E-file.com is a low-cost on-line tax preparation software program firm that made our record of the high free on-line tax preparation companies. It affords free tax prep and submitting for anybody who qualifies for a 1040EZ — most of whom can full their returns in 15 minutes or much less, based on E-file.com.E-file.com is to not be confused with IRS e-file, which is the final means of submitting your federal taxes on-line. Neither is it to be confused with efile.com, an almost identically named competitor. (E-file.com’s advertising and marketing emails remind URL-typers to recollect the hyphen.)E-file.com is merely one in all many personal firms licensed to e-file tax returns with the Federal Authorities. Its hottest rivals embrace established on-line tax prep firms similar to TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct, in addition to newer, leaner upstarts similar to TaxHub.E-file.com is cheaper than full-service rivals similar to TurboTax and H&R Block. Nevertheless, it’s very a lot a DIY possibility, with out practically the extent of buyer help and user-friendliness as these two established firms. Worth-wise, E-file.com is roughly on par with TaxAct, although TaxAct has considerably higher buyer help.Contemplating that it’s reasonably priced, quick, and pretty straightforward to make use of for anybody with expertise getting ready their very own tax return, E-file.com deserves a better look from anybody involved with the dimensions of their tax prep invoice.Pricing and PlansE-file.com has a no-frills, stripped-down tax preparation interface that takes a hybrid interview/DIY strategy.E-File.com’s ApproachEach part (for instance, “Revenue”) and subsection (for instance, “Investments”) begins with a brief interview that asks fundamental questions on your life state of affairs. Based mostly in your solutions to every batch of questions, you’re proven a listing of recommended varieties and schedules. For those who’re assured that you realize which varieties and schedules to fill out with out answering questions on your tax state of affairs, you may skip proper to the varieties – a major time-saver, so long as you understand how to fill out the varieties.Accuracy GuaranteeLike many on-line tax software program firms, E-file.com has an accuracy assure that protects customers towards calculation errors attributable to software program glitches.In prior tax years, the assure wasn’t very effectively marketed – in 2016, I discovered it buried in a dense article about how E-file.com works. The excellent news is that E-File.com up to date their web site for 2017 and 2018. The platform now clearly advertises the accuracy assure, together with the form of most refund assure that’s widespread amongst on-line tax prep suppliers.Plan OptionsE-file.com affords three plans. Of observe: every plan’s state return pricing is nice for a number of state returns, irrespective of what number of you’ll want to file. This is a vital level of distinction from most different tax prep companies, which cost separate charges for every state return.1. Free Federal EditionFederal Return: FreeState Return: $17.50 with code “SAVE30”The Free Federal Version is acceptable for single and joint filers with out dependents or the necessity to file further schedules – mainly, anybody who can full their taxes utilizing Type 1040EZ solely.2. Deluxe Plus EditionFederal Return: $18.99 (usually $24.99)State: $17.50Deluxe is acceptable for single and joint filers with dependents, in addition to anybody else who can full their taxes utilizing Type 1040A. Use code “SAVE30” to seize the promotional pricing.three. Premium EditionFederal Return: $34.95 (usually $45.99)State: $17.50Premium is acceptable for folks with reasonably to very complicated tax conditions, together with these with funding revenue, small enterprise revenue, and rental property revenue. Use code “SAVE30” to seize the promotional pricing.Key FeaturesAll of E-file.com’s plans include the next options:Prior-12 months Return Importing from E-file.comIf you filed your return with E-file.com final 12 months, you may import its data instantly into your current-year return. Nevertheless, you may’t import from different on-line tax prep companies.Submitting Prior-12 months ReturnsIf you didn’t file a return for a previous tax 12 months, you should utilize one in all E-file.com’s three plans to take action. There’s no further cost for this service past the headline value of your chosen plan. Word that you would be able to solely declare refunds going again three tax years. For those who’re submitting for an earlier 12 months, you’ll forfeit any refund to which you might have been entitled.Assist TicketingE-file.com’s main mode of buyer help is an email-based ticketing system. To make use of it, you fill out a easy kind on the web site, present written element about your drawback, and ship it off to E-file.com’s workers. The