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TaxAct Review/Gripes
Old 03-28-2016, 11:21 AM   #1
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TaxAct Review/Gripes

Use this thread to note things you liked or didn't like about TaxAct. Others can take note to help decide which tax app to use. Maybe someone else can start a thread for other tax return apps.

Or you can just use it to vent your frustration.

My gripes so far:

1. Because I used the online version last year, and the download version this year, it couldn't just suck up my info from last year. Would that have been so hard for the app to do? It looked at the PDF from last year, but didn't get much.

2. When entering info on forms, the window is not resizable, so, despite having a large monitor, I must work in a tiny window and scroll around.

3. There is no OK button in the form window. The windows standard is that closing a window with the x is equivalent to clicking Cancel.
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Old 03-28-2016, 11:37 AM   #2
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In adding business income (Writing), I paged back, and the information I'd entered was lost.
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Old 03-28-2016, 11:39 AM   #3
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I bought the downloaded version, but didn't like the interface.
- No ability to download information from your financial institution.
- The interface is messy. I couldn't tell if I was missing a section. Sometimes, after you finish entering data, there is no "continue" or "ok" button. You just have to close the box.

Pros: Cheaper than turbotax.
I have used turbotax for over a decade, and that may be the reason I did not like the TaxAct interface. In the end, I bought turbotax and prepared and submitted my taxes through that program.

However, my final result on both programs was EXACTLY the same. So this is a package that works - at least as accurately as its competition.
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Old 03-28-2016, 11:40 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
In adding business income (Writing), I paged back, and the information I'd entered was lost.
Good to hear that you're making money from your writing!
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Old 03-28-2016, 12:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
2. When entering info on forms, the window is not resizable, so, despite having a large monitor, I must work in a tiny window and scroll around.
Which Forms are you referring to? When I Maximize the program, the window fills the monitor's screen. Therefore the Forms (well , those accessed from the Drop Down Menu that is labeled "Forms") are as big as the screen will let them be without shrinking the font size.

Where were you entering the Business Income? What form?
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Old 03-28-2016, 12:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Use this thread to note things you liked or didn't like about TaxAct. Others can take note to help decide which tax app to use. Maybe someone else can start a thread for other tax return apps.

Or you can just use it to vent your frustration.

My gripes so far:

1. Because I used the online version last year, and the download version this year, it couldn't just suck up my info from last year. Would that have been so hard for the app to do? It looked at the PDF from last year, but didn't get much.

I very much agree with this.


2. When entering info on forms, the window is not resizable, so, despite having a large monitor, I must work in a tiny window and scroll around.

Wasn't really an issue with me.


3. There is no OK button in the form window. The windows standard is that closing a window with the x is equivalent to clicking Cancel.

I don't recall this.

Only used the download version and have had no real issues overall with TA. Interface not really an issue. Used TT once and will never go back primarily due to their unreasonably (IMO) high prices.
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:07 PM   #7
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I have been using the download version since 2011. I don't remember this behavior before. This year when they announced an update and I installed it, TaxAct lost it's pointer to it's data file making it look as thought the update had erased all the previous input. I recovered easily once I realized what was wrong but it really gave me an infarction at first.


I have had no real angst with TaxAct. I have always used the download version so it reads in my old information from the year before. My taxes are simple: retirement income, bank dividends and stock dividends.
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Old 03-28-2016, 05:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
Which Forms are you referring to? When I Maximize the program, the window fills the monitor's screen. Therefore the Forms (well , those accessed from the Drop Down Menu that is labeled "Forms") are as big as the screen will let them be without shrinking the font size.

Where were you entering the Business Income? What form?
It was entering info from a 1099-MISC:



It's a general gripe of mine: having to scroll around in a small window when I should be able to resize it.

And no "OK" button.
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Old 03-28-2016, 05:41 PM   #9
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If you use the "quick entry forms" I think you are right that they don't have an OK button. If you go through the questions it has continue buttons between questions etc. I did not see that as a big deal. Quick entry if for those who understand the basics of what they are doing.
Several years ago I found that TaxAct skimped on calculation about the taxable amount of a previous year state tax refund when the previous year had AMT involved. The covered the two endpoints, but none of the intermediate points. It required re-running the previous years taxes and adjusting values to sort out the taxable amount.

In the end I needed to override one value manually.

I've used the download version of any tax program I've used, so I can't comment on any online issues.

I've run TaxAct on Linux... seemed to work (older version).

I agree with some of the fixed size of some of the screens being annoying. It can be difficult to see a pdf (of a 1099) on the same screen with the "Stock Assistant" up also. Easy way around... get two monitors.

