E-file Review | E-file Features, Versions, and Cost

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When you or your military spouse have varied sources of pay and move from state to state, taxes can be a challenge. E-file can help.

As a service member, your tax situation may be unique, especially since you may have residencies in multiple states, and different forms of payment that may be tax-exempt, for example, combat or special duty pay. You may also receive income from rental properties or investments.

E-file one of the most affordable tax software solutions available to military personnel, veterans, and the spouses of service members. This product offers a wide range of features that are on par with some of the top-performing solutions on the market.

E-file is an authorized tax return preparation and filing service provider and derives its name from the IRS’s e-file service for filing taxes online. E-file and IRS e-filing are not to be confused with each other. E-file also has a competitor called efile.com.

How it Works

E-file Logo

E-file features a tax filing interface that is more streamlined than those of its competitors. Although this simplified platform is user-friendly, it is not as easy to use as the platforms from, say, TurboTax and H&R Block.

Since E-file’s prices are much lower, many taxpayers prefer E-file, despite the clinical appearance and feel of the interface.

When you use this software to prepare and file your taxes, you will see that the entire process is divided into sections, for example, “income.” Each of these sections is, in turn, divided into subsections like “Investments.”

Before starting with a section, the software will ask you a few questions to determine your unique tax situation.

Based on the answers you provided, the software will present you with the correct tax schedules and forms that you should complete.

If you are an experienced tax filer, you can skip these questions to save time. If you chose one of the paid plans and the software detects that you are eligible for, say, Form 1040EZ filing, it will automatically downgrade your account, and you will not have to pay.

File your taxes with E-file here>>

Features

Prior Year Return Importing

If you filed with E-file during the previous year, you would be able to import the information from your last return directly to the tax return you are currently working on.

This feature doesn’t only save time but helps you to enter your personal and financial information without making mistakes. A drawback of this feature is that you will not be able to import your return from third-party fo competitor platforms.

Audit Assistance

If you file your tax returns with E-file, you can opt for Audit Assistance. If the IRS decides to audit you, E-file’s team of tax professionals will respond to the IRS on your behalf and keep you up to date on the audit process.

Help Sidebar

E-file’s help sidebar is a valuable feature, especially if you are an inexperienced tax filer. The help sidebar shows you where you are in the tax preparation and filing process and provides you with topic information about fields that you are busy completing.

Pay with Your Refund

Apart from conventional payment methods like credit and debit cards, you can also pay for E-file’s tax return preparation and filing services with the tax refund you receive from the IRS.

This feature is helpful as you won’t have to provide your credit card information up front. Keep in mind, however, that using this feature currently costs $19.

Filing Your Return for Previous Years

If you didn’t file your returns during previous years, you can do so now with E-file at no additional costs. You can only claim refunds for the last three years.

If you, for example, didn’t file your return four years ago, you will not be able to claim that year’s tax refund today.

Accuracy Guarantee

If E-file’s software glitched and caused a calculation error, E-file accepts responsibility for any penalties or interest imposed by the IRS. Most other tax software products offer this guarantee, and now E-file does, too.

Versions

With E-file, you can choose from three versions, namely Free Basic, Deluxe, and Premium. You can file federal and state taxes with all three versions.

When deciding on a plan, you have to take the complexity of your tax situation into account and the level of tax, technical, and audit support that you want to receive.

If you choose the Free Basic or Deluxe plan, and the software determines that, based on the answers you provided, you require a program that is one tier up, it will recommend that you upgrade your plan.

E-file will not pressure you into upgrading your account if it isn’t necessary, however.

Free Basic

The Free Basic plan is the most straightforward plan that E-file has to offer. This plan is suitable for all taxpayers who are eligible for Form 1040EZ filing.

If you are a single or joint filer with no dependents, and if you have no additional schedules to file, this is the E-file edition for you.

This plan is only free for federal filing, however. If you want to file for state taxes, you will have to pay the prescribed flat rate.

Deluxe

The Deluxe plan offers the same features as the Free Basic plan and is ideal for people who are eligible for Form 1040A filing.

If you are a single or joint filer with dependents, the Free Basic version will not allow you to file for deductions, and you will have to upgrade to the Deluxe plan.

You can file both federal and state taxes with this plan, and the cost of state filing is the same as the Free Plan.

Premium

The Premium plan was developed for people who have complex tax situations.  If, in addition to your military income, you earn income from investments, rental property, or a small business, the software will recommend that you upgrade to the Premium plan.

 Choose an E-file version to file your taxes>>

Costs

If you have to file returns in multiple states, E-file may be your most affordable solution.

The cost for state filing is $19.99 regardless of whether you are subscribed to the Free Basic, Deluxe or Premium plan.

This fee remains the same, irrespective of how many state returns you submit, an excellent benefit for military families.

The cost for federal filing differs from plan to plan. Federal filing is entirely free with the Free Basic program. With the Deluxe edition, you have to pay $25.99 per return, and with the Premium edition, you will have to pay $45.99 per return.

To reduce the costs of federal filing with the Deluxe and Premium plans to $19.99 and $34.95 respectively, you can enter the coupon code “SAVE24” at checkout.

The prices listed above may fluctuate. Visit E-file’s website to find the current pricing structure.

Pros

  • User friendly: The software features a straightforward and intuitive interface.
  • Affordable: E-file’s versions for complex tax situations are affordable in comparison with comparable products.
  • Accurate: With E-file, you have access to a 100% accuracy guarantee.
  • Free audit support: Users can opt for free audit assistance.
  • Flexible payments: In addition to debit and credit cards, you can also pay E-file with your tax refund.
  • Secure: E-file’s software is entirely secure, and your privacy and information are sufficiently protected.

Cons

  • Limited customer support: You can only access customer support via email or completing and submitting a support ticket.
  • State filing fees: None of E-file’s plans allow for free state filing.
  • Imports: Users can’t import W-2 forms or tax returns from competitor platforms.

Bottom Line

Filing your taxes in a military home can present its own unique set of challenges. In some cases, E-file could be the right tax software to meet those needs.

E-file is affordable, flexible, and straightforward, making it a viable option.

You can also find a number of free military offers for tax filing software. Then, do your research and find the best fit for your needs.

Get started with E-file>>

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Featured In: Ryan's writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes, Military.com, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine (print and online editions), Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.

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