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November 12, 2015

Online Tax Software

eSmart Tax Review

eSmart's totally redesigned interface and easy access to live chat assistance helps take the guesswork out of filing your taxes. Deduction discovery resources are lacking, but very affordable pricing makes eSmart a great option for those with less complicated tax needs.

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The Good

Clean and modern interface

ESmart made some major design improvements to their 2014 edition, most notably a totally redesigned interface. This redesign includes new forms, a simple and intuitive filing process that walks you through federal and state taxes, and a new help menu is visible throughout the tax filing process. These updates are a major improvement over last year's version and help eSmart stand out as a top contender.

Retail location for extra assistance

If you start to work through your taxes and decide you would rather work with an accountant, eSmart is owned by Liberty Tax and extra guidance can be received at a retail location. You can easily find a Liberty Tax location by clicking a simple link inside the eSmart Tax software.

Import prior-year tax forms

You can import last year's tax returns from a lengthy list of other online tax software products while using eSmart. Some of the companies include TurboTax, TaxACT, H&R Block, FreeTaxUSA,, and others. Having the ability to import makes it easy to switch to eSmart if you have never filed your taxes with them before.

Affordable prices

If you have simple tax needs, the free version of eSmart is a great option. If you're taxes are a little more complex, prices for the mid- and upper-end versions of eSmart range from $9.95 - $29.95 and are among the most affordable among top online tax software. They may not have the name recognition of some of the major players, but with a price tag that can be up to $20 cheaper, eSmart may be the way to go this year.

The Bad

Missing some of the fundamentals

The software is missing some of the more common features like a life events advisor and tax calculator. ESmart does have a series of questions that help identify some of the major life events, but relative to competing online tax products, the life events section comes up a bit short. A tax calculator can help you understand what to expect with your taxes and is another common feature that is missing from the software.

Limited deduction discovery resources

There's no section dedicated to deduction discovery within eSmart Tax. The section works by asking a series of questions and guides you through deductions that might be applicable. However, deduction discovery is an important part of online tax software, and many competitive products have superior tools. For those who consistently file similar taxes, identifying new deductions might not be a priority. For those that may have more complex tax needs, an alternative solution might be warranted.

The Details


  • Editions: Basic (Free Federal Edition), Deluxe, Premium
  • Federal Price: $0 - $49.95
  • State Price: $9.95


Basic (Federal Free Edition)

  • Federal Fee: $0
  • State Fee: $9.95


  • Federal Fee: $29.95
  • State Fee: $9.95


  • Federal Fee: $49.95
  • State Fee: $9.95

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