EFile TaxReturns Review – Worthwhile?
EFile TaxReturns is one of many companies that allow you to file your tax returns online. The company has been in business for twelve years and offers competitive pricing, fast customer service, and versions of their software to cover just about anyone’s tax situation. Read on for our full EFile TaxReturns review.
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EFile TaxReturns Overview
As with most online tax preparation software, EFile TaxReturns offers multiple versions of their product, which are tailored to your needs:
EFile TaxReturns Free Edition
The EFile TaxReturns Free Edition allows you to file your Federal income tax return for free, provided that you only need to use the 1040 EZ form and have no dependents or deductions. Free email tech support is included.
EFile TaxReturns Basic Edition
The EFile TaxReturns Basic Edition, currently priced at $29.95, is for filers who need the basic 1040 or 1040A form, along with Earned Income Credit, Education Credit, Child Tax Credit and Schedules A and B. Tech support for this version is available via email or live chat.
EFile TaxReturns Premium Edition
The EFile TaxReturns Premium Edition includes all of the features in the versions above, but covers all supported tax forms, including Schedules C, D, and E, and can accommodate those with investments, small businesses and those with rental property income. This version, which also includes email and live chat support, is priced at $49.95.
Unlike many tax preparation companies, EFile TaxReturns also offers a downloadable version of their software for those who would rather work on their taxes offline. This can be convenient, as not everyone has access to the Internet all the time. One odd feature about EFile TaxReturns software is that the software will determine which version of the program you need automatically, based on the forms you elect to use. For instance, if you elect to use the EFile TaxReturns Free Edition, but while filling out your forms you select Schedule A, you will automatically be upgraded to the EFile TaxReturns Basic Edition and you will be charged accordingly. This may constitute either a feature or a bug, depending on your point of view. We haven’t seen this in any other tax preparation products.
State tax returns for those states that require them are priced at a flat $24.95, regardless of the state.
Tech support is only available via live chat and email; if you need more than that, EFile TaxReturns recommends that you call the Internal Revenue Service. Good luck with that; thanks to government funding cutbacks, the IRS has dramatically cut back on their telephone support, and you’re currently likely to spend 30 minutes on hold, provided that you get to speak with anyone there at all.
We can’t really comment too much about the EFile TaxReturns software, as we have found that the pages on the EFile TaxReturns Website load very slowly. When we visited the site, it took nearly a minute for any page on the site to load. Given that load times are vital when you’re filling out forms online and that data can sometimes be lost that way, we can’t really recommend that you use EFile TaxReturns at this time. The software probably works just fine; after all, most tax software these days is pretty sophisticated and fairly well developed. You usually just answer a series of questions to help determine which forms you need and you fill them out and you’re on your way. For the vast majority of taxpayers, any tax software will get the job done and while there are cheaper options than EFile TaxReturns, they aren’t overly expensive. and their pricing falls in the middle of the pack when compared with other products we’ve reviewed.
The biggest problem with EFile TaxReturns and with every other tax software is that it isn’t designed to do what you really need done – calculate ways to save you the most money on your taxes. Most tax software is created to help you with the most common deductions, such as child deductions or medical expenses or mortgage interest. What most people don’t realize is that the US tax code actually offers hundreds or possibly thousands of ways that you can legally deduct expenses from your income and that some of these deductions, even the more common ones, can be calculated in several different ways, with different results. Obviously, if there are two or three ways to calculate the value of a tax deduction, you want to use the one that is going to save you the most money.
Most software can’t do that, and most software cannot possibly know about all of the ways that you could be saving money but aren’t. EFile TaxReturns can certainly work with whatever information that you provide it, but it’s up to you to know about the deductions yourself in order to add it to the EFile TaxReturns software. It’s unreasonable for the average taxpayer to know about all of the ways that the IRS allows them to save money; there’s simply too much information to go through and too many changes on an annual basis for anyone but dedicated professionals to keep up with. That’s not the fault of taxpayers or EFile TaxReturns; it’s simply too much of a burden.
There is, however, a great resource that does keep track of ways in which the average taxpayer can save hundreds, or even thousands of dollars annually on their Federal income taxes. That information is compiled regularly, kept up to date, and presented in simple, easy-to-understand English. You won’t have to wade through thousands of pages of an incomprehensible tax code that even the politicians who wrote it don’t understand; it will be presented to you in a way that you an immediately put to use and then you can plug the information into EFile TaxReturns or whatever other tax software you’re using and you’ll be on your way to saving money.
EFile TaxReturns is an OK product, and for most customers it will get the job done. But if you want to save the most money you possibly can on your income taxes, you’re going to need more than just EFile TaxReturns.
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