eSmart Tax Review
This is a solid platform that's easy to use and can handle most straightforward tax situations, as well as import information to speed up data entry. An upgrade to the deluxe version supports investment and retirement income and lets you consult a tax professional by email or phone. The software is online only and backed by the large tax preparation firm Liberty Tax Service.
The most basic online software from eSmart Tax is free and offers free federal e-filing but charges $19.95 for a state return. A cheaper option is to access the software through the IRS Free File website, which you can do if you're 52 or younger and made up to $57,000 last year. That way it's $12.95 or even free in some states to prepare and e-file a state return. Users can also print tax returns at no extra charge.
This online-only software has taken a lot of knocks for its design in eSmart Tax reviews, but it's easy to use and backed by the large retail tax preparation company Liberty Tax Service. The company took over Complete Tax in late 2012 and seems to have adopted its superior interface, according to an eSmart review on About.com. (ESmart Tax is beta testing a new platform you can try for free if you're game.)
Like other popular software, eSmart Tax includes how-to videos and uses an interview-style approach to fill in your information. Still, you're free to skip around and can set a reminder if you want to come back to a section later. You can begin to fill in your information without creating an account, giving you a chance to see if you like the system. Naturally, saving your work requires you to register. The $9.95 deluxe version supports itemized deductions and caters to taxpayers claiming dependents, mortgage interest, and investment gains or losses. It also lets you speak with a Liberty Tax agent over the phone or via email.
Even the free eSmart Tax software comes with free live chat support, as well as access to helpful guides. It also stands out for letting users import data from W-2 and 1099 forms and tax returns from prior years prepared by competitors such as TurboTax and H&R Block. An eSmart Tax review by editors at NextAdvisor concludes that, although eSmart Tax may not look as slick as some of the other tax software out there, it includes many of the same features at lower prices.
If you file before March 31, 2013, according to a post on Slickdeals, you can use the discount code TREASURE20 for an extra 20 percent off. The tipster also suggests purchasing through FatWallet for 10 percent cash back.