eSmartTax Review 2021 | High Price For Tax Software


eSmart Tax Review

Looking for help filing your taxes? e-SmartTax, a subsidiary of Liberty Tax, is one of the only software programs that gives users in-person access to tax professionals. 

Unfortunately, even with this benefit, e-Smart Tax is priced too high to be competitive. Here’s what you need to know about the software this year.

Instead, check out our list of the Best Tax Software Options For Your Situation

  • Self-guided navigation and few import options
  • Higher pricing than other competitors that may be easier to use
  • Flat rate pricing, but higher than other software

Is It Really Free?

This year e-SmartTax  doesn’t offer free filing. All users will pay for state and Federal filing. However, you can preview the software for free.

What’s New In 2021?

The only major change that e-Smart Tax instituted this year was a price overhaul. All users pay the same rate regardless of the complexity of the situation.

This year e-SmartTax (a subsidiary of Liberty Tax) continues to use the Drake Software Company’s tax software. That means the e-Smart Tax interface matches the 1040.com interface.

eSmartTax Pricing

This year, e-Smart tax closely aligned its pricing plan with its parent company, Liberty Tax. Federal returns cost $44.95 no matter the complexity of the return. Filing costs $36.95 per return, $2 more than Liberty Tax charges.

eSmart TaxLimitations

While e-SmartTax  supports all major forms, the Schedule E for rental properties is cumbersome to access. Users need to add the form and calculate all expenses on their own. Landlords may want to stay away from this service.

Additionally, the e-Smart Tax website makes some false or misleading claims about the software. At the time of testing, we found no way to import last year’s taxes from a competitor. We also saw no way to import a W-2 form. It seems like the advertising on e-Smart Tax’s website has not been updated to match the software.

Navigation

eSmartTax licenses the same software that powers 1040.com. As a result, these two software programs have identical navigation. 

e-Smart Tax allows users to decide between a question and answer navigation option. They can also navigate the software on their own. The interview style guidance is decent but can become long-winded or overloaded with tax jargon. That can make it tough to get through all the questions.

Users seeking a better navigation experience may want to consider a premium software like TaxSlayer, TurboTax, or H&R Block. Those seeking a bargain can use TaxHawk which offers superior navigation for just $12.95 per state (Federal filing is free).

Ease Of Use

In general, eSmart Tax is fairly easy to use, but it doesn’t offer any meaningful upgrades that enhance the user experience. For example, it doesn’t have imports which mean users have to hand enter most information in the software.

Knowledge Articles

eSmartTax has a small library of FAQs and articles in the Help section of the software. But most of its knowledge base is embedded directly in the software.  The software’s “Tell Me More” buttons offer quick pop-ups with important tax information.

Users can also make phone calls, send emails, or live-chat to get questions answered. This support isn’t limited to technical questions. e-Smart Tax filers qualify for support from tax professionals (including in-office support at Liberty Tax locations).

Extras

eSmart Tax offers two important extras that have historically been high-value offers. First, the company offers unlimited help from tax professionals. This includes the option to have taxes reviewed at a Liberty Tax office location.

The software also includes Audit Assistance for all users. If a filer undergoes an audit, a LibertyTax professional will help them respond to IRS inquiries.

Historically, these extras may have been worth the extra cost. However, TaxHawk and TaxSlayer both offer unlimited support from Tax Professionals,  audit assistance, and great user experiences, and lower prices than e-Smart Tax.

Can eSmartTax Help Me With Crypto Investments?

While e-Smart Tax supports tax filing for crypto investments, it doesn’t have built-in options to make filing easy. Users must enter every crypto transaction manually. That work comes after they’ve converted from the crypto base currency to USD. Most crypto investors will want to look elsewhere.

Can I Claim My Missing Stimulus Money?

Many families were either underpaid for the economic stimulus, or they never received one or both stimulus checks this year. Thankfully, all taxpayers have the option to “receive” the stimulus in the form of a tax credit called the Rebate Recovery Credit. Taxpayers who qualify for this credit will receive larger tax refunds this year.

e-Smart Tax checks to see whether users qualify for the Rebate Recovery Credit by asking questions about your stimulus payments. If you were underpaid, it calculates the amount you should have received. If you were underpaid, the money will be added to your tax refund check.

How Does eSmart Tax Compare?

eSmartTax (and its parent Liberty Tax) is the only software program that offers in-person support. However, the software itself is mediocre.

We’ve chosen to compare e-Smart Tax to premium software (TurboTax) and a bargain software (FreeTaxUSA).

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esmarttax logo
TurboTax Logo
FreeTaxUSA updated logo

$12.95 per additional state

Retirement Income (SS, Pension, etc.)

Small Business Owner (over $5k in expenses)

$44.95 Fed & $36.95 State

$44.95 Fed & $36.95 State

$44.95 Fed & $36.95 State

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Final Thoughts On eSmartTax In 2021

This year, e-Smart Tax did not impress us. While it has some nice features, it doesn’t make up for mediocre software. The price of e-Smart Tax is too high to justify. Most users can find a better alternative. If you’re not sure which software to use, check out the best tax software for your situation



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