Preparing a tax return using TaxBrain is quick and efficient due to its plain data-entry style worksheets. Unlike other software programs, the user doesn't need to click through a series of questions and answers just to get to a particular data screen. TaxBrain does not offer any utilities for planning out next year's taxes. Overall, TaxBrain is a quick, fully functional software, and is probably best suited for people who want to dig into all the data entry with a minimum of clicking.
Version tested: 1040 Premium
Cost: $69.95 Federal + $29.95 State
Time: just over one hour to complete a sample federal and state tax return.
Rating: 3 out of 5 (how we test and rate tax software)
Navigation and User Interface:
TaxBrain begins with a questionnaire showing all the categories of income and deductions listed, and you choose which ones to work on. Then it displays the relevant worksheets to fill in. Along the top of the browser, TaxBrain displays a progress meter showing where you are in the process (Questionnaire, Worksheets, Review, Checkout, File). After completing the return, TaxBrain shows a summary page and provides a preview of the return.
Help and Support Features:
- Search the knowledgebase (from the Help Center)
- Contextual links to the knowledgebase from "help" and "more info" links.
- Live Chat
- Support via email
TaxBrain provides the following utilities:
- SmartOrganizer (located in the upper right corner from the Worksheets page) provides a printable tax organizer to help the user find relevant tax documents.
- Imports capital gains data from GainsKeeper (up to 1,000 short term and 1,000 long-term transactions)
Error Checking and Review Features:
- TaxBrain checks for errors when the user clicks the calculate button at the bottom of the Worksheets page.
Disclosure: The company provided free access to this service for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy