NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
TaxACT 2001
A Review by Gilbert Jay, December 2001
(click to email author)

I know the Tax Preparation Program I will be using for filing my 2001 tax return. It will be TaxACT 2001 Deluxe by 2nd Story Software. The Preview Edition has convinced me.

The format is that of a combined interview and direct entry for the two pages of the 1040 forms; interview in the upper part of the page, with entry into the form shown below it. By dragging the dividing border, one can show more or fewer lines of the IRS blanks. You will probably want a copy of the IRS form nearby to watch ahead and find expected entry points more easily.

After the narrative parts, the various schedules are full page, with your typing shown in blue for direct entry, or green indicating there is a special form available; setting it off from the black text of the blank. If you wish to skip around to various tables, an index is available for direct access. Near the end of a line entry are three small windows, clicking on these brings up:

    1) an individual item entry
    2) the related IRS form, and
    3) the calculator [ available for $10 more ].

The program immediately recognized my printer -- an Epson Stylus -- and printed out IRS acceptable quality pages.:

The various schedules can be chosen from the Index Table.

The software constantly watches that your entries are compatible and reasonable so that "goofing up" an entry is unlikely.

As you work on the Federal form, the data is also being entered into the Arkansas return in appropriate places. You can switch back and forth easily to make sure that these entries are properly sited. When the IRS section is complete, the state forms are also finished.

If you have a number of 1099's to enter, they can be bunched together and posted at the same time, or individually as they come in.

The projected delivery date is the 15th of January 2002. The company feels that barring any further Congressional tax meddling, they will make this deadline.

There is provision for you to go "on line" with the software producer before you actually file and confirm that the version which you have used is the most current ... or receive a download to bring it into corrected order.

The program comes in a variety of packages. One E-file is included with the Deluxe package as well as the Arkansas State software; however our state does NOT ALLOW electronic filing. This will be my choice at a price of $19.95 [ with calculator, which needs to be downloaded ] if I order now. There are other cheaper offerings(*) less complete and lacking in E- file ability as well as a more expensive professional package which will handle multiple tax payer clients and has more electronic filing features for paid preparer offices.

(*Editor Note: Quoting their literature: "TaxACT Standard is still the only free tax software package on the market, and e-file with TaxACT Online is priced below competition at $7.95 per return"...and "For the first time, users can prepare and print their federal return with TaxACT Online without paying anything. If users choose to electronically file, the charge is only $7.95 per return.")

    TaxACT and 2nd Story Software, inc. contacts are as follows:
    Web site: http://www.taxact.com
    Order and Technical Support: 1-800-573-4287.
    5925 Dry Creek Lane, Cedar Rapids, IA, 52402.
    email: cammie@taxact.com (Cammie Greif, VP of Marketing)

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