system usually produces an electronic mail response inside one enterprise day.Audit AssistanceE-file.com affords an elective audit help add-on at no further cost. For those who choose into audit help and the IRS subsequently audits your return, E-file.com handles all communication with the IRS in your behalf and offers common standing updates.Assist SidebarE-file.com’s return interface has a assist sidebar with fundamental details about the tax subjects you’re engaged on and fundamental recommendation about the way to proceed. As you progress by means of every kind, the sidebar mechanically updates to replicate your place. Nevertheless, the recommendation is mostly fairly fundamental, and infrequently not that useful – for example, whenever you mouse over an tackle area, the sidebar says one thing like, “Enter your own home tackle,” or “Enter your corporation tackle.”Pay With Your RefundE-file.com allows you to pay to your tax preparation charges along with your tax refund, eliminating the necessity to present your bank card data for an upfront fee. It offers this service by means of EPS Monetary, a associate firm. There’s a $19 charge for selecting this fee technique, topic to vary.Advantages1. Very Aggressive PricingE-file.com is cheaper than many rivals. Actually, it’s one of many only a few tax prep packages that’s grown cheaper over time. The Deluxe Plus plan’s discounted value dropped about $6 from 2017 to 2018, for example. Its full value dropped about $15.The Free Federal Version is on the market to any filer who qualifies to make use of Type 1040EZ, and the 2 higher-priced variations are pretty low cost as effectively: $18.99 (recurrently $24.99) for Deluxe Plus and $34.95 (recurrently $45.99) for Premium. That’s about half the price of comparable plans from H&R Block, and as little as one-third the price of comparable plans from TurboTax.2. Easy, No-Frills ApproachE-file.com’s tax prep interface is stripped down and easy, with plenty of white area and few extraneous options. The preparation course of itself can be easy and easy. The software program makes use of fewer questions than most rivals, so that you don’t should click on by means of a ton of screens or reply plenty of redundant questions at the beginning of every part.If you realize which varieties and schedules you’ll want to fill out (and the way to full them), you’re more likely to full your E-file.com return way more shortly than an an identical return ready on TurboTax and TaxAct, each of that are considerably extra labor-intensive.three. You Can Pay With Your RefundYou pays your E-file.com tax prep charges along with your anticipated tax refund if you happen to’re eligible to obtain one. It is a good perk for individuals who won’t wish to (or in any other case can not) pay upfront.four. Tight Safety PracticesE-file.com has above-average safety, no less than from the consumer’s perspective. The account and password necessities are stricter than many rivals’ – I truly wasn’t in a position to make use of my default tax prep software program username to create an E-file.com account as a result of it didn’t have sufficient characters, and I needed to cycle by means of a number of makes an attempt to create a random password. Additionally, E-file.com instances out after roughly 10 minutes.Disadvantages1. No Free State ReturnsBudget-friendly branding apart, E-file.com doesn’t supply a 100% free submitting possibility for purchasers who should file state taxes, even when they qualify for the free federal deal. When you have a easy tax state of affairs and reside in a state with out state revenue taxes, similar to Nevada or Florida, you should utilize E-file.com totally free. However the majority of E-file.com customers should pay $19 to file state taxes. The silver lining: if you happen to earned revenue in a couple of state, you no less than don’t should pay for a number of state returns.2. Very Restricted Buyer SupportE-file.com’s buyer help infrastructure may be very restricted. There’s no strategy to get in contact with E-file.com workers by cellphone, and the one technique of contacting a human helper in any respect is to fill out a quite fundamental help ticket. At a number of factors through the ticketing course of, E-file.com directs customers to particular FAQs or information base subjects, not-so-subtly discouraging human contact. And, on the ticketing system’s preliminary consumption kind, E-file.com advises clients to contact the IRS (a cellphone quantity is offered) with “particular questions.”Most bigger rivals, together with TurboTax, H&R Block, and Jackson Hewitt On-line, have human cellphone (and, in H&R Block’s and Jackson Hewitt’s instances, in-person) workers members accessible to deal with customer support points. And FreeTaxUSA, a good cheaper low cost tax prep possibility, has a reside chat plus electronic mail ticketing.three. Perfunctory Assist