Author Topic: Opinions on TaxAct  (Read 412 times)

appleshampooid

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Opinions on TaxAct
« on: January 10, 2019, 07:19:07 AM »
Hi,

Has anyone used TaxAct to file? I am going to give it a try this year. Background on my tax situation:
  • married, 1 kid
  • wage income
  • RSU income and capital gain/loss transactions from RSUs
  • ESPP income: 2 disqualifying dispositions and 1 qualifying (long-term) disposition
  • Lots of capital gains/losses this year from TLH
  • P2P lending income and capital loss write-offs (FINALLY this will be over on my 2020 return. Still getting interest payments in 2019 for this botched bullshit)
  • Did a backdoor Roth for this year
  • Own a home
  • Will be itemizing as our house is fucking expensive and we paid about $18k in mortgage interest last year, plus well over the new $10k cap for state and local taxes
So not a simple tax situation, but I have a handle on it. It seems like every year there is some new wrinkle in my tax situation. This is the first year we had ESPP dispositions, and I read up on it and have already done all the calculations in a google sheet. I believe the disqualifying dispositions will be included in the W-2's wage income - there is a line item for them on paystubs - but no similar line item exists for the wage income you are required to report when you execute a qualified disposition.

I bring up the past paragraph for context as I have done my own taxes for years, and would continue to do that except there is no way for me to e-file my state taxes (MA) unless I use a paid provider. I've used Free File Fillable Forms for years to complete and e-file my fed return for free, but Massachusetts doesn't have a similar product - you either use paper and pen (done this twice) or you use a paid provider. (There are free e-file options but my income is far above the limit for those.)

I have used TurboTax once in the past and really didn't like it. I felt too far away from the forms. I am hoping TaxAct is a little lighter touch...we'll see. Based on online reviews it seems like it may fit that bill, but I'm sure I will hate it just like TT. I figured since it's a bit cheaper and I know I'm going to be tearing my hair out either way, might as well try it. I am making an honest effort to go with a software provider this year after the bitching and moaning I did last year about using pen and paper like it's 1984. Ideally the software program will work with my existing knowledge of my tax situation, and not against me.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 07:34:09 AM by appleshampooid »

dcheesi

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 07:30:05 AM »
TaxAct generally gives you the option of doing "Q&A", or just filling in the forms (or a close analog) directly.

I've had pretty good luck with it, with the exception of the year that I moved to a different state; in that case the instructions were somewhat unclear/inadequate (to be fair, the states' partial-year instructions were pretty vague/inadequate as well). On the federal level, it seems to handle pretty much anything that I throw at it.

FIPurpose

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 07:35:07 AM »
I have done multiple years where I end up filling out through both TaxAct and TurboTax. Generally TurboTax is cleaner, easier to navigate, and they are better integrated with other systems that can auto-import W2's and such.

However, they both change a lot from year to year. So TaxAct could be way better this year.

Ever since I started getting a K-1 from one of my investments, neither of them were that good a filing it easily, but it was still better than trying to figure it out myself.

This year I'm personally going with TaxAct, I got a good deal on it from Black Friday, so I'll be going that direction. TurboTax keeps pushing the envelope on how much they can charge, and I'm getting a bit annoyed by it to be honest.

appleshampooid

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2019, 07:36:28 AM »
TaxAct generally gives you the option of doing "Q&A", or just filling in the forms (or a close analog) directly.

I've had pretty good luck with it, with the exception of the year that I moved to a different state; in that case the instructions were somewhat unclear/inadequate (to be fair, the states' partial-year instructions were pretty vague/inadequate as well). On the federal level, it seems to handle pretty much anything that I throw at it.
Thanks for the feedback. I've already started to test-drive it even though I don't have any forms yet.

After reading some more reviews, it looks like TaxSlayer might actually be better for my preferences. From a NerdWallet review:

