As tax season comes upon us, everyone begins looking for a way to simplify and streamline tax prep. For most people that involves choosing the right tax software.
1040.com promises smart and simple tax filing, but do they deliver? This year, they didn’t. However, the interface, customer service, and pricing leave me with high hopes for the future. Here’s what you need to know about the software.
1040.com Tax Prep Process
1040.com features an interview style tax filing process. This means that you fill out answer just a few questions at a time. In the early phases of the interview, 1040.com rivaled H&R Block and TurboTax for ease of use.
Unlike these bigger names, 1040.com doesn’t allow you to import forms (such as your W-2 or 1099-DIV forms), but they make filling out the forms easy. **As a side note, you can take a snapshot on their mobile app, and they say they will have an import feature coming soon.
Some tax software overwhelms you by asking for too much information at once. 1040.com seems to have perfected the art of asking for just enough… at least for the more basic forms.
1040.com supports all major tax schedules, but the Schedule E (for rental income) and Schedule C (for small business income) were essentially electronic versions of paper forms. The interface didn’t include depreciation or amortization calculators. Some freelancers might get away with the Schedule C offerings (they included a basic expense calculators), but most will need to stay away.
Real estate investors and small business owners should stay away this year. I have high hopes for 1040.com’s future software releases, but this year it’s only appropriate for basic filers.
On the other hand, 1040.com featured robust deduction finders and a helpful healthcare section. They don’t have many knowledge articles on their website, but the most helpful articles relate to these two areas.
What If I Get Confused?
1040.com has a great blog, but they haven’t translated the blog into knowledge articles. For the most part, the articles covered basic questions. As a result, I recommend live chatting with a 1040.com tax representative.
When I couldn’t find the Schedule E, I chatted with a representative for just 3 minutes before he directed me to the “Add a form” section. (If you’re a user you can find this in the Review Section> Add a form (at the bottom of the page)). This is the type of response that I always hope for when working with customer service, however, I wish I didn't have to for such a simple question.
The representatives via Live Chat are tech support specialists, but you can also email tax questions which will be answered by tax professionals.
1040.com Plans And Pricing
The 1040.com platform offers three pricing tiers based on filing complexity. They will automatically enroll you in the lowest cost plan based on how you file your returns.
$0 Federal + $9.95 State
$19.95 Federal + $14.95 State
$39.95 Federal + $19.95 State
W-2 Employees earning less than $100k, no children, claiming standard deduction.
People with dependents, child tax credits, education credits, etc.
Itemized Deductions, self-employed, people with rental property, and people earning over $100k
The plans cover filing expenses, access to live chat and email representatives.
The Final Verdict
I loved the 1040.com interface, but it’s not a good choice for complex filers. At the low end, the prices are too high for what the company offers. Anyone with basic filing needs can find a better deal with TaxAct or TurboTax.
I would like to see 1040.com continue to refine their product. I believe that it has the potential to rival H&R Block for the best price to value ratio (especially for freelancers). 1040.com doesn’t deliver this year, but we will review it again next year based on their potential.
Have you tried 1040.com before?