Among the top three leaders in online tax software, TaxAct stands out as a great choice for business owners as the only place you can complete some important tax forms online. It’s also slightly cheaper than its larger competitors, making it a bit more friendly on your budget.
While TaxAct is the cheapest option of the three biggest tax software companies, it isn’t the cheapest. It has made huge software improvements to keep up with the likes of TurboTax, but still lags in integrations compared to the larger rival. A standout feature is that all tiers of TaxAct include access to a tax profession through Xpert Assist. That’s a huge value if you think you’ll need help with your taxes.Keeping reading our full TaxAct review below to learn why. You can also see how TaxAct compares in our list of the best tax software.
- No added cost for questions to a Tax Pro with Xpert Assist
- "Free" filers still have to pay to file state returns
- High-end pricing for a mid-tier software experience
Starts at $0
Starts at $39.95 per state
Self-prepared, Xpert advice, and Full-Service
Video Review and Walkthrough
TaxAct - Is It Really Free
On the TaxAct homepage, there’s a version that’s “Free,” but only if you meet a limited set of qualifications and live in a state where you don’t have to file a tax return. For most people, the minimum is $39.95 for a state return and no cost for a Federal return if you have simple filing needs.
As a result, most people using TaxAct will pay anywhere from around $47 to $97 for federal returns and $54.95 for a state return. That makes it a little cheaper than the bigger guys, but not by much. And hardly free.
The only truly free option for TaxAct is through the IRS Free File program, which is available to a limited number of households earning $65,000 per year or less. If you qualify for the free tier and don’t need access to tax help, consider these TaxAct alternatives.
What's New In 2023?
For 2023, TaxAct supports new tax provisions, such as the new 1099-K reporting requirements and tax savings related to the Inflation Reduction Act. These changes are standard across all tax providers.
The biggest news for this tax software came when TaxAct add the TaxAct Xpert Assist program for free for all users. Xpert Assist includes unlimited access to a tax professional and the option to have a tax pro review their return before filing. Most others charge a significant premium for help from a human tax professional.
Prices are also up this year across the board for Deluxe, Premier, and Self-Employed versions, which isn’t a shock in the current high-inflation period.
Related: TaxAct was recently acquired by Cinven, the parent company of Drake tax software (which is used by many professionals). We hope this significantly improves TaxAct in the future.
Does TaxAct Make Tax Filing Easy In 2023?
TaxAct is in the middle of the pack when it comes to usability. It includes imports of PDF versions of form W-2 and 1099-B, but investors and those with lots of bank accounts will find the lack of support for importing 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, and 1099-NEC frustrating.
The navigation and interface are similar to major competitors like H&R Block and TurboTax after a major upgrade last year. However, there are still some areas where you won’t find clear explanations of what you need to enter and will have to either use the help feature or your favorite search engine to find the answer.
Given the price, it would be good to see expanded help resources and explanations for where to find information in future editions and more broad support for importing all types of 1099 forms.
TaxAct Top Features
TaxAct is a well-known software ranking among the top three tax software options. These are a few features that enhance the filing experience for TaxAct users.
Xpert Assist (Human Tax Support)
A top reason to pick TaxAct is the included access to a human tax expert for your tax questions. While others give you limited technical support for no extra charge, you usually have to pay a hefty added fee for help from a human with questions about your tax filing. Xpert Assist is a TaxAct program that gives all users no extra-cost access to a tax pro.
Question And Answer Guidance
TaxAct uses questions and answers to guide users through the software. Filers can skip around in the software, but it guides them back to the questions and answers to ensure everything is completed. If you miss anything, you’re brought back to complete it with a warning message before filing.
TaxAct supports prior-year PDF tax imports, W-2 imports, and 1099-B imports from multiple brokerages. When users upload these documents, TaxAct inputs the information on behalf of the filer. This functionality cuts down on both the chance for error and the time spent on tax filing.
Note: When we tested TaxAct, we had difficulty getting our W2 to upload. You can see this in our walkthrough video.
Import CSV Files From Brokerages
In addition to W-2 imports, TaxAct has added the ability to import 1099-B forms and CSV files from brokers. If you have stock market investments, this new functionality could save you significant time on your tax filing.
Also, TaxAct is one of the few online tax prep firms that allow you to attach a Form 8949 for your crypto transactions. Learn more here.
S-Corp And Trust Taxes Online
TaxAct is noteworthy as the only major tax software provider that allows you to do your taxes for an S Corp or Trust yourself online. Some others sell downloadable versions for Windows, leaving Mac users stuck. Regardless of your computer type, TaxAct allows you to complete Form 1120S and state filings for an S Corp or Trust online. That’s something you can’t find anywhere else.
TaxAct is a robust software without doesn't have many missing features. However, the few drawbacks that it does have could be deal-breakers for many filers.
Errors Only Highlighted At The End
TaxAct has helpful built-in calculators. However, it only highlights errors once a user completes a section. This can be useful for trying to “get into the flow,” but it can also make filing a challenge when you’re unsure about how details fit into the big picture and requires going back to fix things, making for more back and forth.
Limited Free Filing (State Not Included)
TaxAct limits its free filing to filers with very simple filing situations. Side hustlers, people with HSAs, and those who contribute to retirement accounts will not qualify for the Free tier. And even those who qualify for free federal filing still have to pay for state filing unless they qualify for the limited Free File program from the IRS.
