive using another tax prep software, TaxAct will pay the difference in your refund or liability, up to $100,000 and refund your software fees.
  • Satisfaction Guarantee: Customers who aren’t satisfied with their TaxAct product can simply discontinue using the product before billing occurs. Unfortunately, there is no option for refunds after printing or e-filing a tax return.

Bottom Line

TaxAct's competitive prices make it a smart option for budget-conscious people who want a simple DIY online tax solution.

Those with more complex needs or who could benefit from extra support can pay an additional fee to use TaxAct's Xpert Assist service to file their taxes without too much hassle.

Tax Filing Made Easy

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KP

Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne is a personal finance, credit card, and travel writer. He is the family travel and budget expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids. His work has appeared on several websites, including FinanceBuzz, Credit Karma, Millennial Money, Club Thrifty, Student Loan Planner and Slickdeals.