TaxAct Online Deluxe + State
TaxAct 2006 Online Deluxe + State from 2nd Story Software is one of the least expensive online tax-preparation services available. You'll pay only $15.95 to complete your federal and state returns, with e-filing included. To skip state filing, the step-down TaxAct Online Deluxe costs $9.95. TaxAct's Online Standard edition, which lacks tech support as well as guidance with life events and college financial aid, is free for federal e-filing but costs $6 to file a state return online. Comparable services from industry heavyweights H&R Block TaxCut and Intuit TurboTax cost three to five times as much.
TaxAct works in most browsers, including Internet Explorer 5, Firefox 1, Netscape 7, Opera 9, and Safari 1 and newer. You'll have to enable cookies, disable pop-up blockers, and might need to clear the cache before you start. TaxAct Online requires that you run at least Windows 95 or Mac OS 9. The clean interface displays your estimated federal and state refunds (or tax due) at all times, and tabs with pull-down menus make it easy to jump around the various subjects. This service automatically saves your work as you proceed through the interview--essential if your computer crashes or you accidentally close the browser window. Unfortunately, after we had entered our W-2 data and clicked to the next page, all the fields became blank when we pressed the Back button to fix a typo. We're glad this happened only once.
Like its online and desktop rivals, TaxAct asks a series of questions and uses your answers to fill in the appropriate lines of your tax form. TaxAct 2006 Online can also import TaxAct 2005 Online returns. The service is free to try, so you pay only when you print or e-file your returns. Concerned about privacy? TaxAct Online uses industry-standard SSL encryption to transmit your data, which it stores and backs up on its secure servers.