PROS / This tax service can import from other tax services and they provide free eFiling of simple 1040 and 1040EZ returns.
CONS / CompleteTax does not provide free telephone support or free eFiling of simple 1040s with dependants.
VERDICT / This online tax software can create accurate basic 1040s with ease and they offer low-priced one-on-one tax support.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from viewing as part of this site because Complete Tax is now eSmart. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
CompleteTax is created and marketed by CCH (a Wolters Kluwer business) that has been in the tax game since 1913, the same year the U.S. federal income tax was created. They provide tax, accounting and audit information, software and services for professionals as well as CompleteTax and private label opportunities. This is the second year we have included CompleteTax in our side-by-side online tax software comparison.
CompleteTax has significantly changed their fee structure from last year. Last year they offered incentives to switch to their service as well as free filing for those who were unemployed or who ended up owing the IRS. They are not offering those incentives this year. You can, however, still file a simple 1040 for free. If you have dependents to claim or need to itemize your deductions, you can use their Deluxe plan for $25.46. If you are self-employed or own a small business, you'll need to use their $38.21 Premium plan. State returns are $29.71 regardless of the type of 1040 you file.
Ease of Use & Support
We tested online tax preparation services this year with a common tax scenario of a typical married couple with a home, a child and a few typical credits and deductions such as donations to charity, medical expenses and childcare expenses. This year there were not as many late-arriving tax forms to deal with as last year so most services have been fully loaded with the latest forms since the first day the IRS started to accept eFiles. Using this typical tax scenario, CompleteTax was able to create an accurate return easily. This tax service does not include a life events interview per se, but the guided interview presentation will help you discover the basic credits and deductions you can claim and the income you must report.
This tax service has a handy tool that will check your pages as you complete them to make sure you do not miss anything, and it can compare your standard deductions to itemized deductions to determine which filing status is most beneficial. They offer an accuracy and best return guarantee, which guarantees their math calculations.
Tax Preparation Options
This tax service provides a few useful convenience features such as the ability to import previous tax years as PDF files. If you are interested in switching to CompleteTax it will import prior years from their competitors TurboTax, TaxACT and H&R Block online. They also offer tax support for 2010 and 2009 if you have yet to file returns for those years. This tax preparation service can also import your W-2s and 1099s.
Like most online tax services, CompleteTax is arranged in an interview format. When you first log in to begin the tax preparation process you just enter your basic contact information and then it will ask you about your employment and deductions. This service can work with deductions such as home mortgage interest, real estate taxes, theft loss, medical expenses, personal property tax and of course standard deductions.
Tax preparation causes quite a bit of anxiety and apprehension with many people, so tax services must be easy to use. Additionally, tax laws are often changing and hard to keep abreast of. The IRS actually recommends that taxpayers eFile with an up-to-date tax service like CompleteTax. This online tax software includes all current forms and schedules and can manage the most recent tax law changes easily. We found the tax preparation pages easy to navigate through, and we liked that each page contained simple instructions that you didn't have to scroll to view. Though we found this service easy to use, our top-rated products were even simpler to use.
CompleteTax offers numerous links to help pages that explain tax terms. For example, while in the middle of the preparation process you can click a term like “child and dependent care” to see a full explanation as to what that is and who qualifies. There is also a tax guide, a calculator and a “help on this page” option. There is also a “quick navigation” view that displays a list of topics that you can easily scroll through. For specific questions, you can subscribe to their tax hotline, which provides unlimited support from tax professionals.
Online CompleteTax posts useful FAQs and form information. You can also contact them by email for answers to your direct questions. Additionally, you can connect with them via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We tested their Twitter support and they do monitor their Tweets and respond quickly.
They also offer a low-priced Audit Pro and Tax Hotline; with these services, you can get audit protection and one-on-one tax assistance. Audit Pro is $19.95 for one year or $29.95 for three years. This service provides CPA support if you are audited. They will fill out the necessary forms for you and communicate with the IRS until your audit is closed. The Tax Hotline is $19.95 for 90 days of unlimited, one-on-one support.
CompleteTax is easy-to-use online tax software created by a company that has nearly 100 years of federal tax experience. They may not be as well known as our highest-ranked products so you will not find them in kiosks at your local department store, but they can get the job done and get it done right.