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TaxAct

TaxAct's affordable tax filing software is simple to navigate, comes with a maximum refund guarantee, and provides support with a live tax expert even for free tiers.

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.

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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 free Xpert Assist help service, which allows filers across all tiers to consult a tax expert at no additional charge.

Pros

  • Maximum refund and accuracy guarantee
  • Free live tax help from an expert
  • Ability to import previous returns from other online tax softwares

Cons

  • No free state return filing

Types of Returns and Pricing

TaxAct has tax preparations for almost every kind of tax return. Pricing varies per version and is subject to change.

Free Edition: $0, State $39.95

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, including free access to tax experts through TaxAct Xpert Assist. 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: $24.95, State $44.95

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 & 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, including free access to TaxAct Xpert Assist where you can ask unlimited questions to tax experts as you complete your return.

Premier Edition: $34.95, State $44.95

For more comprehensive support and access to all 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 and foreign bank and financial accounts.

Self Employed Edition: $64.95, State $44.95

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.

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.

  • Free Xpert Assist Get free 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.
  • MyTaxPlan  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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Mobile App

If you prefer to file your taxes on the go, TaxAct Express™ is its mobile app, available on iOS and Android. It allows you to prepare and e-file federal and state returns directly from your smartphone or tablet.

TaxAct Express comes with a host of features that simplify tax preparation regardless of which edition you’re using. Like many tax services, it allows you to upload your W-2 through the app. Customers can also set up notifications to receive an alert when the IRS and state have processed their tax returns. You can track your refund status on your phone as well. Live chat is available through the app if you have questions.

Another interesting feature is the ability to jump seamlessly from the app to desktop. You’ll pick up right where you left off, allowing you to prepare your tax return from almost anywhere.

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 16, 2023 – April 9, 2023

  • Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. CT

Support Hour Exceptions

  • April 15 and 16, 2023: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. CT
  • April 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 17, 2023: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • April 18, 2023: 8 a.m. – 2 a.m. CT (April 19, 2023)

All TaxAct editions also include live chat support through the mobile app, along with screen sharing with tax specialists and prioritized support.

TaxAct Xpert Assist

A standout support option available through TaxAct is it’s free Xpert Assist offering, which allows all filers to get unlimited access to tax experts at no additional charge. 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. Competing providers often charge an additional fee for this type of service, which makes TaxAct’s offering noteworthy.

Is TaxAct Secure?

Everyone wants to know their personal information is secure when doing anything online, including tax preparation. 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 itself only offers audit support in the form of answers within its knowledge base or by contacting its Customer Care deptartment.

TaxAct also partners with a company called Protection Plus to provide extra audit protection for an additional charge. Protection Plus 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 preparation software, TaxAct will pay the difference in your refund or liability, up to $100,000. TaxAct will also 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. Especially since the introduction of its Xpert Assist help service, it offers enough support that most people can file their own taxes without too much hassle.

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.