Pros / OnLine Taxes provide flat-fee pricing for 1040 returns and can import prior year data.
Cons / This e-file service has provided few improvements though the years and does not provide a life events guided interview.
Verdict / We only recommend OLT as a low-priced option for those who have a clear idea of exactly what common credits and deductions they can claim.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
OnLine Taxes (OLT) is an online tax preparation service that offers free 1040EZ and simple tax filing, and flat-fee state and 1040 federal filing. They can file state returns for all states that have individual income tax, and they only charge a low $7.95 for state returns regardless of what kind of federal return you file. We did not notice any significant changes in the layout and presentation of the tax software from last year.
Luckily, this year did not cause major problems for online tax software providers like 2010 when the IRS did not release all the new tax forms until the middle of February. This year was much easier on the tax services since most forms were released by mid-January. OLT was able to manage our typical tax scenario and it caught simple entry errors. However, unlike many taxpayers, we tested the software knowing exactly what credits and deductions we could claim. Our higher ranked products are much better at helping the taxpayer know what credits or deductions they are owed through a simple life events questionnaire. Using OLT, you will have more success if you have a good idea what credits, deductions and income you should claim.
OLT online tax software has the basics covered – it can check for errors and has a guided interview-style interface. It can help you prepare 1040EZ and 1040 forms, as well as small business, self-employed, farm income and other tax statuses. You can also import prior year tax information if you used them previously, and they let you amend your return free.
OnLine Taxes does provide some good support options, including telephone and chat support during the tax season, January 14 through April 20. They also provide email support with a usual response time of one to two days, and they post FAQs, a searchable knowledgebase and federal error code help on their website. While preparing your return you can access help pages through help buttons, and most pages have a brief list of instructions or clarifications to assist you.
OLT does not provide some of the conveniences of our higher ranked products, such as a mobile app, a life events interview or the ability to import W-2s. Though this tax service is well-priced, we do not recommend it to those who need to file a complex return or to those who do not know exactly what credits and deductions they can claim.