TaxAct and alternatives

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Da5id
Posts: 2061
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:20 am

TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Da5id » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:57 pm

I got TaxAct plus downloadable version last year for $28, which I was OK with. I just got an offer from them for this year for a special Cyber Monday sale of $43.40 for the same product. Hmm. The online versions are cheaper, but I have a moderate prejudice against using the online versions, I want as little as my very personal data as possible on peoples servers. Perhaps a futile position, but that is my preference.

What alternatives to people suggest? I could just take the easy route out and pay the $43.40 to TaxAct, but I don't like the trajectory of their pricing...

rutrow2015
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:04 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by rutrow2015 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:35 pm

Taxact is probably still the cheapest ''well known' alternative if you need to run the software on your Desktop (no web forms).

If you decide that filling out forms in the browser is OK, then as a former taxact customer I can recommend FreetaxUSA. Federal is free and state is $12.95. What do you get for the free Federal? Our tax fun includes W2's, K1's, all types of 1099s received and some that we have to issue. We also itemize deductions. I don't know what this would correspond to in the 'tiered' world of pricing because Freetax only has one level.

Note that you can still download PDF's of all the completed forms for local storage.

2015
Posts: 2152
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:32 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by 2015 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:19 pm

One of the ways I got around TA's price increase this year was by pre-ordering 2017 software around the time I completed 2016 in January of this year, after getting an offer from somewhere. IIRC, I paid either $28 or $32 for state/fed downloadable. One of several reasons I'm disinterested in online is I use tax software to model taxes (it really came in handy modeling the ACA). I honestly don't remember where the offer came from because TA's pricing is just all over the place now, as your example demonstrates. Reminds me of how annoying Turbotax's bait and tax schedules switcheroo games were a few year ago. :annoyed

User avatar
aaronb
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:56 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by aaronb » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:45 pm

I want as little as my very personal data as possible on peoples servers
Do services like TaxAct store your data online anyway when you submit from the downloaded/desktop version? I thought I read at one point that some do.

Anyway, I got an offer today to lock in a 30% discount on TaxAct Plus -- $17.50 for federal, and either $37 or $25.90 for state (unclear if the discount extends to state). Offer ends Monday the 27th. Pretty sure I wouldn't pay until/unless I file, so that would still give me time to consider alternatives like freetaxusa.

User avatar
Soaker
Posts: 253
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:21 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Soaker » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:59 pm

I got this e-mail offer on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend last year and it worked out pretty well; we'll see if anything shows up in my mailbox this coming Sunday.

Image

Da5id
Posts: 2061
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:20 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Da5id » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:05 pm

aaronb wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:45 pm
I want as little as my very personal data as possible on peoples servers
Do services like TaxAct store your data online anyway when you submit from the downloaded/desktop version? I thought I read at one point that some do.

Anyway, I got an offer today to lock in a 30% discount on TaxAct Plus -- $17.50 for federal, and either $37 or $25.90 for state (unclear if the discount extends to state). Offer ends Monday the 27th. Pretty sure I wouldn't pay until/unless I file, so that would still give me time to consider alternatives like freetaxusa.
I've been printing and mailing mine, so the submit part from desktop isn't an issue for me :)

maineminder
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:48 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by maineminder » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:09 pm

I usually pre-buy but this year I never got an invite from taxact. Looked around a bit and taxact still seemed the cheapest for my not so complicated return.

On 11/12 I logged into my account, grumbled a bit and started the pre-buy process at $62 (from $75) for the plus edition and one state. When I got to the confirmation screen it was only $40. This was without any offer at all.

Might be worth taking it through to the confirmation screen and see if you get a similar price.

