TaxAct Review 2022: Discount Online Tax Software and Deduction Maximizer

TaxAct Review 2022: Discount Online Tax Software and Deduction Maximizer

Naomi Antonino/CNET

This story is a part of Taxes 2022, CNET’s protection of the perfect tax software program and all the things else you could get your return filed rapidly, precisely and on-time.

With mere days to file your taxes — the federal tax deadline is April 18 — it might be tempting to show to tried-and-true business leaders TurboTax and H&R Block, and certainly, these merchandise prime our listing of the finest tax software program. If you are assured about doing all of your taxes your self and do not want stay help, nevertheless, TaxAct gives comparable service at a reduced worth.

While not as polished as main tax software program, TaxAct combines an exhaustive question-and-answer course of for finishing your tax return mixed with a powerful Answer Center offering helpful data for all kinds of tax conditions.

TaxAct gives 4 ranges of on-line tax preparation — Free, Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed. Each of the plans is outlined by the variety of included IRS varieties. Simple returns can use the Free plan, whereas these with mortgage curiosity or child-care deductions might want to improve to Deluxe. Investment revenue requires the Premier plan, and freelancers with a number of 1099 varieties might want to shell out for the very best stage, Self-Employed.

TaxAct covers virtually all tax conditions and is cheaper than the main merchandise, however the trade-off is much less built-in help and no stay chat. If you do not want stay assist throughout your tax return, TaxAct could possibly be an excellent worth.


  • Thorough questions
  • Deduction Maximizer device
  • Bargains for early filers

Don’t Like

  • Repetitive clicking
  • No file import or photograph seize
  • No stay chat

TaxAct’s merchandise and costs

TaxAct gives tax preparation software program on-line at 4 completely different worth ranges: Free ($0), Deluxe ($47), Premier ($70) and Self Employed ($95). Each requires extra charges for state returns — $40 per state return within the Free tier, and $55 per state return in Deluxe, Premier and Self Employed.

TaxAct Free

TaxAct Free’s restrictions are pretty beneficiant in contrast with its rivals. You can declare the earned revenue tax credit score, youngster tax credit score and restoration rebate. It additionally helps dependents, unemployment and retirement advantages and married submitting individually. You can solely take the usual deduction, however you may obtain schooling credit and take the aged and disabled credit accessible in Schedule R. 

TaxAct Free solely enables you to file a free federal tax return. Your state return will value $40.


The Deluxe tier of TaxAct provides a protracted listing of IRS varieties, together with itemized deductions (Schedule A), youngster and dependent care bills, casualty and theft loss, well being financial savings accounts, home-based business bills and different credit like mortgage curiosity, house power and electrical autos.

TaxAct Deluxe prices $47 for the federal return and $55 for every state return. 


TaxAct Premier largely provides a variety of frequent revenue sorts. If you’ve gotten capital positive aspects from the sale of inventory or every other funding revenue, otherwise you earned cash from rental property, you will must improve to TaxAct Premier. Filers who earned cash from the sale or bitcoin or different cryptocurrencies may even want TaxAct’s Premier tier, as will these with investments in international banks.

TaxAct Premier will at the moment run you $70, and one other $55 for every state return. 


The prime tier of TaxAct is reserved for individuals who obtained self-employed revenue (gig employees, freelancers and small enterprise homeowners) or farmers. If neither applies to you, you must transfer all the way down to Premier or decrease.


You should purchase TaxAct Self-Employed for $95, with one other $55 for every state return.

TaxAct merchandise, in contrast

Best for Product Federal State*
Filers with normal deduction Free $0 $40
Those with itemized deductions like mortgage curiosity Deluxe $47 $55
Those with property revenue, inventory gross sales or cryptocurrency Premium $70 $55
Freelancers and gig employees Self-Employed $95 $55

*Cost is per state return filed

TaxAct additionally gives downloadable variations of its software program at completely different costs. This assessment covers TaxAct’s on-line software program. 

TaxAct’s options

Like most different tax software program, TaxAct makes use of a tried-and-true process of getting you reply questions to finish your 2021 tax return piece by piece. You’ll enter solutions by filling out clean packing containers, marking verify packing containers or sure/no choices and deciding on from drop-down lists.



You can drop out of what TaxAct calls Step-by-Step Guidance by clicking on the Federal or State hyperlinks within the left-hand navigation, the place you may immediately entry particular subsections comparable to Income, Deductions, Credits and Taxes.

While the questionnaire course of is exhaustive, it is also exhausting. TaxAct is nice at digging for deductions, however you could find yourself answering questions that do not apply to your scenario. Also, my step-by-step steerage was usually thrown right into a loop, the place I used to be clicking Continue via a bunch of pages I had already accomplished.

TaxAct does not enable file uploads apart from your prior 12 months’s tax return from one other preparer. It features a partial W-2 import that labored positive for me, and 1099-INT lookups relying in your monetary establishment. If you’ve gotten a number of 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC varieties, you will be coming into them manually.

