The Good: The software’s free version covers virtually all forms of filing in its database with the exception of the of 1040X. Even the schedule C is included in the free version. Its upgraded federal and state combination is virtually the cheapest combination around. The free version includes all forms so no need to upgrade for any form. Upgrade only brings access to better support and more tax tools.
The Bad: This tax filing software doesn’t offer free telephone support to its free customers and surprisingly, the software still doesn’t provide mobile versions. Average user interface will not suit all filers.
The Verdict: The software offers good value for money considering the price and looking at other programs on our best tax filing software list but the filing process may be confusing for some individuals.
What makes TaxAct one of the best tax software?
Although the design of this software looks a bit cluttered in comparison to others on our list of best tax preparation software, finding what you are looking for is a bit straightforward. Looking at the top of the page, you will see tabs showing you what page you are on. There are help files and search bars also located to the right. You can easily import prior year’s data from other programs as long as you have a PDF copy. Using the free version of this software, users get very little guidance but on upgrade to the deluxe version, you will be able to access the TaxTutor system. This system is basically an expanded help system that will help provide you with explanations regarding the various forms while showing detailed answers to some common tax questions you may have. Surprisingly, the free version of this software offers users a good amount of information including details covering the new tax law changes as it concerns health insurance.
In the Life Events system of this program, you can select different major life changes that may have occurred in your life over the last year. As a free edition user however, you will only be able to select one major life change. Deluxe users on the other hand are allowed to choose as many life changes as possible. With every life change selected, you will get many page of information that explains how such changes will influence your filing. Many people may find this tiring but it is still a nice idea on the part of the manufacturers.
Using TaxAct, you have the option of inputting information on your own or simply following the step-by-step guidance offered by the software. The list of topics is a handy feature especially if you have already gone through the guided path and you are now looking for something specifically. You can move to and from any section without necessarily having to complete it. At the first run through however, everything may look a little bit overwhelming. The step by step guide will take you through any kind of deduction, income or credit that the system feels will apply to you.
The bookmark feature which allows you to return to any specific page is among some of the nice navigational features on offer by this software. It will come in handy if you find out mid-way that you do not have all your forms yet. During the federal tax filing stage however, you will notice that the software has way too many pages in comparison to our top rated best tax software. Also, the explanations and questions are rarely clear. Other programs on our list of best online tax software offer clearer explanations.
Using this software, you get to enjoy the option of being able to view your 1040 in a non-printable format. This is a nice feature as some of the programs we came across in our review of the best tax software for 2014 won’t allow you view this until you’ve completed filing and paid.
The software offers decent support as customer service can be contacted via instant chat or via a web form. The help topics section on the company website is loaded as well as it covers everything you need to know including download and installation issues, OS compatibility, browser related issues e-filing etc. Even technical issues like how to print your returns or import tax data from other programs is adequately covered.