SystemIn addition to a scarcity of human buyer help, E-file.com has a mediocre-at-best onsite assist system. Its information base isn’t as complete as TurboTax’s, nor does it have a user-generated question-and-answer part (which is commonly extra useful than canned FAQs or subjects written by the tax prep firm’s workers). Although the articles in its information base typically cowl widespread subjects and questions, they’re typically long-winded and circuitous. I query their writers’ collective experience.Outdoors the information base, E-file.com’s assist content material is typically skinny and complicated. As an example, once I was in a previous 12 months requested whether or not I wished to file individually or collectively with my partner, I clicked the “Assist Me Resolve” button and obtained a one-sentence reply – “ typically select this selection if they’ve a large distinction in revenue” – with no context or additional rationalization to assist me weigh the professionals and cons of every possibility.four. Little to No Steering for Advanced SituationsE-file.com just isn’t excellent for filers with complicated tax conditions, except they’re assured that they’ll fill out the requisite varieties and schedules precisely. It’s because E-file.com offers little or no steering through the preparation course of, both within the type of guided questions or a assist sidebar. As an alternative, the software program asks you a sequence of fundamental questions (“Do you personal a house?” “Did you pay curiosity on a mortgage?” “Did you pay property taxes?”) and, utilizing your responses, offers a listing of varieties to fill out. You fill out the varieties area by area, simply as you’d if you happen to had been utilizing pen and paper, with no questions or explanations to maintain you inside the rails.Although the assistance sidebar affords one-sentence explanations of most kind fields, they’re often self-evident: “Enter your full title,” “Enter your own home tackle.”This lack of steering is a reasonably large oversight, as nearly each different DIY on-line tax prep system I’ve used has no less than some help for complicated conditions (both in query or assist matter kind).5. No Importing CapabilitiesYou can’t import prior-year returns from different on-line tax prep companies. You can also’t import tax-related recordsdata from third events, similar to 1099 statements out of your brokerage. The shortage of importing from different tax prep companies is a trouble for anybody who has filed a tax return up to now, and the shortage of 1099 importing is a giant time-waster for anybody who actively trades securities.6. Quirky InterfaceE-file.com’s tax prep interface is fairly fundamental. That’s not essentially a nasty factor, because the system lacks superfluous colours and content material that may distract or confuse some customers. Nevertheless, it does have some unusual quirks that may have an effect on – and in some instances impede – the consumer expertise.For instance, whenever you’re requested to pick your start date and click on within the acceptable textual content area, somewhat month-by-month calendar pops up – much like the calendars on on-line journey reserving platforms. However the calendar defaults to the present 12 months, which is absurd, as infants and in-utero infants don’t file their very own taxes. There’s a small drop-down menu that allows you to alter the 12 months and ultimately choose the right date, but it surely’s not displayed very prominently and takes a second or two to seek out.7. Free Model Is Very LimitedE-file.com’s free model is meant for quite simple tax conditions solely. In case your taxes are too difficult to finish utilizing Type 1040EZ, you’ll want to improve to Deluxe Plus no less than. H&R Block’s free model can deal with considerably extra complicated conditions, together with these involving itemized deductions.Closing WordUnlike better-known rivals similar to TurboTax and H&R Block, E-file.com is a comparatively new on-line tax prep service with out title recognition or a lot of a longtime popularity. This isn’t essentially a nasty factor, as new firms are sometimes capable of supply service high quality or general worth that established firms can’t match.However, new firms additionally are likely to have fewer assets to deal with unexpected issues or tackle buyer issues as they come up. A lot of E-file.com’s drawbacks, notably its noticeable lack of help assets, can in the end be traced again to its lean construction and newcomer standing.The excellent news is that these issues are fixable. As E-file.com features traction within the market, it’s more likely to develop and mature. However it could possibly’t get to that time with out buy-in from early adopters seeking low cost, correct on-line tax preparation companies.For extra choices, try our full record of Prime-Rated Free On-line Tax Preparation Companies.