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HomeTaxesTaxAct Review: Affordable Tax Preparation Backed By a $100K Guarantee

TaxAct 2021 Review: Affordable Tax Preparation Backed By a $100K Guarantee

You don't need a TaxAct promo code or coupon to get a deal on your taxes this year.

Advertiser Disclosure: At Slickdeals, we work hard to find the best deals. Some products in our articles are from partners who may provide us with compensation, but this doesn’t change our opinions.

TaxAct is one of the most popular online tax software companies, and for good reason. While it may not have all the bells and whistles that accompany some tax services, it offers more than enough value for most people.

Whether you have a simple tax return or a more complex tax situation, TaxAct can help. It features an easy-to-use interface as well as tons 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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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.

Product

Federal State Features File

Free Edition

$0 $39.95 Simple 1040 filers with dependents, college expenses or retirement income. Start for Free
Deluxe Edition $47.95 $54.95 Homeowners, deductions, credits and adjustments. Start for Free
Premier Edition $71.95 $54.95 Investments, rental property and prioritized support. Start for Free
Self Employed Edition $94.95 $54.95 Deduction Maximizer™ and year-round support. Start for Free

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. If your tax situation isn’t complicated, take advantage of TaxAct’s Free Edition instead of paying for premium services.


Deluxe Edition: $47.95, State $54.95

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 account and technical support.


Premier Edition: $71.95, State $54.95

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: $94.95, State $54.95

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 gain 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
  • W-2 import
  • Tax calculators
  • Tax reform information

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

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.

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.

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, depending on which version of TaxAct you have.

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 knowledge base to answer more common tax questions. Support is also available by email and 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:

May (post-IRS deadline) through mid-January

  • Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT
  • Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Mid-January through May 

  • Monday-Friday: Various times by day, sometimes starting as early as 7 a.m. CT
  • Saturday: Check website for specific day
  • Sunday: Check website for specific day​

May Filing Date

  • 7 a.m. – 12 a.m. CT

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

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.

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.

TaxAct Reviews

TaxAct is proud of the positive experience its customers have.

Bottom Line

TaxAct isn’t a flashy program with tons of extra benefits like some of its competitors. Competitive prices make it a smart option for budget-conscious people who want a simple DIY online tax solution. It offers enough support that most people can file their own taxes without too much hassle.

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

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.

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