Everyone knows the first quarter of the year is dedicated to Christmas returns, the holiday wind-down, and taxes. Now, I’m sure the majority of readers have already responsibly done their taxes, maybe even as soon as they received their forms; but for those of you like me, the procrastinators, please read on.
For the first time ever, I filed my own taxes. You’d think I would’ve started with a single W-2 back for 2012, but no. I started with the year I had two W-2’s, several 1099’s, and even an educational form. Not to mention all the miscellaneous deductions I tried to take, but, hey, I’ve never done it before. I am confident in saying that my roughly $1,300 refund will be a welcome “gift” that I would not have been confident in getting were it not for TaxAct.
I went with TaxAct for a few reasons:
- my financial representative uses them for his own taxes
- this article comparing them to the competition
- their price
I paid a grand total of $39.98 for all my taxes. Now, I know there are a lot of naysayers who say you need to reduce the refund you get because it’s an interest free loan to the government and look at how they handle money. That’s totally correct, but I really did claim all the deductions I could and the only way I could’ve made my taxes lower would’ve been to dedicate more of my last W-2 to my Simple IRA. As to how I’m going to spend my refund, I haven’t quite decided yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know.
Now, back to TaxAct.
I spent roughly four hours doing my taxes yesterday. Part of that was me not having counted my receipts appropriately. For instance, I had all medical bills together when I needed to have them separated by doctors visits, prescriptions, and other categories (who knew?). The rest of the time was me following the prompts the software so kindly provided. BUT, if you take a few days to do your taxes, note that you have a price lock guarantee from the get go. You can even start from their lowest package, like I did, and work your way up as needed. They provided helpful prompts for that, too!
Now, if you’re like me and constantly worried you’re doing something incorrectly, never fear! TaxAct gives you a wonderful little review at the end where they’ve marked things that you’ve done that seem sketchy. For instance, I had misread a student option and they said, “Woah there, hold your horses. Check this out.” Not really, but you get my meaning. Additionally, they did recommend importing the prior year taxes and comparing for any major differences. I did not do this as I have no idea how my aunt filed my taxes last year, just that I had to send the government a whopping ten dollars because of the way I had been employed.
Moving on, each screen gives you the option to read more on the topic to make sure whatever it is applies to you. Not only that, but help topics are typically easy to search. There are no extraneous details on the pages either. They’ve kept the design simple, so all you have to do it focus on your taxes. Yay!
Lastly, they email you and update your account once your returns have been accepted, which I had happen for both my federal and state taxes within hours.
Now, the bad.
I had 1099’s and the system didn’t just ask me for them, I had to Google where to find the option. Additionally, even though I was going through the motions and filling things in, it kept telling me it was going to log me out due to inactivity. They also don’t have all the forms for all the states, some of which are corporate forms, so hopefully that isn’t a deal breaker for you. At the end, when you’ve gone through all the boxes, crossed your t’s, dotted your i’s, they try to sell you other products. I swear, I had to click “No Thanks!” on ten different things.
Most important: between November 10th and December 4th, more than 9,000 accounts had suspicious activity. Read this article for more information.
Before you say, “How could you use them with a breach?” Please note:
- TaxAct believes they were not hacked, but rather breached with information obtained from other breaches (think Target, etc).
- You are more likely to make mistakes on a paper return than by e-filing.
- Intuit’s TurboTax was hit last year.
These things happen. Bad people are out there doing bad things; you can’t halt your life because of them. Additionally, I have credit monitoring and identity theft protection insurance. Both of which I believe are totally worth it.
Please tell me, how did your filing go this year?