Two years ago, TaxHawk made massive improvements to their user interface usability while retaining their strong pricing model, a record that continues into tax year 2018.
While it still isn’t as user-friendly as some of the high end tax software, it is a bargain for people who want audit assistance protection. TaxHawk will probably be a great choice for small business owners and side hustlers who are familiar with taxes already.
If you're a newbie to filing your own taxes, you'll probably find better options elsewhere that have more guidance.
Here’s what you need to know about TaxHawk 2018-2019.
- Easy navigation and inputs
- Very little guidance, best for self directed "experienced" filers
- Great pricing for the options offered
TaxHawk isn’t one of the more beautiful tax software programs, but I find that it’s one of the easiest to navigate, especially if you’re already familiar with some tax terminology.
TaxHawk uses a top of the page navigation system where you can dig into and edit personal information, income, deductions, credits, miscellaneous, summary, and state information.
Each section of the software has a robust summary that makes it easy to find a section that needs updating.
I was also impressed with the way TaxHawk integrated the prior year’s information to make tax prep easier. Of course, new TaxHawk users won’t have this advantage, but it does make the whole process simpler.
In addition to the general ease of use, TaxHawk has a “Where do I enter?” widget on the sidebar. This widget provides a list of every retirement investment plan, business expenses, deduction or credit that you can think of. Anyone who wants to enter information as they get forms from employers, banks, etc. will appreciate this feature.
The one area where TaxHawk falters is its “guided navigation.” Most tax prep softwares allow users to opt into a series of questions and answers that ensure that each user enters all their income and maximizes their deductions.
TaxHawk has some guided navigation, but it’s not quite as new-filer friendly as some of the high end software. I also found it a little annoying that you need to progress through the screens in a linear fashion – you can’t skip ahead to questions about deductions when you haven’t entered your income yet, for example.
Ease of Use
TaxHawk’s ease of use score really depends on how familiar you are with filing taxes. People who are just getting started might fumble around a lot. While TaxHawk has plenty of help icons throughout the software, the “guided navigation” simply isn’t as easy to understand. Plus, when you hop out of the guided navigation, it’s tough to get started again.
That said, I appreciate the way that TaxHawk makes it easy to dig into the details of calculations. Landlords and business owners who need to use the depreciation and amortization schedules will especially appreciate the information that TaxHawk provides.
I also appreciate TaxHawk’s frequent and helpful “in-software” explanations (which could be accessed by clicking the red question marks). TaxHawk’s explanations were helpful without being overwhelming.
However, unlike many top software companies, TaxHawk doesn’t allow you to import anything (except the previous year’s return), so it’s not a great software for dividend income investors. I also think that people who own more than two or three rental properties may find the interface cumbersome.
Additionally, TaxHawk doesn’t have any calculators that you can use to figure out how much you can contribute to a retirement account in any given year.
TaxHawk integrates their knowledge articles throughout the software. Most articles start with a very basic explanation of who might need information on the topic. Then the article succinctly explains the tax concept and how the deduction or credit is calculated. Sometimes, TaxHawk links out to the IRS website.
I think that TaxHawk strikes a good balance between relevant information and overwhelming detail. It’s also helpful to note that TaxHawk provides a curated list of knowledge articles in the “Help with this page” widget on the right hand side of every screen.
TaxHawk 2018-2019 Pricing And Plans
TaxHawk has three pricing tiers for this year. Their “Free” service costs $0 for Federal and $12.95 per state filing. The Deluxe tier costs $5.99 plus $12.95 per state filing. And “Deluxe Plus” costs $10.99 plus $12.95 per state filing.
Both the Free and Deluxe tiers allow all filers to enter their personal income tax information, and they come with chat support. However, the Deluxe tier provides “priority” chat support (which could come in handy during busy season), unlimited phone support, and Audit Assist Protection. With Audit Assist Protection, you’ll get help from a TaxHawk Audit specialist to help you with an IRS Audit. Audit Assist Protection is a helpful insurance plan, and TaxHawk consistently prices their protection lower than other companies.
Anyone Seeking Audit Protection
Anyone Seeking Live Support
TaxHawk has now removed chat support from its free and deluxe plans; you can still request support through an email form, and Deluxe customers get “priority” responses.
However, only the most expensive tier, “Deluxe Plus,” comes with live chat and phone support (from 9 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday eastern time; phone support only available January through April).
The Deluxe and Deluxe Plus tiers both provide Audit Assist Protection. With Audit Assist Protection, you’ll get help from a TaxHawk Audit specialist to help you with an IRS Audit, although they will not represent you at a hearing or communicate directly with the IRS. Audit Assist Protection is a helpful insurance plan, and TaxHawk consistently prices their protection lower than other companies. You can also use the software to file unlimited amended returns.
Who Should Use TaxHawk 2018?
With an improved interface, better knowledge articles, and great pricing, I recommend TaxHawk Deluxe to many business owners, side hustlers, and small landlords. People in these groups will appreciate the low cost, easy to use interface and the Audit Assistance Protection from TaxHawk.
Dividend investors and other people with a lot of 1099s and W2s to enter should not use TaxHawk 2018. It’s just too cumbersome to do all that data entry. Additionally, people who don’t want audit protection can generally find better pricing elsewhere.
New filers should probably avoid TaxHawk because of the lack of guidance. You'll find better alternatives with H&R Block or TurboTax.
Overall, TaxHawk offers a tax product rivals the best tax software, but it offers much lower prices if you're comfortable without much navigation.
TaxHawk Review 2018-2019
TaxHawk 2018 made some great improvements to their software, and we recommend them for small business owners and side hustlers.