In 2020, eSmartTax boasts some improved features, and a simplified pricing scheme.
Unfortunately, the price is too high, and the service has a few shortfalls. Because of that, we’re not giving eSmartTax high recommendations this year.
Find out more in our eSmartTax review.
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
- Simplified pricing in 2019-2020
Starts at $44.95
eSmartTax - Is It Really Free?
eSmartTax advertises that you can start using the product for free, but everyone has to pay for state and Federal filing.
In 2020, eSmartTax offers a streamlined pricing plan. As of today, everyone pays the same rate for the same product.
However, users should check prices later in the season because pricing may change. You can see they "slashed" through the full cost of their Deluxe and Premium offerings. We can see those going back to full price later in tax season.
Self-Employed and Landlords
Overall, the software is fairly easy to use. It combines question and answer and “user driven” screens to expedite filing. The one navigation issue relates to adding a Schedule E. Landlords who need to claim rental income and expenses have to use the search button to add the form to the software. This is certainly more hassle than it is worth.
eSmartTax Ease Of Use
According to the eSmartTax website, users should be able to download their W-2 form to the website (as well as import the prior year’s tax forms). At the time of testing, we weren’t able to complete any of these features.
All data entry in the website was manual, and entering information related to real estate proved to be especially tricky since you have to search for the form and add it yourself.
While the software itself works, it will be tough for filers with complex situations to use correctly.
eSmartTax Knowledge Articles
In the tax software, eSmartTax has a limited number of knowledge articles and “how to” guides to help users make their way through the software. It also has short explainers throughout the software. In addition to the in software knowledge articles, eSmartTax maintains a blog with a quality selection of articles that explain tax basics.
eSmartTax includes a live chat support feature, so users can get technical help from the company easily. It is also “backed” by LibertyTax, but users should not confuse that with any particular guarantee. If you want a LibertyTax tax preparer to look over your filing, you should expect to pay for that.
Can eSmartTax Help Me With Crypto Investments?
eSmartTax does not offer special guidance on filing crypto trades, but it has all the necessary forms for filing. A better choice for crypto traders is TurboTax which offers special help for these traders.
eSmartTax has multi-factor authentication in place. The site automatically sets users up with email as a second-factor authentication, but you can opt for a text message as well.
Final Thoughts On eSmartTax This Year
Despite some improvements, eSmartTax isn’t a great offering in 2020.
For a lower price, TaxSlayer offers a better interface, and compelling extras. Users with a lot of trading activity should consider TurboTax or H&R Block. And bargain hunters will prefer Credit Karma Tax which offers truly free filing. If you need help deciding which software to use, check out the recommendations for software based on your filing situation.
- Navigation - 50
- Ease Of Use - 50
- Features And Options - 60
- Customer Service - 60
- Plans And Pricing - 40
eSmartTax delivers a decent software solution, and helpful support features. However, it’s a high price to pay for a mediocre software.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.