User avatar
aaronb
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:56 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by aaronb » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:58 pm

Da5id wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:05 pm
I've been printing and mailing mine, so the submit part from desktop isn't an issue for me :)
What, like with pressed tree pulp? :mrgreen:

User avatar
John151
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:03 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by John151 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:29 pm

I’ve filed my taxes with TaxAct for the past two years. In August 2017 I received an offer to sign up for the online version of TaxAct Plus for tax year 2017 for $13.50. This is for the federal return only. The state return will be extra. I signed up right away.

durbo
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:43 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by durbo » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:26 am

aaronb wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:45 pm
Do services like TaxAct store your data online anyway when you submit from the downloaded/desktop version? I thought I read at one point that some do.
I had the same question, I've sent an email last year (Apr, 2017) to customer service for clarification.
Here is the exchange (with the names and emails removed).
Subject: Customer Service Request - Getting Started - Guarantee & Privacy

Hi,
I have a question regarding whether my Tax Information would be stored on the TaxAct servers. I use the download version of TaxAct Plus. If I e-file for Federal and State, would my Tax Information be stored on the TaxAct server?
Thanks.
Subject: RE:Customer Service Request - Getting Started - Guarantee & Privacy

Dear TaxAct® Customer,

This product format is ordered as a download or DVD, and you install the software locally on your Windows-based computer. Your product and your return information are stored locally on your computer's hard drive. You have an option to prepare multiple returns and print an unlimited number of returns. You are limited per IRS regulations to five federal e-files which are each included with the purchase. When choosing to use the TaxAct Desktop version you will be charged prior to the DVD shipping or being able to download. There is an additional fee of $10 for each 1040 state e-file.
Subject: Re: RE:Customer Service Request - Getting Started - Guarantee & Privacy

Hi,

Thanks for the information – I understand that my tax information is stored locally on the downloaded version. However, my question is around e-filing and privacy.
If I e-file for Federal and State, would my Tax Information be stored on the TaxAct server?

Thanks.
Subject: RE:Re: Customer Service Request - Getting Started - Guarantee & Privacy

Dear TaxAct® Customer,

With the Desktop Edition, TaxAct has no way of retrieving the E-filed returns. Those go directly to the IRS, and you would keep a copy on your desktop.

Jeep512
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:34 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Jeep512 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:03 am

I used TaxAct for several years.

Since 2015, I've been with HR Block because TaxAct became more expensive. No State Income Tax for me, which may change the costs between the two options. I think I paid $28 this year for HR Block

Da5id
Posts: 2061
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:20 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Da5id » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:09 am

Jeep512 wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:03 am
I used TaxAct for several years.

Since 2015, I've been with HR Block because TaxAct became more expensive. No State Income Tax for me, which may change the costs between the two options. I think I paid $28 this year for HR Block
I'll look into that. I need to file in 2 states every year (K1s from limited partnership in another state). I generally do the second state by hand, both because I'm cheap and because it turns out it is mostly copying stuff from the federal form.

Doug E. Dee
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:18 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Doug E. Dee » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:24 am

Da5id- I got the same offer as you and I'm not very happy with that "deal".

I left TT for TA 3 years ago when their pricing went through the roof.

Not sure what to do now.

User avatar
Blues
Posts: 1688
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Blues » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:47 am

I've used TaxAct for a dozen years or more...both desktop and online versions.

I've finally had it with the lack of transparency in terms of finding the best available price for a federal & state return. They've made it a royal PITA to find the best deal.

This year I fully intend to use FreeTaxUSA as it supports all the forms I need, costs a whopping $12.95 and one can get their deluxe version (priority support, audit assistance, unlimited amended returns), for an additional $6.99.

Plus, they can import the prior year return (.pdf file) from TaxAct, TurboTax or H&R Block.

I had a great run with TaxAct but the party's over.
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

aristotelian
Posts: 4876
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by aristotelian » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:53 am

Blues wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:47 am
I've used TaxAct for a dozen years or more...both desktop and online versions.

I've finally had it with the lack of transparency in terms of finding the best available price for a federal & state return. They've made it a royal PITA to find the best deal.

This year I fully intend to use FreeTaxUSA as it supports all the forms I need, costs a whopping $12.95 and one can get their deluxe version (priority support, audit assistance, unlimited amended returns), for an additional $6.99.

Plus, they can import the prior year return (.pdf file) from TaxAct, TurboTax or H&R Block.

