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TaxAct review

File personal, business and enterprise taxes with this tax preparation software.

TaxAct has been in the business for over 20 years and offers 12 different tax preparation software packages for personal, business and enterprise use. The platform got an upgrade for the 2020 tax season and now has new features to help you spot tax deductions and credits. But it doesn’t offer refund advances like some competitors.

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$0

Federal returns starting price

$39.95

State returns starting price

Details

Federal returns starting price$0
State returns starting price$39.95
Maximum return guaranteed?Yes
Payment optionsCredit, Debit, Pay with your tax refund
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Review by


Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and kids’ debit cards. She’s been featured on Legal Zoom, MSN, and Consolidated Credit and has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. When not writing, you can find her exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.

Expert review

TaxAct is best for those who want a reliable yet inexpensive way to file taxes this year. It’s one of the oldest and best-known tax prep software services on the market, offering 12 different packages for individuals, businesses and enterprises, plus three easy ways to receive your tax refund.

It released new features for the 2020 tax year and now has tools like a deduction maximizer, e-file concierge and expert help from CPAs and tax professionals to get you through tax season with as few headaches as possible.

But as with most tax software programs, you’ll be upsold throughout the filing process. This isn’t a big deal if you’ve researched each plan and know which one is best for you, but you may end up paying more than you’d like if you’re not prepared.

How much does TaxAct cost?

TaxAct offers five personal tax preparation plans, one package and four bundles:
Plan and packagesPriceBest ForFeatures
Free/Basic planOnline

– $0 for federal
– $39.95 for state

Downloadable software
– $19.95 for federal — includes 5 free federal returns
– $50 for state returns

Simple filers with dependents, college expenses and retirement income
  • Single or married
  • W2 income
  • Unemployment income
  • Retirement income
  • Child tax credits
  • Earned Income Credits
  • Stimulus Credit
  • Free account support
Deluxe planOnline

– $47.95 for federal
– $54.95 for state

Downloadable software
– $99.95 for federal — includes 5 free federal returns & 1 state return
– $50 for additional state returns

Homeowners and those with itemized deductions
  • Everything in the Free plan
  • Itemized deductions
  • Adoption credits
  • Child & dependents care
  • Student loan interest
  • Mortgage interest
  • Real estate taxes
  • Unlimited support from a tax specialist
Premier planOnline
– $71.95 for federal
– $54.95 for state

Downloadable software
– $109.95 for federal — includes 5 free federal returns & 1 state return
– $50 for additional state returns

Those with investments, rental property and foreign bank accounts
  • Everything in the Deluxe plan
  • Foreign accounts
  • Stock, gains and losses
  • Other investments
  • Rental property
  • K-1 income
  • Prioritized support
  • Screen sharing capability
Self-Employed planOnline
– $94.95 for federal
– $54.95 for state

Downloadable software
– $119.95 for federal — includes 5 free federal returns & 1 state return
– $50 for additional state returns

Freelancers and small business owners
  • 1099-MISC filing
  • Deduction maximizer software that helps identify potential deductions
Estates & Trusts planOnline
– $109.95 for federal
– $50.00 for state
Individuals who need to file a separate Estates & Trusts tax return
  • Includes Form 1041
  • Automatic beneficiary allocation
  • Beneficiary distributive share report
  • Depreciation and disposal summaries
  • Unlimited free support
Sole Proprietor planOnline
– $94.95 for federal
– $54.95 for state

Downloadable software
– $119.95 for federal — includes 1 free state return
– $50 for additional state returns

Businesses classified as a sole proprietorship
  • Includes Form 1040 and Schedule C
Partnership planOnline
– $124.95 for federal
– $49.95 for state

Downloadable software
– $109.95 for federal (1 free state return)
– $50 for additional state returns

Businesses classified as a partnership
  • Includes Form 1065
C Corporation planOnline
– $124.95 for federal
– $49.95 for state

Downloadable software
– $109.95 for federal (1 free state return)
– $50 for additional state returns

Businesses classified as a C Corporation
  • Includes Form 1120
S Corporation planOnline
– $124.95 for federal
– $49.95 for state

Downloadable software
– $109.95 for federal (1 free state return)
– $50 for additional state returns

Businesses classified as an S Corporation
  • Includes Form 1120S
Pay Per Return plan$150 per edition

$35 per state filing

$15 per e-file

CPAs and tax professionals who only need to file a few returns
  • Files Form 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S or 990
  • Single user license
1040 Bundle$700CPAs and tax professionals filing several 1040 federal and state returns
  • Includes 1040 federal edition
  • Files all 1040 state returns
  • Unlimited 1040 e-filing
  • Dedicated technical support
  • Single user license
Complete Bundle$1,325CPAs and tax professionals with complex filing needs
  • Includes all federal editions
  • Includes all states
  • Unlimited e-filing
  • Dedicated technical support
  • Single user license

How do I pay?

You can pay for TaxAct’s tax preparation fees in three ways:

  • Debt or credit card
  • Deducted from refund for $17.99
  • PayPower Card for $9.99

How do I get my tax refund?

You have three ways to receive your tax refund through TaxAct:

  • Direct Deposit
  • PayPower Card for $9.99
  • Paper check

How do I open a TaxAct account?

