Best Free Online Tax Filing Services
FreeTaxUSA is an online tax preparation website that enables you to Prepare, Print & E-file your Federal taxes free. The software is updated each year by a team of tax analysts to incorporate the most recent changes in federal and state tax codes. It goes through rigorous testing, as well as an approval process with both the IRS and each state.
There are no charges for the roll-over of prior year tax data. In addition, the pricing is straightforward and has no hidden fees. With competing tax preparation tax software programs, you usually have to buy a premium version in order to handle self-employment (Schedule C), rental real estate (Schedule E), and capital gains transactions (Schedule D). But FreeTaxUSA can handle all of those on both the Free and Deluxe editions.
As with many tax preparation services, you’ll have to pay extra to e-file your state tax return. But the price of filing state returns with FreeTaxUSA is relatively low. You’ll only have to pay $12.95 to file your state returns. Here is a list of the tax situations that they don’t support, taken directly from their website:
- Foreign employment income (Form 2555)
- Foreign mailing address
- Household employment taxes (Schedule H)
- Nonresident alien returns (Form 1040NR)
- Farm rental (Form 4835)
- At-risk limitations (Form 6198)
- Installment sales (Form 6252)
- Tax for children with more than $2,000 in investment income (Form 8615)
- Prior year minimum tax credit (Form 8801)
- Archer MSAs (Form 8853)
With ezTaxReturn, customers do all of their taxes online through the cloud-based system that stores taxes for up to three years. The average preparation time for a state and federal return can be completed within 30 minutes. EZTaxReturn also offers a 100% accuracy guarantee as well as audit support.
- Federal Tax Return – This product includes three years of secure storage and three years of unlimited downloads. Customers also like that the plan comes with no-wait-on-hold phone support and an identity theft package. People can refile for rejections unlimitedly. This product costs $29.95
- State Tax Return – This product also includes three years of secure storage and three years of unlimited downloads. Customers also like that the plan comes with no-wait-on-hold phone support and an identity theft package. People can re-file for rejections unlimitedly. This product costs $19.95
- Federal + State Tax Return – This product costs $39.95 and has all of the same benefits as the Federal Tax Return Plan, plus the ability to file state returns as well.
This service is streamlined and simple to use for preparing simple returns. However, other services offer this same level of ease-of-use for far less money. Most even provide free 1040 e-filing, which this service does not.
The functionality of the interface is pretty solid and user-friendly. E-file asks questions to help determine which specific forms you need to fill out. E-file.com is a no nonsense, straightforward service, but for those expecting more help from the interface, other services provide a more consistent experience.
E-file.com’s pricing is fairly straightforward. It offers three plans — Free, Deluxe for $18.99 and Premium for $34.95. The Free edition supports single and joint filing without dependents. Deluxe expands to include filing with dependents as well as multiple groups of deductions and the 1040A schedule. Lastly, the Premium edition includes all deductions possible on a filed return. State returns for all packages cost an additional $19.
eSmart: Online Tax Filing From Liberty Tax
One of the most appealing aspects included in all of eSmart tax filing options — it provides support at any of the physical Liberty Tax Service locations throughout the United States and Canada. That means that unlike most online filing services, eSmart filers can get access to a tax professional in person when they have questions about their filing.
Another great feature of eSmart Tax is its product wizard. If you’re not sure which edition is right for you or which forms you need in order to file, eSmart Tax starts you off with a free and easy questionnaire about your past year’s financially related circumstances to help you determine your filing needs.
eSmart Free Edition
The eSmart Free federal edition is best for simple filing needs. In addition to filing your federal 1040EZ form for free, users have access to all of eSmart’s enhanced features listed above. State filing is an additional $29.95 fee.
eSmart Basic Edition
Families with dependents or those with simple income from stocks and investments (Schedule B) should consider filing with the eSmart Basic Edition. This edition includes all the features from the Free Edition plus itemized deductions, detailed assistance with dependent deductions and assistance for those with health savings accounts. Federal e-filing with the Basic Edition costs $14.95, and state filing is an additional $29.95 fee.
eSmart Deluxe Edition
The Deluxe eSmart Tax filing is the best choice for investors and those with home businesses. eSmart’s Deluxe Edition provides all the features of the Basic Edition but with enhanced tools for more advanced investors. This edition, tailored to sole proprietors, freelancers and independent contractors, gives specific guidance on Home Office deductions and asset depreciation. Federal e-filing with the Deluxe Edition costs $19.95, plus an additional $29.95 for state filing.
eSmart Premium Edition
The Premium eSmart Tax filing option is recommended for small business owners who have more tricky tax situations — it allows users to maximize deductions from a small business, the sale of a house, or income and deductions related to rental properties or real estate. This edition provides expert guidance and advice concerning the sale of business assets or gains, profits and loss for S corporations (Schedule D). Federal e-filing costs $34.95, and state filing is an additional $29.95.