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TaxHawk.com is a mostly-free tax filing service with several extras available for people who want to maintain records or make changes to their tax returns. We say ‘mostly-free’ because although you can file free Federal tax returns, state returns are slightly more complex. If your federal AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) is greater than $20,000 you are required to pay state preparation costs of $12.95. However, this payment covers the cost of all the forms you require, the ability to e-file your returns and to print them, online back-up for future access and guaranteed accuracy in the site’s tax equations. Additional fees exist for services which centre around making corrections to a return, although the system is somewhat peculiar because it costs twice as much to make an amendment as it does to purchase the Deluxe Edition which allows you to make amendments for free. Essentially it’s a system which punishes the ill prepared error-makers for not having paid for the Deluxe Edition in advance, though neither of the two options are expensive.
The site is relatively easy to use: once you’ve signed up you can access key compartments of your personalised account using a series of basic tabs near the top of the page. These split important areas of your tax filings into easily-digestible segments such as “personal”, “income”, “deductions”, “summary” and more. As such the system keeps your income and out goings clearly defined whilst doing the math for you to calculate how much you owe (or are owed) and which pieces of information will be sent to complete your application.
Information can be a little sparse at times and it would be useful to be able to hover over a specialised tax term/word and have it explained, or to access information as you use the site, rather than having to rely on the FAQ so much. That said the FAQ is generally clear and provides enough information without becoming too complex. You can also perform a search or email the site’s customer services department for assistance. Although the features on offer are useful there aren’t a lot to choose from and nothing stands out as offering a service that can’t be found elsewhere. We did like the strong emphasis on security and keeping your data safe, though, as this is particularly important for such private information. All information is data encrypted, the site uses IRS e-file and Norton, also employing SecurityMetrics in a number of compliance and vulnerability tests, and has an A+ rating from Better Business Bureau.
Overall taxHawk.com is a sturdy and reliable tax filing website. It doesn’t offer much in the way of extras but its extra charges are reasonable and the system appears to do a fine, if basic, job.
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