TaxACT 2008 Standard Edition guides users through the tax preparation process and allows them to file their returns online. The program does as good a job as many of the other popular tax preparation programs, although users may find themselves attempting to use features that can only be accessed with the purchase of other versions.
The program's interface is quite attractive and intuitive. Users can choose between two methods of entering their information; the question and answer method guides users through a series of easily-understood questions, while the Forms method allows more advanced users to enter their information directly into interactive versions of federal tax forms. Both methods are fairly self-explanatory, but should a user need assistance, a well-organized list of Help topics is available on the publisher's Web site. TaxACT did not blow us away with any special features--those all seem to be contained within the two versions that aren't free, but it did contain all of the features that one would expect from a tax preparation program. It is well-equipped to handle users who have more complex tax situations, such as those who are self-employed or own investment properties. We particularly liked the feature that allows self-employed users to estimate their quarterly self-employment tax payments for the coming year.
TaxACT 2008 Standard Edition is free and without limitations, although upgrades to the Deluxe and Ultimate versions contain more features. TaxACT won't replace your accountant, but users who are accustomed to doing their own taxes will find that the program meets all of their needs.