TaxAct 2007 Online Deluxe + State from 2nd Story Software is one of the least expensive online tax-preparation services available. Of its three flavors, the entry-level Standard is free for electronic federal filing. However, state returns cost $14 extra for Standard and $7 for the $10 Deluxe edition. We tested TaxAct Ultimate Online, which costs only $17 and includes e-filing for federal and state returns. This is a steal compared with offers from Intuit TurboTax and H&R Block TaxCut. You'll have to pay extra for the Deluxe edition or higher to import data used in TaxAct from prior years. TaxAct will keep your data on its servers for three years.
TaxAct Online 2007 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 may need to clear the cache before you start. TaxAct Online requires that you run at least Windows 95 with browsers including Internet Explorer 5 or Firefox 1 or higher. Mac users can access TaxAct with Safari 1, Firefox 1, Opera 9 or higher.
2nd Story Software also offers TaxAct software for download, which we did not test. However, for those looking to file for several members in a household, we recommend TurboTax or TaxCut applications, which we did review.
Setting up TaxAct is as simple as setting up a username and password from a browser. 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. However, just remember to click on TaxAct's dedicated back and forward arrow icons rather than your browser's Back button. Luckily, if click the Back button by mistake, TaxAct will take you back to the prior screen so you won't lose your place, unlike previous iterations of the service.