What's Different about TaxACT
TaxACT, like other tax software, enables you to input all your financial information and calculate your taxes. Also similar is TaxACT's interview format and tabbed navigation bar, providing quick access to areas you want to work on. TaxACT offers multiple ways to access specific data entry screens. In addition to the tabbed navigation, users can directly access specific tax forms by clicking either the "Jump to Forms and Topics" from the sub-navigation menu or by clicking on the "Forms" tab in the right-hand navigation.
2nd Story Software provides help in the right-hand navigation. In the Deluxe and Ultimate editions, TaxACT adds additional explanation, which they call TaxTutor Guidance and includes the full text of the popular J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax book.
In the deluxe and ultimate versions, TaxACT uses your tax return information to prepare a college financial aid worksheet. This will help parents and students in filling out their FAFSA applications. No other tax software offers assistance with the FAFSA, so this is a real bonus.
I particularly like the What-If calculators could at the end of the TaxACT software. This features enables users to compare three different tax scenarios side-by-side. Users have the option to compare scenarios in the same year but changing different income or deductions, or comparing calculations for different years.
Data Entry Features
For capital gains, TaxACT supports interview-style data entry, a "Stock Assistant" spreadsheet-style data entry, or importing data from Gainskeeper or via a CSV file. Like the W-2 data entry, TaxACT offers multiple ways to enter data, giving users the flexibility to pick whichever method is easiest to use.
Some Drawbacks to TaxACTTaxACT won't calculate amounts that can be contributed to a self-employed retirement plan such as a SEP-IRA or solo 401(k). But neither TurboTax nor H&R Block will calculate these either.
Comparison of TurboTax Premier and TaxACT Deluxe
TaxACT was a tad faster but not as thorough as TurboTax. Both TaxACT and TurboTax caught a data entry error on my W-2 (a common mistake), and prompted me to verify my data. TaxACT's depreciation interview is a little cumbersome, while TurboTax handles business assets and depreciation with relative ease. TaxACT Deluxe prints out FAFSA worksheets, but TurboTax has a 401(k) Maximizer.
TaxACT Product Versions
- TaxACT Free Federal Edition: includes one federal tax return + $14.95 for each state tax return.
- TaxACT Deluxe: $9.95 for federal tax return + $8 for each state tax return.
- TaxACT Ultimate Bundle: $17.95 for federal and one state tax return.
- TaxACT Free Edition: includes one federal tax return.
- TaxACT Deluxe: $12.95 for federal tax return, extra $13.95 for each state tax return.
- TaxACT Ultimate: $21.95 for federal and one state tax return.