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TaxACT.com offers a comprehensive tax filing returns and refund system with several downloadable software packages to suit your budget and tax needs. Its most basic package is free and allows users to prepare and print e-files (complex and simple) with a guaranteed maximum refund. This package also includes free tax help and, importantly, audit support should you require it. Audit support is often an added extra which other sites make you pay for, so if you think you may require assistance during an audit (and don’t want to pay for it) then this could be the tax filing website for you!
We were particularly impressed with the data security procedures in place on this site, with several key players in data protection certifying TaxAct as a secure system to use, and the option to use DocVault. DocVault essentially allows you to organise and save any documents you’ve been working on using a mobile device. You can take a photo using your phone, edit and save it, and then DocVault creates encrypted digital copies. This can be used for tax documents, donations, receipts and invoices. This is particularly useful because it means that you won’t need to worry too much about losing a business receipt and can snap a photo or two when you make relevant purchases, knowing that they won’t be lost or forgotten when it comes time to file your returns. You are also able to store up to 3GB of images and the app is free to use.
If you’re not sure which of the three main packages to choose from, then you can to watch a tutorial video which highlights the key features of each software package and what they can do. Software is available to download or to purchase on CD, though ordering the CD version costs an extra $5.95 for shipping. Other options are available for users who wish to make multiple federal returns or file their state taxes, so it’s worth spending some time looking over the specific features of each option. If you’re still unsure, you can search through the site’s FAQ, though you may be charged if you need to call a customer services representative.
Despite the cheering crowd of happy taxpayers depicted on the homepage, Taxact.com isn’t always the most user-friendly of sites, though its software packages and refund services promise speed and efficiency. Its combination of text-heavy pages, overused security logos, occasional popup messages and drop down boxes can be a distraction. Nor does it offer the best value in comparison with some of its competitors. What it does do is offer a professional range of products and ample customer support, with a particularly useful gem in its free DocVault application and storage. How useful this site and software might be depends on the package you choose and how you best take advantage of the customer support on offer. If you’re a basic user (that is to say a non-paying user) then you might be better off looking elsewhere because your support is restricted to the online FAQ and videos; any phone calls you make will be charged and TaxACT doesn’t go out of its way to suggest how much it costs per minute or how long a call will last. Small businesses might take advantage of the site’s federal returns packages, which allow you to file multiple federal returns for a small fee. There is also some focus on tax refunds with regard to charitable donations, which is something not regularly highlighted on other tax filing websites.
In brief, taxAct.com is quite average in some of the areas we have assessed but one or two of its features and its strong emphasis on data protection set it apart from the crowd.
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