TaxAct's handling of small business problems is comparable to TurbTax, though some of the explanations, and some of the hand-holding is not as rich. On the other hand, TaxAct's online offerings are cheaper than similar offerings such as TurboTax, at $64.95 for the Self Employed version, excluding the cost of state filings.
The program delivers fairly effortless preparation in its online program. For those who have a little bit of experience with their own profit and loss over many years, and a general familiarity with tax rules, the program is a good solution to quickly breeze through putting together a filing.
Some tax forms are not finalized and may not be for another month, but TaxAct will let you get very far along in the process in just a couple of hours. That is, assuming that you have at least a rough idea of what is going to show up on your W-2s and 1099s, and what your expenses are.
There's an extra incentive to get started now, which is that TaxAct is offering its live human CPA assistance, Xpert Assist, for free to all users of any version of the program, including the self-employed package.
The ability to call upon a CPA with the click of a button is a nice addition to a solid offering, and making it free for early filers is a smart move on the company's part to feature this standout capability. The Xpert feature is available on each screen as a button in the upper-right corner of the Web page. That will let you chat with someone during the hours of operation, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, Central Standard Time. The company is currently offering that feature for no extra charge, in contrast to the extra price usually attached for Xpert help.
The mobile app does a very good job as a companion to the online program on a smartphone or tablet.
On the downside, for some less-experienced tax filers, clearer language on each Web page would help to explain some of the ins and outs of filing, things such as expensing versus depreciating property.
- Simple, efficient design for those familiar with the details of income and expense itemization
- Cheaper than some other offerings such as TurboTax
- Free live human assistance.
- Some Web pages can be cryptic in their descriptions of tax terms
- State preperation fee of $44.95 per state is the highest of any package