I had a great run with TaxAct but the party's over.
I did FreeTaxUSA last year and had no issues. CreditKarma also has a free federal and state program that I would try if FreeTaxUSA starts charging. If you already use CreditKarma for credit reporting, you might want to give it a shot. https://www.creditkarma.com/tax

Unfortunately I have some complications needing to do taxes for my kids that most of the online places can't handle, so it looks like I am back to using Turbotax.

User avatar
Ethelred
Posts: 338
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:38 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Ethelred » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:56 am

maineminder wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:09 pm
I usually pre-buy but this year I never got an invite from taxact. Looked around a bit and taxact still seemed the cheapest for my not so complicated return.

On 11/12 I logged into my account, grumbled a bit and started the pre-buy process at $62 (from $75) for the plus edition and one state. When I got to the confirmation screen it was only $40. This was without any offer at all.

Might be worth taking it through to the confirmation screen and see if you get a similar price.
I just tried that, and it says $62 for Plus. And that's for Texas, so no state tax return is required.

Their pricing shenanigans last year were completely ridiculous. Plus, they aren't going to release preview editions any more, which was one of their main advantages. I encouraged others here to keep using Taxact last year, but unless a particularly good deal comes within the next month, I won't be doing that again.

We have a quiet Thanksgiving lined up, so I will investigate which of the more esoteric forms we need, then scout out the competition.

Monster99
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:28 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Monster99 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:06 am

Just purchased HR Block Deluxe + state for $29.95. I usually wait until January, but this year my brother wanted to get started early.....

Da5id
Posts: 2061
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:20 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Da5id » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:09 am

Monster99 wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:06 am
Just purchased HR Block Deluxe + state for $29.95. I usually wait until January, but this year my brother wanted to get started early.....
I've not used the HR Block Deluxe. Do they in any way push you towards the brick and mortar H&R Block stores?

Monster99
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:28 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Monster99 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:21 am

I have not had a problem with that but they try to get you purchase their "deduction pro" software for tracking deductions. I just decline and move on....

minesweep
Posts: 1206
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:17 pm
Location: PA

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by minesweep » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:46 am

John151 wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:29 pm
I’ve filed my taxes with TaxAct for the past two years. In August 2017 I received an offer to sign up for the online version of TaxAct Plus for tax year 2017 for $13.50. This is for the federal return only. The state return will be extra. I signed up right away.
Ditto on the $13.50 federal return!

My state has a free directfile system. :happy

User avatar
Blues
Posts: 1688
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Blues » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:10 am

aristotelian wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:53 am
I did FreeTaxUSA last year and had no issues. CreditKarma also has a free federal and state program that I would try if FreeTaxUSA starts charging. If you already use CreditKarma for credit reporting, you might want to give it a shot. https://www.creditkarma.com/tax
Thanks, aristotelian. I've read enough good reviews here on Bogleheads to feel confident with FreeTaxUSA for the coming tax season.

Credit Karma strikes me as too gimmicky from its commercials. (I admit that my prejudice has kept me from exploring further.)

FreeTaxUSA seamlessly uploaded my 2016 return and looks to be pretty easy to navigate. My return isn't very complex and my main concerns were with the handling of the NC Bailey Act (for certain federal retirees) on the state return, and the Public Safety Officer exemption on 1099-R on the federal. Both issues appear to be properly addressed in FreeTaxUSA from my investigation thus far.

So if this maiden voyage goes smoothly I think I'll have found the right option going forward.
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

User avatar
oneleaf
Posts: 2349
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:48 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by oneleaf » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:38 pm

Curious about alternatives as well. I was able to lock in $17.99 for federal Taxact Plus Online today, but it looks like State is $37 extra, up from $14.99 last year! The price increase is more than I am willing to pay.

tj
Posts: 2236
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:10 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by tj » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:51 pm

Da5id wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:09 am
Monster99 wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:06 am
Just purchased HR Block Deluxe + state for $29.95. I usually wait until January, but this year my brother wanted to get started early.....
I've not used the HR Block Deluxe. Do they in any way push you towards the brick and mortar H&R Block stores?
None whatsoever. Completely different product line.

