Express 1040 Review – Almost Free
There’s a lot of competition in the world of tax preparation and a lot of companies are competing to get that bit of business that comes from people who aren’t interested in having their taxes prepared for them by professionals. A growing number of companies, such as Express 1040, are offering online do-it-yourself tax preparation at prices that seem to get lower and lower by the day. While many companies are part of the Free File Alliance and allow taxpayers to file their Federal tax returns at no charge, those free filings are usually attached to a number of conditions. That’s not the case with Express 1040, where pretty much everyone can file for free if they like. There are a few paid options and there are some good reasons for considering those, but even they are pretty affordable. Read on for our full Express 1040 review.
Express 1040 Tax Software Overview
Most online tax preparation companies offer multiple editions of their products, usually tailored to the needs of the taxpayer. The free versions are usually simple, stripped down versions of the software designed to accommodate those who would otherwise file a 1040EZ form – no deductions, credits or anything else other than straight W2 income. Then they offer their paid versions, which usually increase in price as your needs get more complicated. Own a home? That might require a Deluxe edition, while someone who owns stocks or has a business might need the Premium edition. That’s not the case with Express 1040; they offer two versions: the Free Edition and the Deluxe Edition.
The Express 1040 Free Edition isn’t a trick or a gimmick; it’s free. For everyone. Regardless of how complex your tax return might be. That’s it. It’s free. You can create an account, log in, answer some questions, fill out your forms, submit them electronically, print out a copy of your records and get on with your life. As near as we can tell, there are no age or income qualifiers, and nothing that would exclude taxpayers who own real estate or have a small business. No, the Express 1040 Free Edition is suitable for everyone. State returns are extra, as usual, but they only charge $12.95 for state filings, so many taxpayers could file both the Federal and their state returns for a total expense of $12.95. That’s about the cheapest price we’ve seen anywhere. So, what’s the catch? There really isn’t one, though there are some reasons why you might want to use the Express 1040 Deluxe Edition instead, as it does include some things that will cost you extra under the Express 1040 Free Edition.
Express 1040 Deluxe Edition
The Express 1040 Deluxe Edition offers some additional features that may be helpful to a lot of taxpayers. The price for the Express 1040 Deluxe Edition is quite affordable, at just $4.95. So what do you get for your five bucks that you don’t get with the Express 1040 Free Edition?
Audit Assist – if you’re audited by the IRS, Express 1040 will help you. They won’t represent you or communicate with the IRS on your behalf, but they will help you out. This comes with the Express 1040 Deluxe Edition only.
Priority Support – Technical support for a lot of online tax preparation products tends to be spotty and here, Express 1040 offers support to paid customers first. That makes sense and if you think you might need help and need it fairly soon, you might want to spend the extra few dollars on the Express 1040 Deluxe Edition, as the support for the free version could be a while in coming, unless you wish to pay for it, which you can, for $5.95, which costs more than if you simply had used the Express 1040 Deluxe Edition in the first place.
Unlimited Amended Returns – Need to amend your return? That’s going to cost you $9.95 if you used the Express 1040 Free Edition, but it’s free if you have the Deluxe Edition. Need to amend more than once? That’s still free, though it’s going to cost you another $9.95 if you used the Express 1040 Free Edition.
As with the free version, the Express 1040 Deluxe Edition does not include the cost of filing a state return, which is still $12.95. On the whole, we think the most cost of the Express 1040 Deluxe Edition is worth the price.
Additional paid features for both versions include printed and mailed tax forms and printed and bound tax forms for those who want to go that route.
On the downside, this is online software, so you can’t download it and use it at some remote location. You must have an active Internet connection to file your taxes via Express 1040.
On the whole Express 1040 offers a pretty good deal and most taxpayers are going to be hard pressed to find a less expensive way to file their Federal and their state tax returns. Of course, no tax software is perfect and no tax software, no matter how well written, is smart enough to tell you about ways you could be saving on your taxes if you don’t know about them already. And that’s a problem.
Most people are paying too much on their taxes and don’t know it.
You can legally take a lot of deductions and each of them will lower your tax bill. But in order for tax software to process those deductions, you need to know to tell the software about them. What if you don’t know about them? Then you’re going to miss out and end up paying more in taxes. You’re not alone in that; most taxpayers pay too much, each and every year. Why? Because the tax code is a mess and keeping track of how to save money is simply too complex for anyone but the experts.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to keep track of ways to save money on your taxes, not just this year, but every year. The information will be presented in simple, easy-to-understand language and not complex tax talk or legalese. You’ll find out about hundreds or even thousands of ways you could be saving money and then you can put it to use with Express 1040 or whatever other software you’re using.