PROS / This online tax service is simple to use, especially for those who only need to file a simple return.
CONS / Taxbrain does not provide free 1040EZ e-filing like most services, and complex returns are expensive compared to other services.
VERDICT / Taxbrain is simple to use, and helpful representatives offer support while you are logged in. However, the lack of free federal filing makes the service less attractive.
Editor's Note: Tax Brain is now part of the Liberty Tax family of products. Please see our Liberty Tax review for more information about this tax service.
Taxbrain can handle all basic returns, including 1040EZs, 1040s with itemized deductions, small business and rental 1040s, and state returns. All packages include e-filing, and you can configure taxes for multiple-state earnings. Pricing ranges from $14.95 for 1040EZ filers to $69.95 for returns that include business income and expenses. State return filing starts at $19.95. So, for a family that owns a home and needs to itemize deductions, the total charge for federal and state filing is $69.90. This price is higher than most online tax services.
In terms of convenience, Taxbrain can import information from prior years, import federal information into your state return and file prior-year returns back to 2006. It also has a questionnaire at the beginning to determine which forms you need to file. The questionnaire covers information about your household, wages, investment income, retirement income, possible credits and deductions, business income and rental property.
Taxbrain provides free customer support. From January through April, phone support is available Monday through Friday. Outside of tax season, you can contact support representatives during standard business hours. The Taxbrain website has tax calculators and a blog. This online tax service also provides a service called Safe Keeping that will, for $9.95, store your tax returns for five years.
Creating a return using Taxbrain is simple and quick. It starts off with a brief questionnaire. Then the program will suggest the best filing method – for example, 1040EZ or 1040 – with the associated worksheets and forms. We tested this service using the standard edition, which is free to start using, you only have to pay when you submit your return.
Taxbrain is capable of creating an accurate return with the necessary schedules and forms. The online tax preparation software is streamlined and simple to use. However, if you have a complex tax situation and are not sure which forms you need or how to file, you may want to use one of our higher-rated products with extensive support options. Taxbrain provides minimal support and is intended to be, for the most part, self-serve.