Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
 
No. of Recommendations: 0
I was curious to see if anyone has used TaxAct. I downloaded it and tried it out. I don't know whether or not to trust it though. I am a full time college student with less than $5,000 a year income. So I don't think that my taxes are that complicated. The reason I'm concerned is because it says I should get a refund of $581, which is larger than I normally get.

What kind of experiences have you had with it? Heard any stories from others?

Christina
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I have no experience with TaxAct, but it should be giving you the right result if you give it the right data. Possibly it's giving you the Earned Income Credit, for which you qualify if your earned income is less than about $10,000. (But there are lots of restricions - filing status, at least 25 yrs old, no one else can claim you as a dependent, etc.)

Note - if you are eligible for the EIC, it will probably be worth your while to revisit and amend your last few returns, as likely you missed it then as well.

Lorenzo
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Christina,

I see by another of your posts that you're 26 and single, so I think it's almost certain that you're getting that Earned Income Credit. But you wouldn't have been old enough to receive it last year and earlier, so don't bother to go back and look. Have a close look at what TaxAct is doing for you. The EIC shows up on line 64 of Form 1040.

Lorenzo
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Hopefully this won't get too long-winded or sound like a commercial. I chose TaxAct to do my taxes this year for a reason that is as much sentimental as practical. I have been using computer tax software since 1994 to do my taxes.

Here is a history lesson based on my experiences:
I began using Personal Tax Edge from Parson's Technologies. They were a very well run outfit which produced a wide variety of inexpensive software that was better than shareware, but at a shareware price. This was back in the pre-windows days, but I really liked the clear way the interview process worked. You did not have to know all the techincal terms to be able to input the correct data.

Then Intuit (the Quicken folks) bought Parson's Technologies for the sole purpose of getting rid of the competion in the tax software and will/legal arena. After taking what they wanted, they sold off the rest of the pieces and got rid of the team of programmers from Personal Tax Edge. Because I had already paid, I received a copy of TurboTax. It was ok, but somehow not quite as easy to use.

The following year was a nightmare, though. I had not entered my Quicken data exactly the way the tax software expected things. So I went back and set up things correctly for the following year, keeping in mind the adjustments I needed to make for the current year. But, the integration between TurboTax and Quicken was so tight that fixing one undid my changes in the other. It was extremely frustrating, so I decided to go looking for another package.

This brings me up to 1999. I used H&R Block's TaxCut software. Also about this time I got a new computer which came with Microsoft Money. Because Intuit had left a bad taste in my mouth, I made the switch. I was a bit nervous about the integration between Money and TaxCut, but it turned out to be much nicer in the way it handled prior year vs. current year data. The tax software itself was similar also. I kind of liked the split-screen view that showed the actual tax form at the same time it ask questions. I continued to use TaxCut through 2001 taxes.

Shortly after I filed my taxes, I heard about TaxAct. The big attraction for me was that it was written by the same team of programmers from Personal Tax Edge. So, I decided to download it and see if my excitement was based on nostalgia or actually better. I liked what I saw, and I got the exact same results for the printed forms. So, that gave me confidence enough to use TaxAct for 2002.

There is something about the TaxAct user interface and interview questions that makes it seem easier than the competition. You don't have to be a tax expert to figure out what you are supposed to do. Plus, the price of basically free is very nice as well.

NOTE: TurboTax and TaxCut both were fairly poor on the state taxes. Since I live in Montana and we don't have population base to generate the return on investment, neither company puts a lot of effort into the state version. Sure, it copies in the values from the federal form, but it is basically a glorified calculator that adds the columns for you. If you don't know the local laws, you may not accurately fill in the forms. Because of this, I chose to do my state taxes manually this year.

~~~~~~~
As far as the refund you are getting, keep in mind that the minimum salary before you owe taxes keeps getting adjusted every year due to inflation/cost of living. It could be that you did not earn enough to owe tax. But, one thing to double-check is to make sure you did not claim an exemption for yourself if you are still claimed on your parents taxes. That could make a difference.

I hope this helps!

FBC Investor
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
FBC Investor wrote:

I began using Personal Tax Edge from Parson's Technologies. They were a very well run outfit which produced a wide variety of inexpensive software that was better than shareware, but at a shareware price. This was back in the pre-windows days, but I really liked the clear way the interview process worked. You did not have to know all the techincal terms to be able to input the correct data.

Then Intuit (the Quicken folks) bought Parson's Technologies for the sole purpose of getting rid of the competion .....etc.


I found your experience with tax prep applications interesting as mine is very similar having started with Personal Tax Edge, being replaced by TurboTax and later changing to TaxCut. I found TT and TC very similar but have a slight preference for TC. I learned about TaxAct last year as the "survivor" to PTE but did not try it out then and have already obtained TC for this year. As I recall from use of PTE I found it easier to switch from the interview to working directly on the IRS forms when it met my needs, TT and TC did not seem to do this as smoothly. You have inspired me to check into TC again.
I am interested in your comment regarding your state taxes. Does TA not have a state program or are you concerned about it having the same problems as TT and TC in preparing the state forms? I live in California and its tax forms are very closly aligned and work with the federal forms. Preparation of state forms are fairly simple but tedious once the federal is completed.

Bob
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0

Thanks for the info!

Lorenzo, you are right about the EIC.

Thanks,
Christina
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
So I don't think that my taxes are that complicated. The reason I'm concerned is because it says I should get a refund of $581, which is larger than I normally get.

If you are concerned, download another free product, enter your data and see if you get the same answer. I know it's redundant but you will be confidant in the accuracy of your return.

This year I am using TaxSlayer, www.taxslayer.com.

HTH
George
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I am interested in your comment regarding your state taxes. Does TA not have a state program or are you concerned about it having the same problems as TT and TC in preparing the state forms? I live in California and its tax forms are very closly aligned and work with the federal forms. Preparation of state forms are fairly simple but tedious once the federal is completed.

TaxAct does have a state program for $12.95. I am sure that the California version will have all the state-specific differences in there automatically. My motivation for doing it myself was mostly based on being cheap.
Print the post Back To Top