Tax Simple Review – Easy Online Tax Prep
There are a number of online tax preparation products, and while the two big guns of the industry, H&R Block and TurboTax, use downloadable products, most tax preparation companies seem to prefer going the online route. There are pros and cons to using an online product; while the software is constantly updated so you know you’ll always have the latest edition, you also have to trust your personal information to the company operating the software. Tax Simple says they use 256 bit encryption on their servers, which should be more than adequate to make sure that your information is safe when using Tax Simple to prepare your taxes. Tax Simple can handle your state returns as well as your Federal income tax, and they have several versions to suit the needs of just about everyone. Read on for our full Tax Simple review.
Tax Simple Overview
While Tax Simple is Web-based, it does require Microsoft Silverlight to run, so you’ll need to have that installed on your PC or Mac in order to use it. Like many online software programs, Tax Simple has several different versions depending on your needs:
Tax Simple Basic Free
The Tax Simple Basic Free edition is available for many taxpayers, though not everyone will qualify. You must have income that does not exceed $100,000 and no itemized deductions or dependents. This is essentially 1040 EZ preparation for those with basic W2 income and nothing else of note to add to their return.
Tax Simple Deluxe Edition
The Tax Simple Deluxe Edition is a bit more complex and is designed for the average taxpayer, who might have dependent children, charitable contributions, medical expenses, stock and bond investments and life changes, such as buying or selling a home or having a child. This version is currently priced at $27.95.
Tax Simple Premier Edition
The Tax Simple Premier Edition is for taxpayers who may own a small business or have rental property. It includes all of the features of the two editions above, and is priced at $49.95.
State returns are not included in the above products; those are extra and are currently priced at $24.95. It’s worth noting that Tax Simple allows college students and active members of the military to file for free using the Tax Simple Premier Edition. Both groups also get discounted state returns. Regardless of which version you choose, Tax Simple will allow you to have their fees deducted from your refund, which means that many filers will not have to pay anything out of pocket in order to use Tax Simple. They do not charge extra for the actual filing, as some companies do; the price includes electronic filing.
Tax Simple offers an accuracy and maximum refund guarantee. If you receive a penalty from the IRS due to a calculation error on the part of Tax Simple, they will pay your interest and penalties. If you discover that you can get a larger refund using another software product, Tax Simple will refund your money.
Tech support from Tax Simple is offered via email and chat only; they do not have telephone support nor do they have any offices where you can walk in and get help, as you can with H&R Block or Liberty Tax.
Tax Simple says you can file your return in as little as ten minutes using their system, which uses an interview-style system to determine which forms and schedules you’ll require. For most users, this should be fairly straightforward. We have seen reviews around the Web that suggest that the Tax Simple software is a bit buggy, though others have reported that it works just fine.
The truth is that most tax software, including Tax Simple, will work just fine for most taxpayers. You enter your information and you’re going to get a result and probably a refund. The vast majority of tax software all works the same way and if you use ten different products, you’re likely to get a similar result ten times. What most software, including Tax Simple cannot do, is maximize your refund in every way that’s legally possible. Why not? Because there are hundreds of ways to take legitimate deductions from your income and thus, lower your taxes. It turns out that many of these deductions are either somewhat obscure or the IRS allows multiple ways to calculate them, which can often produce different results depending on how they are calculated. Most software is designed to calculate each deduction only one way, so if you could save money with a different approach, you’ll be out of luck. That’s not really the fault of Tax Simple; no piece of software can possibly know everything about the U.S. tax code. It’s just too complex, and has too many changes each year. Plus, few taxpayers are truly interested in seeing just how much they can save on their taxes. They just want to file as quickly as possible and get the filing out of the way and the refund into their pocket.
If you want to save the most money you possibly can on your income taxes, you need an additional resource besides Tax Simple. You need a way of knowing about all of the ways you can be saving money on your taxes. You need to know how those methods affect you, how you can use them, how they change from year to year and how to apply them to Tax Simple when you file. It’s not that hard, and there’s a readily accessible resource for helping you save on your taxes that will show you up to date information, presented in simple English and not legalese or complex tax talk. You’ll get the information you need to save money on your taxes this year and for years to come and that information will be continuously updated so you’ll always have the latest information regarding how you can pay as little as possible to Uncle Sam. Tax Simple can help, but it isn’t enough.