Quote
Regardless of your selected plan, TaxSlayer is quite flexible. It allows you to complete the required forms and schedules with minimal guidance – or, if you prefer, with the help of a “wizard” that emulates more hands-on programs such as H&R Block and TurboTax. If you need help with some parts of your return, but not others, you can use the wizard only for those trickier sections.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2019, 08:21:01 AM »
I have been using tax act for 5 or 6 years. I have done itemized deductions for the last 5 years, and it has a nice feature to calculate the value of thrift store donations, although this year I will probably fall under the new standard deduction. There have been times when tax act lacked the information needed, and I had to go to the IRS website for clarification, such as when I got a refund check from the gas company with a 1099-PATR (decided to report as farm rental income).
 Tax Act works fine but TurboTax tax might be worth the extra money because it can import some of the forms and save some tedious data entry. Tax Act makes you enter each transaction for capital gains/losses, which can be a PITA, especially when your husband first discovers Robin Hood : ). I have figured out how to handle schedule K1, but I asked my husband to please sell that stock so I wouldn't have to keep doing it. I got rid of Wealthfront as well because their "tax loss harvesting" results in a million tiny transactions that have to be individually entered (some for less than one dollar), and if we put enough into pre-tax savings our income is low enough not to even benefit from TLH.
Last year was my first time doing my state return for tax act (in other years I have filled out the form and mailed it) I remember it took a while to figure out how to enter 529 contributions, but other than that it was ok. I got a refund on my property taxes that I otherwise might not have known I qualified for (my state does two separate returns for income tax and property tax, in the past I have never qualified for the property tax one but last year I reduced my income enough through pre-tax deductions).

appleshampooid

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 08:42:09 AM »
Tax Act works fine but TurboTax tax might be worth the extra money because it can import some of the forms and save some tedious data entry. Tax Act makes you enter each transaction for capital gains/losses, which can be a PITA, especially when your husband first discovers Robin Hood : ).
This is interesting to me because most brokerages now send you 1099s where tax basis has already been reported to the IRS, and you only have to enter a sum on the front of Schedule D (and not break out the 8949).

I hope that TaxAct wouldn't make you break out those individual transactions, that you wouldn't even have to break out if you were filing with pen and paper.

FWIW, I got to the Schedule D screen on TaxAct for this year (no forms yet, just poking around), and it had an option to log in to your brokerages and download the stuff directly. TurboTax did this for me for some brokerages (not all) the last time I used it. Since you mention that this is tedious for TaxAct, hopefully it's an improvement this year for them?

katsiki

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2019, 11:07:01 AM »
I love TaxAct but really hate their new pricing.  I am debating if I will use it this year or not.

RWD

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2019, 11:16:15 AM »
I used TurboTax many years ago until they banned Linux users. Then I used TaxAct for a while. I liked it but when I discovered FreeTaxUSA was much much cheaper I switched to that. FreeTaxUSA has met all my needs so far.

appleshampooid

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2019, 12:14:30 PM »
I love TaxAct but really hate their new pricing.  I am debating if I will use it this year or not.
Did they do something other than just raise prices incrementally each year?

Indexer

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2019, 03:06:29 PM »
I used TurboTax many years ago until they banned Linux users. Then I used TaxAct for a while. I liked it but when I discovered FreeTaxUSA was much much cheaper I switched to that. FreeTaxUSA has met all my needs so far.


+1 for FreeTaxUsa. My favorite part, no BS extra fees right before you are about to submit. They tell you it's $12.95 for state and you pay $12.95. After your first year they start sending 10% off coupons so I've been paying <$12 the past couple years.


katsiki

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2019, 01:34:48 PM »
I love TaxAct but really hate their new pricing.  I am debating if I will use it this year or not.
Did they do something other than just raise prices incrementally each year?

Yes, in my opinion.  I think they started charging for state whereas it was included before.  Net result was about a $30 increase.  It is still probably in line with competitive products.  I thought it was a lot at once and also done in a sly way.  (Price was locked in from previous year but surprise, we now charge for state!)

I may still use them...

Miss Prim

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2019, 02:31:12 PM »
Hi.  I have used both Taxact and Taxslayer.  I used Taxact for years to do my own taxes and then when I started volunteering to do taxes, I had to use Taxslayer.  Once I got used to Taxslayer, I found it to be faster and more streamlined then Taxact.  Your taxes are more complicated than what I have dealt with, so I couldn't really tell you which one would work best.  That being said, Taxact and Taxslayer have both gotten expensive to use, so I am really looking for something else to use for myself this year.  Might look into Freetaxusa like RWD posted.


                                                                                    Miss PRim

RWD

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Re: Opinions on TaxAct
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2019, 08:28:43 PM »
Might look into Freetaxusa like RWD posted.
It has worked quite well for me (I used it for the last two tax years). My tax return tends to be fairly simple but I do have investment income and sometimes other complications. One thing I like about FreeTaxUSA is they don't have a bunch of tiers to choose from to unlock your necessary functionality, it's all there in the free version (plus $13 per state). You can also pay a little extra ($7) for more support.

For comparison, TaxAct has five different options ranging from $0 to $50 (plus state). If you need to itemize deductions and/or have investments/rentals you'll be spending $30-$35 (plus $40 for state) with TaxAct.