User avatar
joe8d
Posts: 4295
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:27 pm
Location: Buffalo,NY

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by joe8d » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:59 pm

Soaker wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:59 pm
I got this e-mail offer on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend last year and it worked out pretty well; we'll see if anything shows up in my mailbox this coming Sunday.

Image
Got the same. took it and worked out great. Looking for this year too.
All the Best, | Joe

User avatar
ray.james
Posts: 1048
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:08 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by ray.james » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:01 pm

If there was indeed tax reform, I will be paying more for an year or two. But this is too much increase for me as well. As others I moved from TT to here. I will probably do by hand :P
When in doubt, http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79939

ryman554
Posts: 1116
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:44 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by ryman554 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:21 am

joe8d wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:59 pm
Soaker wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:59 pm
I got this e-mail offer on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend last year and it worked out pretty well; we'll see if anything shows up in my mailbox this coming Sunday.

Image
Got the same. took it and worked out great. Looking for this year too.
Considering it say "Come back to TaxAct" and existing customers (like me) who hijacked the promo found their $0 rate went up to full price (or something), please don't hold your breath if you are existing customer.

I, too, am exceedingly frustrated by the lack of transparency. But I also didn't like the backdoor Roth implementation of FreeTaxUSA -- I don't recall what the issue was, but while the tax was correct, I could never get the forms to look "just right", and ended up back at TA. We shall see going forward.

User avatar
Blues
Posts: 1688
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Blues » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:33 am

ryman554 wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:21 am
Considering it say "Come back to TaxAct" and existing customers (like me) who hijacked the promo found their $0 rate went up to full price (or something), please don't hold your breath if you are existing customer.

I, too, am exceedingly frustrated by the lack of transparency. But I also didn't like the backdoor Roth implementation of FreeTaxUSA -- I don't recall what the issue was, but while the tax was correct, I could never get the forms to look "just right", and ended up back at TA. We shall see going forward.
I had the same experience last year with using the Cyber Monday deal which promised free federal and state.

However, after the site jacked the price back up I sent an email to TaxAct support with a copy of the promo and a description of what occurred. They told me to file and pay the jacked up price and once it was processed they would refund the money upon my contacting them.

I filed and paid and true to their word, they refunded the full amount. So my cost was zero.

That said, I still can't abide the current practice of obfuscating the (best) actual price for returning customers and the lack of a preview version as in years past.

Since I don't do a backdoor Roth I think I'll stick with my plan to go with FreeTaxUSA this year.
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

mikep
Posts: 3698
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:27 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by mikep » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:02 pm

I tried FreeTaxUSA/Taxhawk last year and it didn't work for me for two reasons:

1) Couldn't handle inputting an adjustment code for the basis of my ESPP
2) HSA addition back to income/interest/capital gains in California.

Is this fixed this year? If so they are worth another look.

User avatar
Blues
Posts: 1688
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Blues » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:33 pm

mikep wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:02 pm
I tried FreeTaxUSA/Taxhawk last year and it didn't work for me for two reasons:

1) Couldn't handle inputting an adjustment code for the basis of my ESPP
2) HSA addition back to income/interest/capital gains in California.

Is this fixed this year? If so they are worth another look.
Good info. So far none of these drawbacks apply to my filing but time will tell. Thanks for posting this.
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

User avatar
munemaker
Posts: 3562
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by munemaker » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:37 pm

Has anyone tried myfreetaxes.com?

It is for low income people (<$64k/year). We are keeping our income low for the next few years to maximize the ObamaCare subsidies, so this might work for us. I am wondering if it includes schedule D.

myfreetaxes.com seems to be based on H&R Block software and is supported (at least in part) by the United Way.

