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TaxBrain prides itself on being a user-friendly everyman tax filing system. You won’t need to know all the technical tax jargon or be able to run sophisticated and complex software packages to file a tax return, you simply sign up and follow a 3 step system which does the hard work for you.
The key features of this site all work to make tax filing simple. There’s a particular focus on e-files and direct deposits, which help to speed up the whole process and take away the need for calculators and long nights. You can also get help from tax specialists in a number of ways, which makes the process flexible and reliable. In particular we thought the live chat options were a good way to have instant support whilst at the computer, which is especially useful because you will be able to look at online documents as the specialist guides you through them. There are also video guides on the site which can be useful, though they tend to generalise about what the site can offer rather than actually provide any step by step guidance.
As the site is targeted at ‘regular people’ rather than accountants or businesses. it tends to speak and navigate in a very accessible way. You won’t find masses and masses of text, rather it guides you through the system in steps by asking for your preferences in a “yes” or “no” style series of questions. The prices available depend on your situation and you are able to choose from tax preparation services for taxpayers without children, tax payers with dependants, taxpayers with itemised deductions and capital gains, or complete packages for small business filers, retail owners or the self employed. As such this online system isn’t going to appeal or be particularly useful to larger businesses as it simply isn’t diverse enough. The packages available are very affordable, certainly at the lower end of the cost scale for sites of this nature, but not the cheapest around. However, if you’re new to filing taxes or you would like the support of an expert then you may feel that paying a little extra is worth it, particularly as many sites will charge you extra if you need to make changes after submitting your document. All forms are also double checked for any errors on taxBrain.com, which means you’re unlikely to have issues after you have finished the process.
Our only real complaints with this site are based on its over simplicity. This is a double edged sword of sorts, because whilst simplicity makes the site approachable and useable for novices, it also makes it restrictive for anyone who wants to perform more complex (or taxing!) activities. There are no monitoring system as such though it does provide prior year tax preparations going back up to 5 years, on request. TaxBrain states a number of other ‘unique’ advantages over its competitors including “security you can trust” and “e-file returns”, but in reality these are basic services provided by nearly all other tax filing software packages and websites.
This is a great site for first-time or uncertain tax filers. Its system is easy to use and you feel supported by professionals along the way. However, it isn’t for everyone and doesn’t really offer much more than other sites other than its simple approach. This is certainly a site worth considering if you’re an individual on a bit of budget and wouldn’t mind a bit of help along the way.
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