High Cost Given The Functionality
TaxAct is a little less expensive than H&R Block, but it falls well behind on user-friendliness. In fact, its experience more closely mirrors several discount tax apps like TaxSlayer and FreeTaxUSA. Whereas FreeTaxUSA prices its product in line with its limitations, TaxAct prices its products near the top of the market.
TaxAct 2023 Pricing And Plans
TaxAct aligns its pricing with the complexity of a filers situation. Filers who don’t think of themselves as “complex” may be surprised to find that they'll still need to use the Deluxe edition this year.
W-2 income, unemployment income, Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC) and child tax credits.
Itemizers, HSA contributions, People with child care expenses, student loan interest payments.
Self-employed people (including gig workers)
$54.95 per state
$54.95 per state
$54.95 per state
Note: TaxAct tends to adjust prices throughout the tax season. December and January are the best time to lock in low rates.
How Does TaxAct Compare?
TaxAct positions itself as a premium product, but its performance is comparable to budget tax software. It certainly gets the job done, but the pricing leaves much to be desired. We compared TaxAct to FreeTaxUSA and TaxSlayer for a head-to-head feature review.
Student Loan Interest
Import Last Year's Taxes
$14.95 per state
Earned Income Tax Credit
Child Tax Credit
Dependent Care Deductions
Retirement Income (SS, Pension, etc.)
Free Tier Price
Deluxe Tier Price
Premier Tier Price
Self-Employed Tier Price
Is It Safe And Secure?
TaxAct follows industry-standard security practices and commits never to sell personal information. Despite strong precautions, the company experienced a security breach in 2016. Since then, it has increased its security measures, including using stronger encryption. However, the past incident is still a concern.
TaxAct requires multi-factor authentication the first time a user logs in each year and has complex password requirements. With TaxAct and any other financial-related login, following password and online security best practices is critical to keep your information safe.
How Do I Contact TaxAct Support?
TaxAct's general customer service phone number is (319) 373-3600. Operating hours are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
All tax filers get access to Xpert Assist for free when using TaxAct. That means every user can receive advice from a tax professional to ensure they're filing their return correctly and maximizing deductions and credits. This is a significant change, as in years past Xpert Assist cost $35 to $139.95 for federal filing and an extra $39.95 to $49.95 for state returns.
TaxAct also launched TaxAct Xpert Full Service this year. If you pay for this product, a tax pro will complete your entire return for you from start to finish. This service requires a higher fee than the free Xpert Assist while doing your taxes yourself.
Is It Worth It?
Despite performance improvements, TaxAct isn’t competitively-priced for what it offers. Charging for state returns on the free tier isn’t consumer-friendly in our opinion. Even for the paid tiers, TaxAct isn’t a great deal in 2023, as others offer better features with a slightly higher cost or similar features at a lower price point.
It's somewhat less expensive than H&R Block. But H&R Block massively outperforms TaxAct, especially with imports and other convenience features. And tax software options TaxSlayer and TaxHawk offer comparable experiences with a lower price tag.
That being said, each of those companies either charges extra for access to tax pros or only include it on higher tiers. So if you plan to pay for pro support with one of these providers, you may save money by choosing TaxAct instead. It’s also the best (and only) pick for S Corp and Trust taxes online.
Let's answer a few of the most common questions that filers ask about TaxAct:
Can TaxAct help me file my crypto investments?
TaxAct supports crypto filing and allows users to import .csv files from a brokerage account. Filers who pay for a .csv from CoinLedger or another crypto accounting service can import their files into the software.
Can TaxAct help me with state filing in multiple states?
TaxAct supports multi-state filing. Users must pay the state filing fee for each state they file in.
Do I have to use the self-employed tier for my side hustle?
Yes, side hustlers who earned cash or a 1099-NEC will have to use the Self-Employed tier to file their taxes.
DoesTaxAct offer refund advance loans?
No, refund advance loans aren't being advertised by TaxAct this year.
Does TaxAct offer any deals on refunds?
No, TaxAct isn’t currently advertising any refund deals.
TaxAct Features By Version Level
Here are the features you can expect by version-level of TaxAct.
W-2 Income: Simple Returns
Child Tax Credits
Earned Income Tax Credits
Deduct Student Loan Interest
Deduct Mortgage Interest
Stock And Crypto Investments
Foreign Financial Accounts
Deduct Small Biz Expenses
Small Biz Asset Depreciation
TaxAct 2023 Review
Ease Of Use
Features And Options
Plans And Pricing
For 2023, TaxAct supports new tax provisions, such as the new 1099-K reporting requirements and tax savings related to the Inflation Reduction Act. These changes are standard across all tax providers. Find out what else is new and how it compares.
- Prior year returns and W-2 form imports
- Import stock information from brokers
- Navigation is mostly easy to follow
- Xpert tax advice is now free for everyone
- Expensive for the software quality
Eric Rosenberg is a financial writer, speaker, and consultant based in Ventura, California. He holds an undergraduate finance degree from the University of Colorado and an MBA in finance from the University of Denver. After working as a bank manager and then nearly a decade in corporate finance and accounting, Eric left the corporate world for full-time online self-employment.
His work has been featured in online publications including Business Insider, Nerdwallet, Investopedia, The Balance, Huffington Post, and other financial publications. When away from the computer, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, traveling the world, and tinkering with technology. Connect with him and learn more at EricRosenberg.com.
Editor: Claire Tak Reviewed by: Robert Farrington