Just an observation. I used TurboTax for many years, and then Tax Act for quite a few years. It seems like when these companies scale up, their cost should go down. Instead it is just the opposite. Just as they get popular and their sales increase, their costs increase. Something seems wrong.

mikep
Posts: 3698
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:27 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by mikep » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:54 pm

Blues wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:33 pm
mikep wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:02 pm
I tried FreeTaxUSA/Taxhawk last year and it didn't work for me for two reasons:

1) Couldn't handle inputting an adjustment code for the basis of my ESPP
2) HSA addition back to income/interest/capital gains in California.

Is this fixed this year? If so they are worth another look.
Good info. So far none of these drawbacks apply to my filing but time will tell. Thanks for posting this.
Luckily for last year taxact had a $10(?) deal in April and they priced matched it to the $27 I paid earlier so it didn't matter. The cyber monday email from taxact indicates pricing is higher in April but its usually the opposite with them. The procrastinators get rewarded.

Has anyone used credit karma (Free)? Maybe after 1 year trial run they may be ready for primetime?

User avatar
Ethelred
Posts: 338
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:38 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Ethelred » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:13 pm

ryman554 wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:21 am
I, too, am exceedingly frustrated by the lack of transparency. But I also didn't like the backdoor Roth implementation of FreeTaxUSA -- I don't recall what the issue was, but while the tax was correct, I could never get the forms to look "just right", and ended up back at TA. We shall see going forward.
If you (or someone else) can remember more of the details, it would be very useful to know. I think a lot of those regulars here who are still working will have backdoor Roths.

Drew31
Posts: 200
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:18 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Drew31 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:40 pm

Blues wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:10 am
aristotelian wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:53 am
I did FreeTaxUSA last year and had no issues. CreditKarma also has a free federal and state program that I would try if FreeTaxUSA starts charging. If you already use CreditKarma for credit reporting, you might want to give it a shot. https://www.creditkarma.com/tax
Thanks, aristotelian. I've read enough good reviews here on Bogleheads to feel confident with FreeTaxUSA for the coming tax season.

Credit Karma strikes me as too gimmicky from its commercials. (I admit that my prejudice has kept me from exploring further.)

FreeTaxUSA seamlessly uploaded my 2016 return and looks to be pretty easy to navigate. My return isn't very complex and my main concerns were with the handling of the NC Bailey Act (for certain federal retirees) on the state return, and the Public Safety Officer exemption on 1099-R on the federal. Both issues appear to be properly addressed in FreeTaxUSA from my investigation thus far.

So if this maiden voyage goes smoothly I think I'll have found the right option going forward.

FWIW, I also used FreeTaxUSA last year for first time and was very satisfied. Will reuse this year. Only did Fed as I do state by hand.

User avatar
Blues
Posts: 1688
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Blues » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:07 pm

Drew31 wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:40 pm
FWIW, I also used FreeTaxUSA last year for first time and was very satisfied. Will reuse this year. Only did Fed as I do state by hand.
Thanks, Drew. I don't mind springing for the $12.95 for the state return. The convenience alone makes it worthwhile.
(Yeah, I guess I'm just a lazy so and so. :wink: )

Glad to see the positive reports. Makes it a lot more appealing coming from this community. :sharebeer
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

mikep
Posts: 3698
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:27 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by mikep » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:24 am

Blues wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:07 pm
Drew31 wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:40 pm
FWIW, I also used FreeTaxUSA last year for first time and was very satisfied. Will reuse this year. Only did Fed as I do state by hand.
Thanks, Drew. I don't mind springing for the $12.95 for the state return. The convenience alone makes it worthwhile.
(Yeah, I guess I'm just a lazy so and so. :wink: )

Glad to see the positive reports. Makes it a lot more appealing coming from this community. :sharebeer
I remember signing in through ebates and there was a $3 off and 25% cash back or something which cut it to ~$6. Also, last year taxhawk had a special that was free if you haven't filed with them for 3 years and its exactly the same company/software as freetaxusa.

