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LAST UPDATED: June 9th, 2023

In this era of constant corporate buy-outs, it isn't surprising to learn that TaxAct software is the by-product of one of those corporate sales. It began as a program known as Personal Tax Edge (which was a Parsons Technology product), but when Intuit bought out the company in the 1990s, some of the employees formerly with Parsons decided to create their own unique software.

In 1998, they released TaxAct, and it is one of the most commonly used tax preparation softwares. Today, it is also available on iOS and Android apps as well as online. Interestingly enough, H&R Block attempted to buy the firm in 2010, but this fell through. A year later, the company was purchased by Blucora, and in 2012 it was acquired by Infospace. It is also a part of the Free File Alliance partnered with the IRS for online tax submission.

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The Good

  • Good for Simple Tax Needs
  • Accuracy Guarantee
  • Importing
  • Alerts and Information
  • Federal and State Prices

TaxAct is a top competitor in the tax preparing industry. They offer 100% accuracy guarantee as well as options to file taxes online, with a software CD, or on their iOS/Android App. TaxAct's website is secure with Norton Secured, TRUSTe Certified Privacy, Trustwave, and SSL that meet industry standards. This is only the tip of many great things TaxAct offers.

Good for Simple Tax Needs

Often described as an ideal tax software for those with very simple tax requirements, there are many good features associated with TaxAct. There are advanced packages, but for this review, we'll consider the most commonly used - Free Federal and Deluxe - by individuals and couples. Though simple, the software does have some advanced functions. For instance, it has a stock assistance tool that lets you enter all of your stock information for the year, and then it incorporates this information properly into the return. There are also many informational and learning resources for those who want to fully understand all aspects of their return.

Accuracy Guarantee

The tax company promises full accuracy. If TaxAct makes a mistake with the IRS, they agree to reimburse customers for penalties and interest. The only negative thing about this guarantee is that the mistake has to be reported within 30 days.


Like other tax prep software, TaxAct makes it much easier to handle your returns by importing data from a previous tax year. You can do this if you filed with the software in the previous year, but it is also designed to accept imported data from TurboTax and H&R Block as well.

Alerts and Information

This software uses "mini alerts" that indicate that some of your information is incorrect or in need of changes. These remain active until you deal with them but don't prevent you from moving forward. If customers do want to learn about deductions, TaxAct provides helpful information about the different kinds of deductibles, all on the website. While the information is not laid out upfront on the homepage, people can search through the help section to learn more.

Federal and State Prices

Not only does TaxAct offer free options for many filers, but their state prices fall in line with average costs whereas many companies tend to price high in this area. TaxAct offers the following federal tax products:

  • Free - This plan is ideal for a simple tax return and is free.
  • Plus - For itemized returns, homeowners and investors, this popular product is the way to go. It costs $15.
  • Premium - Great for self-employed, freelancers and contractors, this package costs $30.

State Price

  • Free -This plan is ideal for a simple tax return and is free.
  • Plus - For itemized returns, homeowners and investors, this popular product is the way to go. It costs $25 per state return.
  • Premium - Great for self-employed, freelancers and contractors, this package costs $25 per state return.

The Bad

  • Limited Discovery Tools
  • No Automatic Deductions

There are some negatives associated with the use of TaxAct, but these are less a failure of the program and more related to the fact that it is designed especially for those with uncomplicated tax returns.

Limited Discovery Tools

Some have complained that it is a bit thin on deduction discovery tools. However, there are more advanced versions of the software available for those who know that they have complex tax return needs. If you are a filer without retirement income, depreciation, and multiple streams of income, you won't need these complex deduction and asset tools.

No Automatic Deductions

Deductions are not automatically suggested, but TaxAct provides customers with the ability to learn more about a variety of different kinds of deductions including:

  • Career
  • Charitable giving
  • Child and dependent care credit and child tax credit
  • College and students
  • Mortgage tax breaks
  • Standard deduction
  • Tax refunds

The Bottom Line

As a simple and affordable way for people to file their federal and state returns, TaxAct is a strong solution. It is clean and easy to use, and it guarantees that you do not forget anything thanks to the mini-alert system. It has a long list of accuracy tools to ensure the best results, and it even offers up a maximum refund guarantee. If you have an extremely complex tax return that must rely on Schedule C, depreciation, and other issues, you can find all of these things in TaxAct. However, if you want to be walked through them in the way that some more advanced packages do, you will not find such step by step tools here.

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CSS Boise, ID

I've used TaxAct for years. And every year the price goes up. What started at $15 is now $115. This year I went through the process, grumbling at the price but just wanting to get it over with. However, the instructions were confusing, the system kept glitching, and when I tried to contact the premium support I was supposedly paying for, I got a recording that all lines were busy and to send an email that would be responded to in several days. I had recently helped my teenage son find a free program to file his taxes - FreeTaxUSA. I was impressed with it's clarity so I redid all my taxes (I hadn't completed the filing yet with TaxAct because I was still confused) and paid a total of $15, which included Schedule C and my state tax filing. As an added bonus, since it was far more clear in its instructions than TA, I was able to get an additional $800 refund. I've talked to family/friends about TaxAct and they all agree -- the price goes up very quickly, it's confusing, glitchy, and the support is non-existent. Will never go back.

4 years ago

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Jane Germantown, MD

TaxAct made a mistake on my 2020 return. The refund they calculated on my 1040 Schedule A was adjusted by $548.17 from the IRS. I got a letter from the IRS saying my refund was adjusted and the possible errors. I don't understand the error and TaxAct is not helping. Their only response is to contact the IRS. Don't they have 100% accuracy guarantee? That's only if they take your phone call!

2 years ago

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Marvin Henry Mercer, PA

I have used the free version of TaxAct for many years and have been very pleased with it. However, the latest version (for the tax year 2015) appears to no longer support Schedule C and one is forced to upgrade to a paid version. For that reason, I will no longer be using TaxAct.

7 years ago