E-File is as simple as it sounds. File your taxes online with ease and avoid paying extra for fancy features. It’s not for everyone but it could save the right person hundreds of dollars. We’ll tell you all about it in our E-File review.
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When it comes to taxes, many of us are looking for the cheapest possible way to file. So you might be checking out various online tax filing systems looking for low-cost tax preparation. That’s what E-File offers. It’s one of the more affordable options on the market, but it doesn’t come with as many bells and whistles as the higher-paid services. Here’s what you need to know before choosing E-File.
Like other more well-known options–TurboTax and H&R Block Online–E-File gives you a way to file your taxes online but for a much lower price. We’ll talk specifics of the costs of the service momentarily. But for now, know that it’s one of the most affordable products available on the market today.
As with other, similar products, E-File lets you walk through the various tax forms that you have to fill out. This can include the basic 1040EZ in the free version or the full 1040 and all possible additional forms found in the pricer, but still affordable, Deluxe Plus and Premium Plus versions. E-File walks you through the process form by form through its online interface.
In short, it lets you do your taxes without a ton of hassle. With that said, E-File offers less guidance than some of the more expensive products on the market. So if you have questions, you can’t directly connect with a CPA. And their customer support isn’t known to be the best around. But, you may decide that E-File is the best option for your needs if you’re comfortable with filing your taxes.
E-File offers many of the same features as competing brands, including:
- Fast form filling. You can fill out all the forms you need, and E-File automatically does the math. This makes it much easier and quicker to fill out your taxes than doing so on paper.
- Electronic filing for federal and state taxes. You can have E-File send in your state and federal taxes electronically, so you get a refund even faster.
- Direct deposit payment. When you E-File, you can get your tax refund via direct deposit in as little as 8 days. You can also pay for E-File out of your tax refund, if you choose to do so.
- Free audit defense tools. You can get access to E-File’s audit defense center for free if you get audited. But it doesn’t come with actual representation.
- Mobile-friendly website. E-File doesn’t have it’s own app, but you can use the website on mobile to file your taxes on your phone.
- All forms available. With the free and less expensive versions of E-File, you can get access to basic tax forms. The paid versions come with access to all forms that you might need, including forms for small businesses.
E-File advertises that it is 50% less expensive than other premium tax filing software. And that seems to be about right. Here’s a breakdown of the pricing for various levels of service:
- Free: You can choose a free federal e-file if you are married filing jointly or single, you have taxable income of $100,000 or less, and you don’t claim credits or deductions except for the Earned Income Tax Credit. So this version works for many individuals and couples with simple income and few deductions. You also still have to pay $19 to file your state taxes with this plan.
- Deluxe Plus: This plan lets you file with dependents and get the credits and deductions that come from them. You can also deduct mortgage interest and count retirement income. But you must not have income in excess of $100,000, and you can’t itemize your deductions. This plan costs $18.99, plus $19 to file your state taxes.
- Premium Plus: If you don’t fall into the above two categories because you need to itemize, own your own business, or just have a higher income, you can choose any other tax filing situation with Premium Plus, which costs $34.95. Plus, you’ll have to pay the $19 to file your state taxes.
Prices current as of February 5th 2019.
Creating an account with E-File is simple. You’ll set up a login name and password. That way you can log back in to access your tax filing as often as you need to. Of course, you’ll also need to provide E-File with other personal information, including your address and Social Security Number, in order to actually file your taxes.
Like other tax filing services online, E-File uses security known to many banks to protect your data with encryption. It is an IRS authorized service, which means its security protocols meet the IRS’s minimums. It also transfers data securely and guarantees that it will not turn your information over to a third party.
E-File does not have a proprietary app for filing on your phone. However, it does have a mobile-friendly website, so you actually can file your taxes online. However, a mobile website may not be as easy to use as an app custom-built for mobile, so keep this in mind if you’re planning to do your tax filing via mobile.
You can contact E-File’s customer service through their online portal. And customer service is free. However, the customer service representatives are only qualified to answer software-based questions and general return-related issues. But they can’t give you actual tax advice. You can use the chat feature during business hours–which are extended near tax time–to connect with someone right away. Or you can send an email query, which will usually get you a response within one business day.
There are, of course, tons of alternatives to E-File. If you meet certain income requirements, you can file for free using loads of different services. Or if you need additional guidance and information from tax experts, you can check out services like H&R Block or TurboTax. Check these links for a list of the best tax software and the cheapest tax software.
As with all tax filing software, E-File has its pros and cons.
- It is cheaper than most other software options out there.
- It has a decent interface that is mobile-friendly.
- It’s definitely faster than filing your taxes with paper.
- It is a secure option for filing your taxes.
- You can use it to file any tax forms you might need to fill out.
- It is missing some of the features of the bigger name tax filing options, including an option to upload a photo of your W-2 and more robust audit support.
- You don’t get access to actual tax experts when filing your taxes.
- It may not offer the kind of robust guided support that more expensive systems offer.
If you’re already certain about what you need to do to file your taxes and are at a low risk of being audited, E-File might be a great way for you to save money on your taxes. Its prices are definitely some of the lowest around. That means you don’t get as many robust features, but it’s perfect for people with less complicated tax situations.
However, if your tax situation is more complex and you aren’t positive about what you need to file them properly, you may want to invest a bit more money into a system with clear guidance, access to tax professionals, and access to audit resources.
E-File’s main selling point–that it lets you do taxes more cheaply than most of the software on the market–is certainly true. But it is also true that you usually get what you pay for. The more expensive options tend to have enhanced features that can be helpful when you’re filing your taxes. But if E-File has enough features for you, it’s a great way to save money when filing your taxes.Topics: Reviews • Taxes