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 13015
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by abuss368 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:37 am

Many years ago we used Turbo Tax and I liked the program. I thought it was user friendly.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 13015
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by abuss368 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:37 am

If one also uses Quicken, I believe you can export the activity to Turbo Tax.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

User avatar
Ethelred
Posts: 338
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:38 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Ethelred » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:21 pm

I just got an email from TaxAct. 30% off federal and nothing off state. Plus download still forty bucks, and it's possible we will need the more expensive Freelancer edition (is this new?)

Hmm.

User avatar
indexfundfan
Posts: 2343
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by indexfundfan » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:36 pm

For those with experience using FreeTaxUSA, does it support the uploading of brokerage forms, like 1099B, 1099DIV etc. ?
My signature has been deleted.

User avatar
Blues
Posts: 1688
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Blues » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:40 pm

indexfundfan wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:36 pm
For those with experience using FreeTaxUSA, does it support the uploading of brokerage forms, like 1099B, 1099DIV etc. ?
I think it will only upload a completed tax return (.pdf) from TurboTax, TaxAct or H&R Block.
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

mikep
Posts: 3698
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:27 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by mikep » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:48 pm

Blues wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:33 pm
mikep wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:02 pm
I tried FreeTaxUSA/Taxhawk last year and it didn't work for me for two reasons:

1) Couldn't handle inputting an adjustment code for the basis of my ESPP
2) HSA addition back to income/interest/capital gains in California.

Is this fixed this year? If so they are worth another look.
Good info. So far none of these drawbacks apply to my filing but time will tell. Thanks for posting this.
I looked at taxhawk again for 2017. #1 above appears fixed, and #2 still doesn't work. I wrote to them asking for the need for HSA capital gains/losses in CA, they acknowledged it wasn't supported and passed it on to the development team so maybe it will be added in the future. Although, if I have only gains I could probably just put it on the interest line to be done with it as there is no matching with a 1099.

I really would like to use this instead of taxact and their pricing shenanigans.

Maybe I will just use taxhawk to efile federal and do my CA return by mail.. CA is only a few forms + federal printed return anyways.

yakk0
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:41 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by yakk0 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:50 pm

mikep wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:48 pm
Blues wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:33 pm
mikep wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:02 pm
I tried FreeTaxUSA/Taxhawk last year and it didn't work for me for two reasons:

1) Couldn't handle inputting an adjustment code for the basis of my ESPP
2) HSA addition back to income/interest/capital gains in California.

Is this fixed this year? If so they are worth another look.
Good info. So far none of these drawbacks apply to my filing but time will tell. Thanks for posting this.
I looked at taxhawk again for 2017. #1 above appears fixed, and #2 still doesn't work. I wrote to them asking for the need for HSA capital gains/losses in CA, they acknowledged it wasn't supported and passed it on to the development team so maybe it will be added in the future. Although, if I have only gains I could probably just put it on the interest line to be done with it as there is no matching with a 1099.

I really would like to use this instead of taxact and their pricing shenanigans.

Maybe I will just use taxhawk to efile federal and do my CA return by mail.. CA is only a few forms + federal printed return anyways.
Thanks for this information. I had previously used FreeTaxUSA until my 2016 return, where I had the same ESPP issue you mentioned above. When I contacted FreeTaxUSA they said to input the information in a different field, which resulted in the same final results, but with the adjustment appearing in the wrong box. I wasn't comfortable doing this, so opted not to use them.

I ended up using https://www.freefilefillableforms.com and cross-referencing numbers against my un-filed FreeTaxUSA forms. Freefilefillableforms.com is provided by the IRS, but is currently shut down until Jan 2018.

nickjoy
Posts: 90
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:44 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by nickjoy » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:21 pm

IRS has some free file services that are essentially the deluxe version of various Tax software.

Last year I used it and basically got H&R block Deluxe fo free. Catch is, you gotta make less than $64K and you gotta watch your logins. They tried to trick me and switch me over to the paid version a time or two (which is how I know the IRS free one was the deluxe, because it gave me options that the H&R block free version didn't have at all).

