Online tax software programs can make the tax filing process much easier. While the IRS currently offers a free file option, many taxpayers prefer to use third-party software as they typically offer greater ease of use and access to more options and features.
E-file Tax Software is a budget-friendly alternative to major players like H&R Block and TurboTax. While it lacks many of the bells and whistles of its better-known competitors, it makes up for its relative simplicity with affordable pricing and numerous discounts and promotional offers.
In this guide, we'll take an in-depth look at E-file, including its strengths, weaknesses, pricing and features.
Best for year-round discounts
These coupons let you save between 25% and 50% on E-file's paid plans. In addition, you may qualify to file your taxes for free if you meet certain eligibility requirements.
For these reasons, we chose E-file as the best tax software for year-round discounts.
E-file tax software pros and cons
- Multiple ways to file
- Filers can pay for the software with their tax refund
- Accuracy guarantee
- Limited customer support
- Families with children can't use free tier
Multiple ways to file
While E-file specializes in electronic filing, it also lets you file the old-fashioned way. You can simply print out the forms from the E-file website and mail them if you prefer.
Filers can pay for the software with their tax refund
E-file lets users pay for its services with their tax refunds. It's important to note that your refund will not go directly to E-file. Instead, the IRS will send your refund to Santa Barbara TPG, a third-party escrow service. TPG will pay out the appropriate fees to E-file and deposit the remaining funds in your account.
If you choose this option, you will have to pay a $39.95 service fee to process your payment. E-file doesn't currently charge a fee when you pay by credit card.
E-file offers a blanket accuracy guarantee. In addition to guaranteeing complete accuracy, it promises to check each return for errors prior to submission.
However, it does not specify what steps it will take in the event that it does make an error on your tax forms. You may request a refund if you're not satisfied with the services you've received. To ensure accuracy in your tax filings, make sure that you have what you need to file taxes.
Limited customer support
E-file offers few ways to get in touch with customer support staff. Basic plan users are limited to communicating with support staff via email. This may prove frustrating, particularly for more complex or time-sensitive matters. Deluxe and Premium plan holders can receive telephone assistance. E-file does not offer a live chat or AI chat customer service option at this time.
Families with children can't use free tier
E-file's free tax filing option does not allow you to claim dependents. If you have children, you'll have to purchase either the Deluxe Plus or Premium Plus plan.
E-file Tax Software offerings
E-file offers three plans, all of which come with support and the option to file electronically or by mail. Bear in mind that these plans are only for federal taxes, and you'll have to purchase a separate state filing add-on regardless of your plan choice. Continue reading to find the option that works best for your needs.
The basic plan is E-file's free option. You may qualify for this plan if you:
- Earned less than $100,000 in the last tax year
- Are filing single or married jointly, without dependents
- Only have W-2 income
High-income earners, independent contractors and those with dependents who are minors will want to choose one of the paid plan options. With the basic plan, you receive access to a free refile and free amendment.
For $27.99 ($20.99 with the coupon provided on the page as of this writing), the Deluxe Plus plan offers phone and online support and options for self-employed taxpayers and individuals with dependents. You might also choose this plan if you're receiving retirement income, are currently paying a mortgage or if you need to make certain deductions. As with the basic plan, only individuals with an income of less than $100,000 will qualify.
You can file W-2 and 1099 income with this plan and get access to itemized deductions along with all the features available on the basic plan. If you sign up for this plan and E-file determines that you qualify for the basic plan, it'll automatically downgrade you and refund the plan’s cost.
The Premium Plus plan currently costs $49.99 ($37.49 with the coupon code provided on its page). It's the only plan E-file offers for filers with incomes over $100,000. With this plan, you'll gain access to all forms and schedules in addition to the same functionality E-file offers with the Deluxe plan.
E-file tax software pricing
E-file offers competitive pricing on all of its plan tiers. The basic plan offers federal tax filing for free and, if you use the discount code given on the page, the deluxe plan costs $20.99 and the premium plan $37.49. All plans charge $22.49 per state filing.
This is pretty affordable compared to major competitors like H&R Block and TurboTax. H&R Block, for example, currently starts its paid services at $55 plus $45 per state.
Bear in mind that these cheaper prices come at a cost. E-file offers fewer features compared to its higher-priced competition. For example, the premium and self-employed H&R Block plans let you take care of your taxes on cryptocurrency and investment income. E-file lists neither source of income on any of its plan options. Still, E-file may prove more than adequate for individuals with simpler tax returns.
E-file tax software accessibility
E-file’s basic, free plan only supports email messaging. Subscribers to paid plans can access phone support. Its website does not offer an online chat feature.
E-file is available nationwide, and customers across the U.S. can use its software to pay both their federal and state taxes.
E-file only offers support to registered users. If you already have an account, you may contact customer support over email or by phone, depending on your E-file plan. Non-customers will likely have to register for a free account or send the company a message via social media, since E-file does not list a contact phone, email or physical address on its site.
E-file's basic functionalities and user interface may leave some customers feeling frustrated. However, users with uncomplicated tax needs may find the system's simplicity refreshing.
Helpful prompts will guide you through the filing process. Once you finish, you can check your E-file status online. E-file also offers free tools on its website like its tax bracket estimator calculator. It also hosts a frequently asked question page where you can peruse tax-related information.
E-file tax software customer satisfaction
E-file holds a 3.9/5 average rating and an A+ grade with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with 181 customer reviews. The BBB records four complaints (all have been closed) within the past 12 months and 25 complaints closed in the past three years.
E-file tax software FAQ
Is E-file legitimate and safe to use?
Does E-file have a mobile app?
How we evaluated E-file tax software
When evaluating E-file tax software, we took the following factors into consideration:
- Ease of use
- Plan options
- Filing features
- Customer satisfaction
- Financial stability
- Third-party endorsements
Summary of Money's E-file tax software review
E-file tax software provides solid functionality at a very low price. However, individuals with complex tax filing situations may prefer the more robust services its competitors offer.
E-file provides three pricing tiers, including a free plan. In addition to its normally low prices, you can also take advantage of its revolving door promotional offers.
Currently, E-file does not offer a publicly available customer support line or online chat option. However, Deluxe and Premium plan customers do gain access to a customer support phone line. Those using the free plan can communicate with a customer service representative via email. Additionally, anyone can reach out to the company via its online form. While E-file provides safe and secure online service, it doesn't offer a mobile app. Ultimately, E-file is a good choice for budget-conscious individuals with simple and straightforward tax needs.
Do you have a burning tax question? Want to learn more about taxes? Check out our comprehensive tax questions and answers guide to educate yourself on some of the most commonly asked tax questions.