Online Tax Software
While covering many of the basics, eSmart fails to provide some fundamental features that can really make a difference in the online tax experience. The overall design and user experience are lacking, but by making it easy to import competitor forms and being price-competitive, eSmart could be the right fit for certain people. File Taxes
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.
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, efile.com, and others. Having the ability to import makes it easy to switch to eSmart if you have never filed your taxes with them before.
At the bottom the majority of screens is an “Add Reminder” button that allows you to add a reminder to the current page. The reminder records the page you are working on and allows you to enter notes. After you add a reminder, a pin icon appears in the menu bar in the section where the reminder was made. Your reminders can then be accessed through the Welcome Page. It would be more convenient to be able to access your reminders from any page, but going to the Welcome Page is not terribly burdensome.
The eSmart Tax software automatically compares itemized and standard deductions you enter and will use the method that with require paying the least amount of tax. Navigating itemized and standard deductions can be tricky, so having a little extra help is definitely a desirable feature.
The overall look and feel of eSmart doesn’t give the impression that the best available technology is being utilized. Most user interfaces, forms, buttons, and fonts feel dated, and the design doesn’t have the same logical flow found in other products. Although a lot of the functionality is included, the overall experience is underwhelming and it’s clear that eSmart has some room for improvement.
As you work through the tax process, you answer a series of interview setup questions. Following these questions, a message pops up onto the screen and includes instructions on how to complete the certain questions. Instead of allowing you to read and process the message at your own pace, the message has a timer that counts down from 12 and then disappears. This is a very negative feature for those who may not read and process information quickly.
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 is definitely lacking. A tax calculator can help you understand what to expect with your taxes and is another common feature that is missing from the software.
As you move through the eSmart workflow, some sections are accessible out of sequence, but others require that you enter all the information before you proceed to any other page. If you were to get stuck on a page that required information you didn’t have, you would have to exit the software and would not be able to move forward (or backwards) until you had the necessary information.
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.
|Federal Price$0 - $39.95|
|EditionsBasic (Free Federal Edition), Deluxe, Premium|