online tax service
Personal Finance
January 27, 2017
By Jack Ryder Tax Service Review

Simple. Thrifty. Living. is one of the many online tax preparation sites that is authorized to file tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The company is based in Fairfax, Va., and allows users to file both their state and federal returns. E-file uses information from the 2017 tax tables and other federal sources to help users file free tax returns or get help through E-file’s software and tax professionals. Review

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  • Price: E-file has three different tiers of service, Easy Filing (free), Deluxe ($29.95), and Premium ($39.95).
  • Packages: You can file your federal taxes for free if you have a simple tax return. E-file offers the Deluxe package for more complicated filings with deductions, the Premium package if you have investments or rental properties or if you are self-employed or own a business.
  • State filing: State filing is a flat-fee of $19.95, no matter how many states you file in.
  • Audit protection: E-file actually does offer free audit support in the case that you are audited. This is limited to advice about your audit situation, but doesn’t go much beyond that.
  • Customer service: E-File does offer phone assistance if you are having issues with your taxes or the online program, as well as email and chat support, which some companies charge for.

Unlike some of its competitors, E-file allows you to file state taxes only, without having to go through the federal process. It also offers a variety of forms you may need, including extension and amendment forms, to ensure you find everything in one place. The site provides a guarantee that your taxes will be done correctly. If another company finds a larger refund or lower tax liability, you’ll also receive E-file’s $100 Tax Refund Pledge Fee. You can check out E-file’s website here.

If your next question is “How much does E-file cost?”, it all depends on which service you select.

Free Basic

The Free Basic service provided by can get your return filed by tax day without all the bells and whistles. This tier is provided for anyone who is eligible to file a 1040EZ. You won’t spend a dollar on filing your federal returns, and if you choose the Deluxe or Premium versions and E-file discovers that you’re eligible for the Free Basic version, you’ll automatically be downgraded and charged nothing to file your federal return.

Unlike other online tax services, E-file doesn’t pressure you into upgrading once your 2017 tax forms are in E-file’s system. If you opt to file your state tax returns through E-file, the basic service charge is $19.95. This is one of the website’s downsides. Other major online tax vendors provide state filing for free.

Although charging to file a state return may scare off some potential customers, E-file does still have advantages over its competition in this area. If you have multiple state returns to file, E-file still only charges $19.95. Many of E-file’s competitors will charge for each return. So if you’re wondering “Where should I e-file my forms?” and you work in multiple states, offers an advantage.


The question of how much does e-filing cost flies out the window when comparing most basic services, but once you start to upgrade, you have to compare prices along with services. This is one of the biggest areas where stands out. The site’s Deluxe service, which is offered if you’re filing a 1040A, costs $24.95.

This is much cheaper than the site’s larger competitors, but also offers a lowest price guarantee. To qualify, though, the website that beats E-file’s price must offer the same services at a better price point. Additionally, if you pay for E-file’s service and another website finds a larger refund or lower tax liability, E-file will fully refund what you paid for its service. This is in addition to E-file’s $100 Tax Refund Pledge Fee.

If you have retirement income or information to fill out for your mortgage, the Deluxe service also helps with this.


If you opt to use the Premium service on, you’ll end up paying $34.95. Again, this is much lower than some of E-file’s competitors, but there are other services out there — both for the Deluxe and Premium levels — that are cheaper. You may not, however, receive the exact same services, forms or customer service.

Regardless of the 2017 tax forms you’re looking for, you’ll find most of them at the Premium price level. If you’re self-employed, are filing for your business, or have other special tax circumstances, you’re covered with the Premium service. Additionally, you’ll always know that you’ll be downgraded to Deluxe or Free Basic if you qualify.

It’s important to note that E-file is lacking when it comes to filing returns that involve high income or farm earnings. More robust tax preparation sites may be more expensive, but their premium services typically make it easy to handle these special situations.

Whether you’re looking to file state taxes only or all of your 2017 tax forms, you can start doing so in January of the year in which you’re filing. For earnings you made during the year 2016, you’re already eligible to file your taxes. If you’re seeking information on when you can file taxes for the 2017 calendar year, this option will be available on E-file in January 2018.

You are eligible to electronically file your return up until Oct. 16, 2017. You cannot file previous years’ tax returns on, but keep in mind that this is restricted by the IRS, not E-file.

Efile 4868

Another advantage that E-file offers over some of its competitors is that you can e-file extension form 4868 on the site. If you’re unable to get your taxes filed on time, the IRS allows you to file for an extension. Keep in mind that this extension needs to be filed prior to tax day 2017, which is April 18. This will provide you six additional months to get everything together.

When you e-file extension form 4868, however, it doesn’t change the due date for payment of your tax bill. Additionally, if you don’t file an extension and later discover new information that needs to be added, it’s easy to file an amendment, Form 1040X, right on the E-file website.

Whenever you say “It’s time to e-file my forms,” the idea of doing so during a promotional period invariably comes up. On the E-file website, though, there’s no need to wait for the “perfect” time. That’s because there are three promotions the company has not set a time limit on.

  • E-file promo code e50state: Takes 50 percent off your state tax fee. This is especially helpful considering you can file multiple state returns for one price.
  • E-file promo code 1eGift20: Takes 20 percent off any e-file service provided on the company’s website.
  • E-file promo code 5savefile17: Takes 50 percent off when filing your tax return.

The price points at E-file are impressive even if they’re not always the best bang for the buck. And with the variety of promotional codes for different tax situations, the service is certainly worth checking out.

Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to find reviews for online. One reason behind this may be that a similarly named website,, is receiving the bulk of both sites’ reviews. If you delve deep into the World Wide Web, however, you will find customer testimonials. One of the biggest complaints about the site is related to the E-file phone number: there isn’t one.

The lack of an E-file phone number for customer service is counteracted by the live chat option. Since many people would rather talk to a live human, though, many complaints come up over this. Additionally, anyone who seeks help via social media is quickly referred back to the live chat feature.

It’s also worth noting that, save for a few happy posts on E-file’s Facebook page, most online reviews of the company are negative. Complaints range from slow tax refund times to difficulty receiving refunds when overcharged. While no one knows exactly what happened in each situation, the amount of negative online reviews greatly outnumbers the positive.

In fact, the Better Business Bureau has given the company the dreaded “F” ranking due to six consumer complaints and three complaints that were not responded to. is certainly a legitimate website and approved for consumer use by the IRS. It is one of the most affordable options out there and offers a free option along with an accuracy and best-price guarantee. That being said, the company is lacking in customer service options and has received numerous negative reviews online.

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