Tax season is upon us. It is impossible to go a day online or watching TV without ads from the biggest tax preparation companies bombarding you. There are, however, companies worth noting. ezTaxReturn, for example, is a lesser-known online tax prep option.
While it is not as popular as some competitors, it is worth giving a serious look. With a great price and full feature set, ezTaxReturn might be perfect for your needs.
In our review, we look at how it works, what it costs, and if it is the right fit for your tax needs.
ezTaxReturn offers personal tax preparation and filing online. ezTaxReturn works for both your Federal and state returns. But the software is not yet available for filing in every state. If you live in one of these states, you can use ezTaxReturn: AL, AZ AR, CA, CO, GA, IL, LA, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI.
People who have simple tax returns are ideal users for this software. If you qualify for a 1040ez tax return, you are good to go. Even if you need to file a standard 1040, ezTaxReturn can handle it.
If your tax filing requirements are more complex, ezTaxReturn will screen you out early on in the signup process. I own a business that operates as an S-Corp, so I would not be able to file with this software. Business owners with corporation status and others with more complex taxes need to look elsewhere.
ezTaxReturn does support a Schedule C, the most common way to file for side hustles and other self-employed entrepreneurs operating as a single-member LLC.
The screening takes place before you create an account and add your personal information, so whatever your tax needs, you can give it a try and find out in a few clicks if ezTaxReturn will meet your needs.
Getting started with ezTaxReturn
Unlike competitors that offer both an online and a downloadable version, ezTaxReturn is online-only. The prompts are easy to follow. If you have simple taxes with just a W-2, bank interest and investment returns reported via a 1099, and the ever important student loan tax deduction, your tax prep will be fast and easy.
When you get started, the first step is entering your filing status. You’re then prompted to enter your personal information. This includes your name, address, phone number, email address and social security number. The personal information section asks some general questions about tax programs, and dependents. Then you’ll move onto the income section.
In the income section, you have the option to choose a step-by-step walkthrough. Entering the information yourself is the fastest option, but if you are new to this or want a little extra help, the walkthrough can help.
With the walkthrough, entering your information couldn’t be simpler. Just enter the number in the box from your tax forms, like a W-2 or 1099, into the corresponding box at ezTaxReturn.
You’ll enter your W-2 information first. Then 1099-INT from your bank or brokerage, 1099-DIV for dividends received, 1099-B capital gains and losses, 1099-G government income, and then self-employment income on a Schedule C.
If you own rental property, you’ll enter that info, followed by 1099-R retirement income, SSA-1099 for social security benefits, alimony, nontaxable income.
Finally, you’ll enter other income such as jury duty pay, gambling winnings, 1099-SA for an HSA, and any additional 1099-Q, 1099-QA, and 1099-MISC income.
The next steps
After entering your income, you go through the same process for expenses. In this section you can enter teacher expenses, health and medical expenses, IRA contributions, alimony paid, student loan interest, qualified moving expenses. You can also enter any quarterly estimated tax payments you made throughout the year.
In the next section, you can review and enter any itemized tax deductions. Enter everything possible so the tax preparation software can help you decide which option saves the most money. This is where you enter additional medical expenses, home mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes, and other itemized deductions.
The standard deduction for 2017 is $6,300. If your deductions add up to more than $6,300, you’ll save more by itemizing. If your itemization is lower than $6,300, or if you are married and filing jointly, you should take the standard deduction.
In the final section, you will enter information related to credits. If you purchased health insurance from an exchange, you may qualify for the Affordable Care Act tax credit. You will also have an opportunity to enter dependent care, education, energy, and alternative vehicle costs. Other credits include the earned income credit, and first-time homebuyer credit.
When you finish, you’re ready to review your state filing and submit.
If your taxes are simple, it is a very easy process you can complete in around 15 or 20 minutes. The more complex your taxes are, the longer it will take. In the end, ezTaxReturn does the calculations and filings for you.
ezTaxReturn costs and fees
ezTaxReturn comes in three verions. The version to file only a Federal return costs $29.95. The state only version runs $19.95. The most common option is to file both your Federal and state return for $39.95.
After filing with ezTaxReturn, you can access your returns any time for up to three years at no charge. After three years, or if you want them mailed to you in hard copy format, you have to pay a fee. After three years you can download your return for $9.95. Getting a printed copy costs $19.95. You can receive a printed copy with overnight shipping for $34.95.
Additional services include audit support for $39.95 and amended return insurance for $9.95. If you don’t purchase amended return insurance, filing an amended return costs $19.95.
If you want to give exTaxReturn a test run, you can prepare your return for free and won’t have to pay until you file.
ezTaxReturn eligibility requirements
Any United States citizen, resident, or other person required to file an income tax return with the IRS can use ezTaxReturn. ezTaxReturn is perfect if you do not own a corporation or require more complex tax filing services. Also double-check that your state is supported before getting started.
ezTaxReturn customer service
ezTaxReturn offers several customer support options. Before reaching out for help from a live person, you are directed to take a look at the site’s FAQs section. The FAQs cover common problems and questions about your account, tax preparation, and filing.
I have attempted to find the phone number or a way to contact support on several occasions on both weekdays and weekends, and this is the only information available regarding phone support:
The company claims to offer “FREE ‘No-Wait-On-Hold’ Phone Support,” but in reality this looks to be an unfulfilled promise. However, email-based support is available seven days a week. You can also connect with the company on social media at Twitter and Facebook.
ezTaxReturn review summary
ezTaxReturn is a seventeen-year-old company that assists in filing millions of returns. While it isn’t a household name such as TurboTax or H&R Block, the pricing and easy-to-use interface make it a solid contender.
The company claims the average user completes their return in 30 minutes. In less time than it takes to watch an episode of Dancing with the Stars, you can have your taxes done and your refund on the way. If you’ve stressed about your taxes in the past, you can rest easy and file quickly with ezTaxReturn.