You don't have to use the H&R block one, I think taxact is on there as well. But there are several. and they will always be available. There is a federal law stating that basically we can never go to a no-return tax filing system with the free file versions available. Part of the tax software lobbying efforts.

new2bogle
Posts: 1359
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by new2bogle » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:19 pm

mikep wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:02 pm
I tried FreeTaxUSA/Taxhawk last year and it didn't work for me for two reasons:

1) Couldn't handle inputting an adjustment code for the basis of my ESPP
2) HSA addition back to income/interest/capital gains in California.

Is this fixed this year? If so they are worth another look.
Thank you for posting this. I currently use TA and was thinking of moving to FreeTaxUSA. Now I will be extra careful to see if ESPP is being handled carefully or if I need to stay with TA.

Saving$
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:33 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Saving$ » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:06 pm

Is FreeTax USA an online only product (appears to be based on website, but I thought I would check with the experts here)?

If FreeTax USA is online, what is the current best option for those of us who do not want our personal financial information shared with one of these services (remember - if the product does not cost anything, your data is probably the product, and you are getting "paid" for it via the free software).
ie - what is the current best option for a product to download and do the return on a computer?

In reviewing this via the TaxAct guide to the downloadable products,
- $62 "Plus" is needed for itemized deductions and schedule E + $10/ State efile = $72 f/ one; $82 f/two, fed & state efiled.
- $76 "Freelancer" is needed for Schedule C + cost of State + $10/ State efile = $86 f/one; $96 f/two, fed & state efiled.
HOWEVER, delving deeper, the $62 product only includes Schedule EZ-C, which I have never used.

In reviewing the H&R Block download products,
- $35 for Deluxe that appears to support itemization, Schedule E and Schedule C (although this is NOT clear) +$20 per state efile = $55 f/one; $75 f/two, fed & state efiled.

Questions:
1. Re Tax Act, is Schedule EZ-C available to a single member LLC? If so what are the limitations of EZ-C vs C?
2. Re H&R, is there a list somewhere of the specific forms available with H&R Block Deluxe download version? I could not find, even googling. Does Deluxe include Itemized deductions, Schedule C and Schedule E?
3. Is the H&R Block download version available in 2017 to do a dry run while there is still time to make changes?
4. How well does the H&R import from TaxAct work?

User avatar
CABob
Posts: 4617
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:55 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by CABob » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:31 pm

Is anyone familiar with TaxSlayer? https://www.taxslayer.com/
It appears that this is for online use only with no downloaded application available. Is that correct?
Has anyone used it who may have some comments about it?
Bob

2015
Posts: 2152
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:32 pm

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by 2015 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Got an email today that the Taxact 2017 preview is available. So I downloaded it and today is going to be preliminary tax day for me. Notably, TA preview gets later and later every year.

User avatar
Ethelred
Posts: 338
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:38 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Ethelred » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:49 pm

2015 wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:33 pm
Got an email today that the Taxact 2017 preview is available. So I downloaded it and today is going to be preliminary tax day for me. Notably, TA preview gets later and later every year.
Thanks for letting us know.

A month ago, they said it wouldn't be available until January, so I guess that's a slight improvement, at least.

User avatar
Blues
Posts: 1688
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Blues » Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:08 pm

I haven't received a single communication from TaxAct since I filed my return last January. No offers, no solicitations, nothing.
This, after being a loyal (desktop and online) customer for a dozen or so years. I didn't notice any mention on this site of any cyber Monday deals so I intend to provide TaxAct with the same courtesy as they have extended, and ignore them as they have me.
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

Da5id
Posts: 2061
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:20 am

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

Post by Da5id » Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:10 pm

Blues wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:08 pm
I haven't received a single communication from TaxAct since I filed my return last January. No offers, no solicitations, nothing.
This, after being a loyal (desktop and online) customer for a dozen or so years. I didn't notice any mention on this site of any cyber Monday deals so I intend to provide TaxAct with the same courtesy as they have extended, and ignore them as they have me.
That is odd, wonder if you are unintentionally spam filtering them? Because I got a cyber Monday offer that was why I started this thread :)

Post Reply