TaxAct’s assist and help 

TaxAct largely succeeds in offering a big database of useful resource pages for DIY tax filers, despite the fact that it is not built-in into the software program itself — Answer Center entries spawn pop-up home windows. It’s not as effectively organized as TurboTax, nor does it have any group options comparable to message boards the place customers can put up questions.

When finishing your return, you will discover a circled “i” subsequent to some type packing containers. Clicking it gives contextual assist in the type of pop-ups, although some explanations will not be very thorough and others merely provide, “Don’t worry, we’ll explain it later.” Closing these pop ups additionally sends you again to the highest of your present web page — a minor however presumably frequent annoyance.l

There are three extra methods to obtain help: via the Help button, through Xpert Assist or by screen-sharing with a help agent.

Help panel

TaxAct’s Help panel is just too crowded — an Answer Center widget on the prime is essentially the most helpful. There, you may rapidly seek for matters or IRS varieties, and contextual hyperlinks present related help as you full your tax return. For instance, as you are coming into dependents it can present hyperlinks about newborns or Social Security numbers to your children. 

The remainder of the busy Help panel contains one other huge hyperlink to Xpert Assist and 4 generic Answer Center hyperlinks. 

Xpert Assist

Xpert Assist is TaxAct’s expert-help function with CPAs or EAs (IRS credentialed enrolled brokers). It’s at the moment free for all TaxAct customers (usually $60). Pricing might change because the April 18 tax deadline nears. 

While Xpert Assist is free, it solely gives telephone and e mail assist — there isn’t any stay chat possibility. Once you are linked to an professional by telephone, you may share your display screen with the professional utilizing a six-digit code offered over the telephone.

Regular hours for the “Xperts” are 5 a.m. to six p.m. PT weekdays, and 6 a.m. to three pm. PT weekends. My wait time for a telephone name in late February was 155 minutes, and after I missed the decision I needed to reschedule for 4 days sooner or later. 

I used to be capable of ultimately reply my very own query of, “Where do I enter vehicle license fees?” however solely by spending a number of minutes researching tax-help assets exterior of TaxAct. In comparability, TurboTax rapidly answered a harder query — “What’s the difference between vehicle registration and license fees and which number do I enter on my taxes?” — and even confirmed me learn how to discover my automobile license charges on the DMV web site. A stay chat function could be a really welcome addition to TaxAct. 

Who ought to use TaxAct?



Confident tax filers who need to maximize their refunds with deductions they won’t have beforehand thought-about ought to give TaxAct a glance. When reviewing your return, TaxAct’s Deduction Maximizer device gives personalized deduction options primarily based in your private tax scenario. That stated, you will nonetheless want an excellent grasp of tax guidelines to make mandatory adjustments.

Those searching for a cut price various to TurboTax and H&R Block may give TaxAct a attempt, however TaxSlayer is a bit cheaper and gives an analogous expertise with extra add-on assist choices.

Who should not use TaxAct?

Those who need totally free tax software program ought to look elsewhere — you will pay $40 for state returns — and people searching for stay chat help ought to attempt TurboTax, H&R Block or Cash App Taxes, which embrace each free federal and state returns.

Fans of superior safety features also needs to move on TaxAct. It helps two-factor authentication with Google Authenticator however none of the usual MFA login options like verifying a safety code along with your cell phone. TaxSlayer and Jackson Hewitt each provide far more sturdy safety features. 

TaxAct’s different notable options

TaxAct features a Maximum Refund assure that guarantees to pay the distinction for those who obtain a larger tax refund from one other supplier. It additionally boasts a “$100K Accuracy Guarantee,” promising to cowl as much as $100,000 in IRS penalties, charges or “reasonable, documented audit costs” associated to any calculation errors in its software program. 

A welcome bookmarking function in TaxAct enables you to flag any a part of your tax return for assessment or enhancing later. Simply click on the bookmark image on the prime of the web page so as to add a bit to your listing of saved pages accessible underneath “My Return” within the left-hand navigation.

TaxAct customers can obtain their tax refunds through:

  • Direct deposit in as much as three financial institution accounts
  • Free switch to an American Express Service pay as you go debit card
  • Paper verify within the mail

TaxAct’s preparation charges may be paid by transferring out of your anticipated tax refund, however that course of will incur a further price from Republic Bank, TaxAct’s monetary companion. TaxAct didn’t present the value of that price on the time of this assessment. For reference, Republic Bank at the moment fees $22 as a typical price for outgoing home wire transfers. 


TaxAct’s on-line tax submitting software program covers all the mandatory bases and gives clear course as you progress via your tax return. While the press can appear countless at instances, the thoroughness of the software program will assist maximize your tax refund. The bountiful assist choice contains a lot of helpful data that will help you file your taxes, however the lack of stay help signifies that you are largely by yourself.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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