Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective. Terms apply to offers listed on this page. Read our editorial standards.
- eFile offers three low-cost plans for preparing a tax return, including a $0 federal return option.
- The platform is fully do-it-yourself; there is no option to hire a tax professional.
Softwareis best for people who need higher-tier products from Softwareand Tax Softwarebut don't want to pay a lot.
- See Personal Finance Insider's picks for the best tax software »
Tax software has one job: to help you prepare and file your tax return accurately.
To that end,
If you know that you won't need hands-on help from a CPA to prepare your personal tax return,
Here's a look at how eFile works, how much it costs, and who it's best for.
|Editor's rating||3.4 / 5|
eFile is worth consideration as a low-cost alternative to the upper-tier products offered by TurboTax and H&R Block. It's not a good place to get free filing or expert help.
|Cost of DIY filing||
$0 – $49.95
+$28 for unlimited state returns
|Free version covers||Single and married joint filers; W-2 income; unemployment income; interest income below $1,500; earned income tax credit|
Who should use eFile?
If you prize affordability and are confident in your tax knowledge, eFile is a good option for preparing your tax return.
It covers the same tax situations as
Tax filers who know they would have to pay for upper-tier products from TurboTax or H&R Block — i.e. they have itemized deductions or self-employment income, for example — will save money with eFile.
How much does eFile cost?
eFile has three online do-it-yourself plans. Its highest-tier offering is cheaper than both
Like other software providers,
Cost of DIY options and what they cover …
- Free Basic: $0. You can use the free plan if you have taxable W-2 income or unemployment income below $100,000. You'll have to upgrade if you have investment income, freelance income, or want to claim anything other than the earned income tax credit. This plan only supports the single and joint filing statuses.
- Deluxe: $39.95. If you have dependents, a mortgage, or retirement income, you'll use Deluxe. But your taxable income still needs to be below $100,000.
- Premier: $49.95. This plan is for anyone with $100,000 or more in taxable income from any source, including trusts and business partnerships.
Extra fees will apply if …
- You need state filing. eFile charges $28 for unlimited state returns, even if you qualify for the Free Basic plan. Many competitors charge a higher fee for each return.
How does eFile work?
Like other platforms, eFile uses a guided question-and-answer format to help fill out your return. You can also jump around to different forms if you know what you're looking for. If you want to stop at any time, everything entered up to that point will be saved.
A bonus: eFile's approach to taxes is more lighthearted than competitors (think: songs and videos to help you "de-stress").
Is eFile legitimate?
It keeps your information secure with data encryption. It also requires multi-factor authentication every time you log in to verify your identity.
Are there any downsides to using eFile?
If you value affordability above all else, you'll find a better deal through a site like
eFile doesn't offer much in the way of customer support. There are no options to speak directly with tax professional either via phone or video chat, even for an extra fee. The only way to get in touch with an expert is through email, and it can take days to get a response.
It's also worth noting that eFile hasn't created an app, and the website isn't very mobile-friendly. If you want to use your phone to file on the go, eFile is not the most convenient option.
Laura Grace Tarpley contributed reporting.