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- The Good
- Cheaper prices
- Price match guarantee
- Low flat fee for state filings
- The Bad
- No W-2 importation
- No phone support
E-file gives you a bare-bones way to file your taxes for cheap, which is a good option for anyone who wants to get their taxes done but doesn’t have a lot of cash to shell out. It does offer a price match guarantee that a lot of other tax services do not offer.
- Easy Filing
- Deluxe package
- Premium package
- State package
Considering the name of the company is E-File, you would think it would have a more comprehensive inclusion when it comes to what you can e-file with the IRS for free. E-File will basically only file your free federal tax return if you are doing a 1040EZ or a 1040 with no deductions and no dependents. Many other top tax prep services allow you to file for free even if you have deductions or dependents. On the other hand, the Deluxe and Premium packages are much cheaper than most of E-File’s competitors, which is nice if you are looking to save some money. E-File also only charges $19.95 for state filings, no matter how many states you need to file in.
- Tax Prep Features
- Online filing option
- Interview-style preparation
- In-line explanation of taxes
- Fast tax refund
- Direct deposit or check for refunds
E-File doesn’t have a lot of the fancy features that the bigger names have, but for a lower price, that is to be expected. What it does have is a simple, interview-style tax preparation tool that helps you fill out your taxes with ease. There are also a slew of information pop-ups and tools that will help explain your taxes for you. The best part about E-File is it expedites every tax return it files, which other companies charge for, so you will get your tax refund faster.
- Audit Protection
E-file actually does offer free audit support in the case that you are audited. This is limited to advice about your audit situation, but doesn’t go much beyond that. If, however, you purchased its ProtectionPlus Audit Assistance, you will get enhanced services, including E-File helping you draft letters to the IRS and assistance with any phone communication you have with the IRS. E-File does not offer audit representation if you have to meet with the IRS.
- Phone assistance
- Email and chat support
- Informational articles
E-File does offer phone assistance if you are having issues with your taxes or the online program, as well as email and chat support, which some companies charge for. It also has a large amount of FAQs and informational articles to answer any questions you might have on filing your taxes.
E-File.com: User Reviews
E-File isn’t flashy and doesn’t offer high-tech features like most of the other top-name online tax preparation services, but it gets the job done and for a lot less. This can be a good option for anyone looking to do a quick file of their taxes without paying for all the extras.
How Does E-File Work
E-File works very similarly to other online tax preparation services. It offers an interview-style preparation tool that will ask you questions about your life to make sure you are getting the most out of your tax return. E-File doesn’t offer a W-2 or previous year’s taxes import tool, so you will have to add that information yourself. One nice feature about E-File is you don’t have to stress about which package to pick. Once you start answering questions about your taxes, it will automatically assign you to the correct package, including downgrading you to a lesser package if you are paying too much, which other services won’t do.
You can file your federal and state taxes together, with state taxes only costing a flat fee of $19.95, no matter how many states you need to file in.
What Makes E-File Stand Out
That is actually one of the things that makes E-File stand out — its flat-fee for state filings. Most tax preparation services charge you per state, so if you are filing in three or four states, that can get expensive. With E-File, it’s $19.95, no matter how many states you need to file in.
Another thing that makes E-File stand out is its Biggest Refund guarantee. If another tax prep service does your taxes with the same information you gave E-File and comes up with a bigger refund, you can send both the E-File return and the competing return to E-File and it will not only refund the fees you paid, but also give you $100. E-File also offers an accuracy guarantee, so if you are charged a penalty fee for miscalculations, E-File will pay for the penalty and any interest accrued from that penalty.
One last thing that makes E-File stand out is its fast refund service. It basically puts in an expedited order for each tax return in files, meaning you will get your return faster. Other services offer expedited filing, but it usually costs extra. With E-File, it is standard with any package you use, even free filing.
Common E-File Reviews
Reviews of E-File are mixed, since it is not a comprehensive service like some of the bigger names in the tax prep field. Professional reviews seem to focus on E-File’s lack of guarantees and limited support, which is understandable.
E-File does receive an A- from the Better Business Bureau, which means that customers are for the most part happy with their service from E-File. All the reviews are positive, but there are a couple complaints from customers about how the product works, although no details were given.
Is E-File Right For You?
With tax prep services like TurboTax and H&R Block dominating the tax field, it takes a special set of features to stand out from the pack, and if that special set of features is what you are looking for, then E-File is probably a good fit. Here are a few questions to ask when looking at E-File:
- Am I looking to save on tax prep?
- Do I need my refund fast?
- Am I filing in more than one state?
E-File offers a cheaper option for filing than the larger companies, so if you want to save a little money on your taxes, E-File is a good option. If you are filing a free federal tax return and only have to file in one state, it might be better to look at one of the bigger companies that offer more features to optimize your return.
If you really need your refund quickly, you can take advantage of E-File’s expedited filing, which is included in any of the packages, to get your return as quickly as possible, whether by direct deposit or check.
If you are filing in more than one state, going with a service like TurboTax can end up costing you a lot of money. E-File’s flat fee for state filing means you only have to pay $19.95 total, no matter if you are filing in two states or 10. This is a great feature for anyone who has more than one state filing.
If you don’t need any of these things, it might be a better idea to go with a bigger company that optimizes your tax return to make sure you are getting the most for your money.