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eSmart tax review

Three online tax preparation plans and the option to file in-person at its parent company.

eSmart tax, backed by Liberty Tax Service, has three online tax preparation plans for families, investors and small business owners. While its online software doesn’t come with phone support, you can file in-person at any of its 3,000 Liberty Tax Service locations.

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Federal starting price


State returns starting price


Federal starting price$44.95
State returns starting price$36.95
Maximum return guaranteed?Yes
Payment optionsCredit, Debit, Pay with your tax refund

Review by

Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and kids’ debit cards. She’s been featured on Legal Zoom, MSN, and Consolidated Credit and has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. When not writing, you can find her exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.

Expert review

Looking for an online filing option that allows you to live chat customer support for help? eSmart tax may fit the bill. It has three simple packages for individuals, families, investors and business owners. Or, you can file in-person at any of Liberty Tax’s 3,000 locations if you prefer.

But, depending on your tax situation, you may pay more to file with eSmart tax than you would with another service.

For example, business owners with complicated tax situations may find eSmart cheaper than other companies, but families and those with basic returns may end up paying more than they would with a competitor like TaxSlayer.

How much does eSmart tax cost?

eSmart tax offers three online preparation plans:

PlanPriceBest ForSupported Forms
Basic$44.95 for federal

$36.95 for state
FamiliesForm 1040, 8853
Schedule A, B
Deluxe$44.95 for federal

$36.95 for state
InvestorsForm 1040, 4562, 8829, 4136, 8839, 8853
Schedule A, B, C
Premium$44.95 for federal

$36.95 for state
Business ownersForm 1040, 4562, 8829, 4136, 4684, 4835, 8839, 8853
Schedule A, B, C, E, F, K-1

Need to file an extension? You’ll pay an additional $4.95 for this feature.

How do I pay?

There are two ways to pay for eSmart tax preparation fees:

  • Debit or credit card
  • Deducted from your refund for $29.99

Only those who file a federal and state return with eSmart tax can choose to have their tax preparation fees deducted from their refund. The $29.99 fee goes to JTH Financial, the bank responsible for processing refunds.

How do I get my tax refund?

There are three ways to receive your tax refund:

  • Direct deposit
  • Paper check
  • NetSpend Liberty Tax Prepaid Debit Mastercard

How do I open an eSmart tax account?

Sign up for eSmart tax online in three easy steps:

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. From the official eSmart tax website, click Start For Free.
  3. Enter your personal information including your name, email address, phone number, username, password and security questions. Click Continue.
  4. Enter the verification code sent to the email address in Step 2 and click Login.

You’ll start your return once you complete the signup process.


Those filing with eSmart tax may enjoy these benefits:

  • Simple packages. With only three packages, you won’t get bogged down figuring out which one you need.
  • Live chat support. Live chat with a customer service representative daily starting at 9 a.m. ET.
  • Free import for past returns. Save time and import your old tax returns for free.
  • Electronic W-2 import. Get a jump start on the filing process by electronically importing your W-2.
  • In-person filing option. Visit any Liberty Tax location to file your taxes in person.
  • Inexpensive for business owners. You’ll pay $81.90 total to file your federal and state return using the Premium plan. This is cheaper than competitors like H&R Block that charges $121 total and TaxAct that charges $109 for business owner plans.


Potential drawbacks of eSmart tax include:

  • No free plan. eSmart tax doesn’t let taxpayers with basic returns file for free.
  • Expensive for investors and families. You’ll pay $44.95 to file a federal return and $36.95 to file a state return as a family or investor. With TaxSlayer, families and investors pay $29.95 for federal returns and $39.95 for state returns.
  • No phone support. While eSmart tax offers live chat support, you don’t have the option to call customer service.
  • Hidden fees. eSmart tax doesn’t list fees on its website for prepaid cards, in-person filing services or preparation fees deducted from your refund.

eSmart tax reviews and complaints

eSmart tax doesn’t have any reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Trustpilot as of January 2020.

It’s parent company, Liberty Tax Service, is not accredited by the BBB and has a 1 out of 5-star rating based on 12 customer reviews.

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File federal returns for free and pay $14.99 for state returns with this online tax preparation software.
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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.

Compare up to 4 providers

But if you’re looking for a less expensive option, shop around for other online filing options before you decide.

eSmart tax customer support

Need to chat with eSmart tax customer support? Get in touch in five ways:

  • Email
  • Start a live chat on the website
      • January to April 20: Daily from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. ET
      • April 21 to December: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET
  • Visit a Liberty Tax branch near you
  • Send a Facebook message to eSmart tax
  • Tweet @esmarttax

Frequently asked questions

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