eSmart Tax is online tax software provided by Liberty Tax. Liberty Tax has over 4,000 offices located in North America, and likely many of us become aware that it is tax season again when we see the Liberty Tax statue of liberty mascot demonstrating their human billboard abilities on busy street corners. In fact, there are three franchises located within 10 miles of our corporate offices – they are everywhere. Liberty Tax has many years of experience in tax preparation; in fact, their CEO and founder John Hewitt helped found Jackson-Hewitt and worked with H&R Block.
In terms of eSmart's pricing, state returns are $29.95, basic 1040s are free, deluxe 1040s are $29.95 and premium 1040s with business income and expenses are $29.95. Deluxe filing status, by eSmart's definition, is for those who have dependents and/or itemized deductions. Other services offer free filing to those who have dependents but do not need to itemize their deductions. If you need to file prior-year taxes, you can do that through a Liberty Tax office.
When we tested eSmart they were able to create an accurate 1040 return with itemized deductions, and the online tax preparation software can import can import your 2011 return information from TurboTax, TaxACT and H&R Block, as well as 2011 returns prepared on eSmart. It can also import your W-2 and 1099 forms to speed up return creation and eliminate entry errors. Although it does not include a life events interview per se, it does have a guided interview format and can help you discover common credits and deductions easily. It also has a handy feature called Add Reminder that will let you flag a section you have not completed to remind yourself to come back to it later.
This year eSmart has free chat support and free, unlimited tax help to Deluxe and Premium filers. Basic filers can access support for only $9.95 per topic. You can also ask questions by email, Twitter or Facebook. We asked eSmart a question via Twitter and they responded within an hour. They cover basic tax information in their tax help section on the eSmart site and post a comprehensive blog in the Tax Lounge hosted on the Liberty Tax website. Their blogs cover a wide variety of topics from new tax laws, tax ideas for families and tax commentary.
eSmart is a good addition to Liberty Tax's already popular nationwide tax service. However, like most online versions it is usually more affordable to file online than in one of their franchise offices. So next time you see Miss Liberty spinning signs in your hometown check out their online version; it could save you time and money. If you just need to file a simple 1040 return and are not in desperate need of an expensive refund anticipation loan, try Liberty Tax's online tax service eSmart Tax.
eSmart offers free filing of simple 1040s, provides free chat support and is backed by the experienced tax preparation company Liberty Tax.
You have to upgrade to the Premium version if you need to include 1099-MISC income even if you do not have business expenses. Basic filers don't receive free tax support.
If you are familiar with basic tax laws and comfortable doing your taxes, eSmart may be a good option for filing a simple 1040 or a 1040 that includes common credits and deductions.