Use the steps below to sign up for TaxAct online:

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. From the official TaxAct website, locate which preparation package you need and click File Free.
  3. Enter your email address and phone number, create your username and password and click Next.
  4. Type in the six-digit verification code sent to your email address and click Next.
  5. Set up your security questions and click Next.
  6. Review the privacy policy and click Accept and Continue.
  7. Click Add PIN and create an optional security PIN or click Skip for now.

After you’ve completed these steps, you’ll begin the filing process.

Pros

As one of the oldest tax preparation companies in the business, TaxAct offers the following perks:

  • New features. For the 2020 tax season, TaxAct lowered its prices and released new features including a deduction maximizer, e-file conceriege, expert help, pro tips to help you uncover tax advantages and more.
  • Accuracy guarantee. If TaxAct makes a mistake they’ll pay for software cost, cover the difference in refund amount and pay all legal and auditing costs up to $100,000.
  • Long-term access. Access your prior returns for seven years after the filing date.
  • Variety. TaxAct offers several tax preparation packages for personal, business and enterprise use.
  • Import previous returns. Save time by importing last year’s returns from TurboTax or H&R Block.

Cons

If you plan to file with TaxAct, watch out for these potential drawbacks:

  • Upselling. TaxAct will offer upgraded services as you move through the filing process.
  • No advances for tax refunds. Unlike many of its competitors, TaxAct doesn’t offer refund advances, so you’ll have to wait and get your refund when the IRS sends it.

How does TaxAct’s business tax filing compare to other software?

TaxAct’s business tax filing options are best for small business owners with simple tax situations. Here’s why:

Pros

  • Online and desktop options. You have the flexibility to file your taxes online or download a desktop version of the software. But the desktop version is only available for Windows users.
  • Affordable. The one thing TaxAct has going for is its price. Most business plans are a flat $94.95 for federal returns and $54.95 for each state return.

Cons

  • No integrations. Unlike TurboTax, TaxAct doesn’t integrate with Quickbooks or any other platforms that make filing your taxes easy.
  • No payroll features. You can’t create any W-2 and 1099 forms with TaxAct, which may make filing taxes difficult if you have employees or contract workers.

Case study: Adrienne’s experience – December 2019

profile pic

Adrienne Fuller
Publisher

I’ve used TaxAct for the past several years to submit joint tax returns for federal, Colorado and California. It was very straightforward for the stage of life I was in — no kids, mortgage or major debts. The price was also a bargain compared to other services at that time.

Now that my taxes are more complicated with a mortgage and an LLC, the shortcomings of TaxAct have become more apparent. While TaxAct walks users through each stage of the filing process and offers resources, it’s difficult to determine which forms I need to fill out. I find myself straying from the site to research the forms to understand them. If I accidentally skip over a form, I have to start over.

It cost $80 to submit my taxes with TaxAct this year and it included federal, state and a return for the LLC. I particularly like that TaxAct can import my taxes from previous years. This is one of the reasons I haven’t tried to switch. I know that other services can import from other software, so I plan to compare prices and try to find a cheaper service for my 2019 returns.

TaxAct reviews and complaints

As of October 2020, TaxAct earns an A+ based on the Better Business Bureau’s internal criteria but a mere 1 out of 5 stars based on 76 customer reviews. On Trustpilot, TaxAct earns 2.8 out of 5 stars.

Customers complain about glitches in the 2018 TaxAct version of the software that resulted in errors on their tax returns. Others mention unreachable customer service and many share that the quality has declined.

Compare tax filing services

Name Product Federal returns starting price State returns starting price Maximum return guaranteed? Free options available? Photo import of W2? Live chat?
H&R Block
$29.99
$36.99
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
File simply and securely with tax software from H&R Block.
FreeTaxUSA
$0
$14.99
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
File federal returns for free and pay $14.99 for state returns with this online tax preparation software.
Keeper Tax
$89
Included
Yes
No
No
Yes
Keeper Tax helps people with 1099 income automatically find tax write-offs among their purchases. At tax time, file federal and state directly for $89 or export to file elsewhere for $39.
Jackson Hewitt
$25
$24
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
File taxes online or in-person for a no-fee refund advance loan. But watch out for high filing fees
Intuit TurboTax
$60
$50
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
File returns electronically and get taken step by step through the tax-filing process, so that you can receive the fastest refund possible for yourself, and/or your business.
Liberty Tax
$34.95
$29.95
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Choose from EZ, Basic, Deluxe, and Premium packages to support the simplest or the most complicated of returns; including business and investments.
TaxSlayer
$24.95
$39.95
Yes
Yes
Yes
TaxSlayer offers free federal and state filing for simple returns and $0 federal return to service members filing with a military EIN.
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Compare up to 4 providers

But if you’re looking for a straightforward plan and one with better customer reviews, compare other filing options before you decide.

Does TaxAct have audit protection?

TaxAct partners with Protection Plus Audit Defense to bring its customers full-service audit assistance. Simply enroll in the program when you file your return, and Protection Plus will cover your tax return for three full years. If your federal or state return is audited during that time, you don’t have to do anything. Protection Plus will go through the entire audit process on your behalf.

If you don’t enroll in Protection Plus Audit Defense, your audit protection is limited to an FAQ page on TaxAct’s website.

TaxAct customer support

Chat with a TaxAct customer support rep in two ways

  • Call 319-373-3600
      • During tax season — Weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT
      • After tax season — Weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT
  • Submit an online contact form for general questions

Frequently asked questions

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