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With tax time upon us, you’re probably trying to figure out the best way to file your taxes. There are many options online, and one of them is eSmart Tax®.
Before deciding to go ahead with tax software, however, it’s important to read reviews and determine what is likely to work for you and your situation. If you’re considering the eSmart tax, here’s what you need to know.
What is the eSmart tax?
eSmart tax belongs to Liberty Tax. Even though freedom has its own online filing software, it is perhaps best known for its in-person services and also offers this platform online only. eSmart offers electronic filing options for filers who do not require professional tax assistance.
With eSmart, the navigation is self-guided, so you can go at your own pace, but it’s pretty clunky. If you are used to using other tax preparation software, many of which use a question-and-answer format to guide you through your feedback, you may find eSmart’s platform difficult to use. But we’ll see how it all works later.
Who is the eSmart tax for?
eSmart Tax will work best for filers who are reasonably confident in their abilities and know what to do. If you don’t mind simplicity and just need a little bit of guidance in filling out your tax forms, this can work well.
However, other providers offer better user experiences as well as more deposit options. eSmart Tax is priced on par with mid-range tax software, but it’s less convenient to use and lacks features and support. Compared to more expensive and cheaper providers, it is much more limited.
TurboTax And H&R block, for example, have more plans to choose from and plenty of options to add extra help. You’ll pay a higher price, but you might end up with more peace of mind and more robust grading choices. Plus, with H&R Block, you can walk into an office if you want in-person help.
For the most part, eSmart Tax doesn’t offer anything out of the ordinary and we wouldn’t recommend it above other platforms. Confident registrants can get better features at budget prices with tax killer Or TaxAct and filers who want more support can get it with TurboTax and H&R Block. There is nothing that positively distinguishes eSmart Tax.
eSmart Tax Features
Only for simple tax returns
|Small Business Features
|Features for Investors
|Audit assistance included
|Reimbursement of penalties and interest
|Email, Live Chat and Phone: M-SUN 9A-12A EST
Tax plans and eSmart pricing
There are three different pricing tiers with eSmart Tax: Basic, Deluxe, and Premium. There is no free option announcement for simple declarants on their pricing page. No matter which online plan you choose, certain features are included with all products:
- Free technical support including live chat
- Import previous declarations
- Preparation of state tax return at an additional cost
- Download W-2
- Accuracy Guarantee, Satisfaction Guarantee and Maximum Money Back Guarantee
Note that for all filing plans, eSmart Tax limits you to one state filing per federal filing. Therefore, you cannot file several state declarations.
Federal statement: $45.95
Status feedback: $36.95
The eSmart Tax Basic online plan is for simple filing using Form 1040 or Form 8853. It supports Schedules A and B, W-2, and unemployment income, as well as standard deduction and credit for earned income.
This plan will only be suitable for filers without dependents who earn taxable income below $100,000. If you are not eligible for this product, you will need to upgrade to at least Deluxe.
Federal statement: $65.95
Status feedback: $36.95
If you need itemize deductions, this is the version you can use. This online plan gives you tax breaks for home ownership, childcare, and education, among other common deductions. eSmart Tax Deluxe supports Schedule C and investment and retirement income.
This is probably the right eSmart tax plan for most investors and families.
Federal statement: $85.95
Status feedback: $36.95
The Premium Online Package with eSmart Tax is ideal for independent tax filers. It allows you to access K-1 forms for LLC and S-Corp filing as well as schedules E and F. With this plan, you can take tax deductions for the self-employed and manage asset depreciation. You can also enter rental property income and report capital gains and losses with Schedule D using this plan.
This is the package you need if your taxes are complex due to your income, deductions and/or investments.
Tax refund options
There is nothing special about the refund options offered by eSmart Tax. In fact, you only have the options that the federal government offers in the form of:
- Direct deposit
- paper check
- US Savings Bonds
- Apply for next year’s taxes
How to register
You can start filing with eSmart Tax by selecting “Register” at the top of the homepage or by clicking “Start Now” next to any package description. From there, you will create an account with your email address and choose a username and password.
Once done, an email is sent containing your code to access the site. After confirming your code, you can start importing your tax documents and filing your returns.
You can find support options on the side as you deposit.
Being able to import last year’s return is a plus, as is the fact that you can upload your W-2. You can also have your refund sent directly to your bank account. If you file electronically and then select Direct Deposit, this is the fastest way to receive your refund.
You can choose to save your tax return so you can log in later and finish.
There is no eSmart Tax tax filing app, so if you want to do your taxes from your phone or tablet, you need to access the site using your device’s browser. You can sign in to your account from any browser, but it may be harder to see and use when you’re on the phone.
You are better off using a tablet or computer to deposit with this provider or choosing a completely different platform.
You can access customer service quite easily using eSmart Tax, but you will only be able to ask basic questions about the software rather than getting specific tax advice. eSmart offers email and chat support as well as support via Twitter and Facebook. There is also a “common questions” feature in the software that you can use to find answers to your questions when completing the return. Most of these questions are related to technology.
There aren’t the same tools you’d see with a more comprehensive platform like TurboTax or H&R Block. These provide information boxes and helpful tips throughout the process to guide you through the process.
Advantages and disadvantages of eSmart taxation
- Guarantees. eSmart Tax guarantees accuracy and your maximum refund and satisfaction. Although not uncommon, it is always appreciated.
- No free option. Most tax software providers offer a free filing plan for simple tax situations.
- No mobile app. For filers who like the convenience of downloading forms and filing their returns from their phones, this is a significant inconvenience.
- Limited features and functionality. eSmart Tax doesn’t include as many helpful tools and resources as many other providers, nor does it offer additional support for more complex tax situations such as self-employed taxes.
- Limited support. Although online chat may be available for technical questions, there are no live support options from tax professionals.
- Awkward platforming. This provider’s interface is not as easy to use as competing platforms.
- No software downloads or professional preparation. eSmart Tax does not allow you to purchase software in lieu of e-filing and does not provide preparation services.