The only other program I've used would be TaxCut.. but that was long ago.
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Old 03-29-2016, 05:27 AM   #10
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you should take a look at taxhawk. it has worrked well for me for 4 years.
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Old 03-29-2016, 10:57 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
It was entering info from a 1099-MISC:
I went to a Schedule C form and tried to enter an amount in on the line "Income that was reported on Form 1099-MISC" and clicked on the "Open Supporting Form" Button. This is a screen shot of my desktop. All the 1099-MISC input form is shown. ??

Taxact screen shot.jpg
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:00 PM   #12
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I don't fill these sections (Schedule C), so I don't know every thing about it. Typically you would use the Q&A method to put information in. In the Q&A and assuming you know the section you want to work on, you would click on federal and it gives a list of input topics. Choose 1099-MISC. Select the type of income and follow the Q&A. It will create copies of the 1099-MISC in the program.
What you did is go to the forms and pulled up Schedule C and in a calculated field and selected "open supporting form". If you had multiple of these forms the related to that box, it would allow you to open any one of those forms. Since you had none, it open a blank one for you to fill out like the Quick entry form. Just fill in all the information and close the form and all info should populate.
If you need to create more of these, you can go back and create more forms in the Q&A or you can go to "Documents Received" and go to 1099-MISC and double click "ADD Copy". At this point you need to select the type of income so the correct form version is shown (I don't normally do 1099-MISC).

If you were just wanting to input a number into the Schedule C, then click on the hand "add line item" and it will allow you to list multiple inputs to be added and put into the income box. This method override the function that creates the value for that line and I think it will invalidate e-filing.

Does any of that address your "??" on what happened.

In general use the Q&A topics or the full Q&A since there will be less chance messing it up. Hope this helps
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
I went to a Schedule C form and tried to enter an amount in on the line "Income that was reported on Form 1099-MISC" and clicked on the "Open Supporting Form" Button. This is a screen shot of my desktop. All the 1099-MISC input form is shown. ??
Yes, it's like that for me too if I go through the forms instead of the Q&A route.
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:43 PM   #14
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Does any of that address your "??" on what happened.

In general use the Q&A topics or the full Q&A since there will be less chance messing it up. Hope this helps
First, I was simply trying to duplicate what the OP had done. I, too, have not had need of 1099-MISC input. I merely took the easy route by going directly to the Form... well, easy in that you can't go directly to it so I used Schedule C to get there.

Now... I tried it your way. Federal>Income>Form 1099-MISC>Other Income>Form 1040 - "Continue"

That brought up a form called "Form 1099-MISC - Payers Information." The lower half of that screen shows a Form that looks very similar to the screen shot the OP posted. In the upper right corner of that Form is an X and an up arrow. Clicking on the up arrow takes you to a window showing the complete form (like the one in my earlier screen shot).

BTW, at the bottom of that 1099-MISC input form is a button labeled "Back." I assume that is the "OK" button everyone is looking for.
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:56 PM   #15
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Yes, it's like that for me too if I go through the forms instead of the Q&A route.
To me this makes sense. But then I've been using it for quite a few years. I would think they could make a more consistent functionality would be to block some features and overrides. For most users I would think the Q&A would be easiest as it basically has you input the forms you receive one at a time. You could override line items and have to go through several forms multiple times to fill out those input lists.
Personally I like the ability to do quick entry forms. I would expect that it would not be hard to add a "continue and save" button at the bottom of the forms. Overriding, I try to avoid that as it eliminates e-files.
To be honest, for the taxes I do, I really don't need a tax program. If I were investing in MLPs and other things that kick out K-1s and other forms I'm not use to, then I may have to reconsider the need for a tax program
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Old 03-29-2016, 03:17 PM   #16
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Yes, it's like that for me too if I go through the forms instead of the Q&A route.
I get that same view as well, but I do Q&A first, and then review the forms. I agree it would be helpful to maximize the forms view, but it's really not that much of an issue for me. Pretty happy with TA overall.
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Old 03-29-2016, 03:23 PM   #17
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I have used TA for the last 10 years switching from TT that I used the previous 5 years. Have never had a problem with TA. Even though I was an accountant for many of my early years I still use the Q&A method.
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Old 03-29-2016, 05:20 PM   #18
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The UIs in the tax programs are decades behind the times. Can't adjust window size? No user options for text font or color? TA has real trouble with this and TT is only a little better. The 1980s called and said you can keep the tiny b&w text.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:01 AM   #19
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I just have one minor complaint. While being overseas, I used the free download version for many years to do my 1040. Last year, I moved back to the states so I purchased their Basic + State. I didn't read the small print that their Basic version was now limited to 1040A and 1040EZ. so I had to upgrade to the Deluxe. I did convince them to reduce the upgrade cost because I would have gotten the Deluxe cheaper in December had I known that the Basic version was limited.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:14 AM   #20
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Taxes are so psychologically painful that I think that indulging in a tax program that I like and doesn't add to the pain is a justifiable luxury. I use TurboTax, so I probably pay quite a bit more.
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