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E-file tax software review

A cost-effective tax solution for freelancers and small business owners to file their taxes.

E-file — different from eFile without a hyphen — is an online tax filing software with competitive rates and impressive reviews. Although its platform isn’t as modern-looking as some of its competitors, the platform has all the tools to walk you through your tax return. It even has an automatic save feature so you’ll never lose your place.

However, at its bargain rate, it doesn’t offer any guarantees such as a maximum refund promise, and you also must meet strict requirements to use its free plan.

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Federal starting price$27.99
State returns starting price$25
Maximum return guaranteed?No
Payment optionsCredit, Debit, Pay with your tax refund

How much does E-file cost?

E-file offers three plans that range from $0 to $49.99 for federal taxes. State returns are $29.99 for all tiers.

PlanPriceBest forFeatures
Free Federal Basic Software
  • Free for federal
  • $29.99 for state
Simple filersOnline customer service
Deluxe Plus E-file
  • $27.99 for federal
  • $29.99 for state
  • Homeowners
  • Families with dependents
Everything in the Basic plan, plus:

  • Phone support
  • Includes retirement income
  • Deduct mortgage interest
Premium Plus E-file
  • $49.99 for federal
  • $29.99 for state
  • Freelancers, contractors, self-employed individuals and small business owners
  • Individuals with income over $100,000
Everything in the Deluxe Plus plan, plus:

  • Itemized tax deductions
  • Includes business and personal income
  • Includes all credit schedules
  • Includes IRS audit assistance

While E-file’s Basic plan is best for simple filers, you must also meet specific criteria:

  • Filing status is single or married, filing jointly
  • Taxable income is less than $100,000
  • Taxable interest is less than $1,500
  • No income adjustments, such as from a retirement plan

How to sign up

File your tax return from beginning to end in six steps.

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. Enter an email address, username and password to create your account.
  3. Review the Terms and conditions, type your full name and check the box if you’re filing a joint return. Or, select Remind me later to accept the terms and conditions when you’re ready to file.
  4. Follow the prompts for E-file’s online tax return system to complete your tax return.
  5. Find out which software tier your tax return falls into.
  6. Enter your payment information to file your tax return.


  • Filing options. File your taxes electronically to the IRS or download, print and mail your tax forms.
  • Automatically save your progress. The software automatically saves your progress when you log out. You can seamlessly pick up where you left off by logging back in.
  • Competitive pricing on its Premium Plus plan. You pay $49.99 for E-file’s highest software tier, which includes all credit schedules, including personal and business income. E-file is head and shoulders more cost-effective than TurboTax’s $119 and TaxAct’s $94.95 price tags for federal returns for self-employed individuals. And it periodically offers coupons that you can input at checkout to further discount the software.
  • Pay with your tax refund. If you’re expecting a refund, you can choose to pay E-file’s software fee with your anticipated refund. Your refund will go directly to a Santa Barbara TPG, a third-party financial institution that will pay E-file, take its own service fee and then send you the remaining balance.


  • No guarantees. Unlike some other tax filing software that offer a 100% accuracy guarantee or a maximum tax-saving money-back guarantee, E-file doesn’t offer any promises. But it does offer refunds if you’re not completely satisfied with the software.
  • Limitations of free plan. While E-file’s Basic plan is free to file your federal return, you’ll pay for state returns. And married couples filing separately and families with children can’t use this software tier.
  • Unusual income limit on its Deluxe Plus plan. Its middle pricing tier caps your income at $100,000. Higher earners will need to upgrade to its Premium Plus plan.

Compare tax software

Narrow down top tax service providers by federal returns starting price, state returns starting price and more to find the best for your budget and financial goals. Select Compare for up to four products to see their benefits side by side.

1 - 8 of 8
Name Product Federal starting price State returns starting price Maximum return guaranteed? Free options available? Photo import of W2? Live chat?
File federal returns for free and pay $14.99 for state returns with this online tax preparation software.
Keeper Tax
Keeper Tax helps people with 1099 income automatically find tax write-offs among their purchases. At tax time, file federal and state directly for $89 or export to file elsewhere for $39.
Cash App
Cash App Taxes
Jackson Hewitt
File taxes online or in-person for a no-fee refund advance loan. But watch out for high filing fees
Intuit TurboTax
File returns electronically and get taken step by step through the tax-filing process, so that you can receive the fastest refund possible for yourself, and/or your business.
Liberty Tax
Choose from EZ, Basic, Deluxe, and Premium packages to support the simplest or the most complicated of returns; including business and investments.
TaxSlayer offers free federal and state filing for simple returns and $0 federal return to service members filing with a military EIN.
H&R Block
File simply and securely with tax software from H&R Block.

E-file reviews and complaints

E-file is an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating. Out of 161 customer reviews, it holds an average 3.87 rating out of 5 stars. It’s also well-liked by Trustpilot users, with a 4.5 out of 5-star rating as of November 2022.

Customers rave about its customer service, citing its care team was responsive, helpful and knowledgeable. Most of the complaints were from customers who anticipated a free return, but when they completed their tax form, they found out that their situation required an upgraded plan to file. Several unhappy customers confused E-file with the unrelated, unhyphenated company

E-file customer support

E-file offers online and phone support, depending on your plan. Users on the Basic plan can open a support ticket, while Deluxe Plus and Premium Plus customers have access to phone support.

To get in touch with customer service, log in to your account and hit Help and Support to see your available customer care options.

Review by

Kimberly Ellis is a personal finance writer at Finder, specializing in banking and financial literacy. After teaching in public and private schools, Kimberly zeroed in on personal financial education to help families and kids develop lifelong money skills. She hails from New York City, graduating summa cum laude from Queens College with a BA in elementary education and mathematics, as well as a New York State teaching certificate. She’s also an aspiring polyglot, always in a book and forever on the hunt for the perfect classic red lipstick.

Expert review

E-file is a cost-effective tax filing software that offers phone support for paying customers. It’s best for self-employed individuals, freelancers and small business owners with business income and itemized deductions. You’ll pay $49.99 for federal tax returns and $29.99 for state returns for all credit schedules — about 50% less than its competitors.

But simple filers and families with straightforward taxes should look elsewhere to file their taxes online. Other tax filing software, like TurboTax, generally allow you to file federal and state returns for free.

But E-file’s free federal return is reserved for single and married couples filing jointly, whereas families will have to pay $27.99 to file their federal tax return and $29.99 for state. And you’ll still have to meet its other criteria, including making less than $100,000 a year, or else you would be forced to upgrade to its highest tier.

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