Review

eFile Tax Software Review, 2020

e-File Overview

This e-File tax software review will cover the most important features of note to determine if this tax software meets your needs this tax season.

e-File is based in Virginia  and has provided its tax software since 2014.  The tax software does not come equipped with the bells and whistles seen on the more-established companies’ programs in the space.  Instead, it offers a stripped-down experience commensurate with the lower cost.

And the product is priced to sell fast.  In 5 years, it has been used by over 1 million taxpayers for preparing their tax returns.  One more note about its target consumer base: the software stipulates you must earn under $100,000, be younger than 65, and be single or married filing jointly with no dependents to qualify for its free federal tax return.

1076965eFile Tax Software Review, 2020

eFile Pros –

  • Great budget pick.  Cost-effective if you meet the restrictive criteria for its free product.  This software package targets individuals with simple tax returns or extensive experience preparing their tax returns.
  • Competitive cost. The software offers a free federal return product, though it comes with stipulations.  To qualify, you must earn under $100,000, be younger than 65, and be single or married, filing jointly with no dependents. It’s premium product only costs $49.95, less than half the costliest TurboTax product.
  • Deduction comparison. After completing your tax deductions on the federal return, the software shows how you compare to the national averages on popular tax deductions.  This information can be useful for determining if you fall too far from the averages and could point out possible errors on your return.

eFile Cons –

  • Simpler design and functionality.  The software design is similar to TaxSlayer’s interface except it offers no video support or thorough explanations.  Instead, the guidance and explanations provided (if any) are hardly intuitive.  The software is not ideal for the inexperienced tax return preparers.
  • Offers no phone support. Currently, the tax software offers no phone support to field questions that may arise during your return preparation.  You can attempt to contact the company through email with your questions but this doesn’t have the same help as talking directly to a human on the other end of the line.
  • Not suited for complicated returns and those with limited return experience. The software is best suited for basic tax returns or those with experience dealing with various tax forms needed to prepare your return.  Because of the simplicity and low-level support offered by the new product, any questions you may have will be difficult to answer from the services offered by the company.

1076965eFile Tax Software Review, 2020

Shows Final Calculation by Return Schedule

After you’ve made it through the process of inputting your information into the return, e-File allows you to review all of your deductions and credits claimed by schedule.  The feature shows these through a dropdown window to do a final check of all the claims you’ve made on your tax return.

I haven’t come across this feature on other budget tax software.  It is a nice feature to see the primary drivers for why you owe more in taxes or you will receive a refund.

Deductions Guide

Advanced users will find the software’s deduction groupings useful.  The software offers self-guided navigation through your deductions and credits and shows them on the side of the screen.  The topics covered will help users decide whether a section pertains to them or not.  

If it doesn’t, the tax software moves you to the next part of the guide to see if you qualify for any other deduction groupings.

E-File Knowledge Articles

The tax software offers simplicity and a sparse user experience compared to other products.  However, it does offer “E-File Knowledge Articles” to explain items you’re encountering on your tax return.  The feature allows the user to click on question marks for further explanation of items being asked.

It also simplifies the tax jargon used so most users can enter the correct information into their returns.

Pay with Your Refund

A nice feature to reduce out-of-pocket expenses is the ability to pay for the software with your tax refund.  This makes paying for the software easier because it avoids expenses hitting your credit or debit card, allows you to save on making an upfront payment.

Import Previous Year’s Refund

If this is your second consecutive year using e-File to prepare your refund, you can import your tax return from the prior year and have many of your fields automatically populate.  This saves you time and hassle.

As a note, if you prepared your return with a competing tax software, you will not be able to import your return into e-File.

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