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EY TaxChat Review – Is This Professional Tax Preparation Service for You?


FEATURED PROMOTION

Ey Taxchat Logo

Our rating

4.0/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upGet your taxes prepared by a pro without leaving home
  • thumbs-upExperienced tax professionals handle tax prep for you
  • thumbs-upTransparent pricing

Cons

  • thumbs-downNot available outside of the U.S., Australia, U.K., Brazil and Canada
  • thumbs-downLimited phone support hours
  • thumbs-downState return fees can add up quickly

Traditionally, taxpayers had only a few options for filing a tax return. They could visit a local accounting firm or retail tax preparation chain or prepare their own return online.

That was then. Technology now makes it possible to work with a tax professional anywhere in the world without leaving the comfort of your own home. 

EY TaxChat is one such option. It’s a service from Ernst & Young, a multinational professional services firm popularly known as EY. EY TaxChat connects you with an EY tax professional who can prepare and file your federal and state income tax returns.

Read on to learn more about EY TaxChat and decide whether it’s the right option for you.

Key Features of EY TaxChat

Several features of EY TaxChat set it apart from DIY tax software. Most importantly, you can count on a comprehensive list of tax documents here, and your return is always prepared by a licensed tax professional.

Straightforward Tax Preparation Process

All you need to do to get started with EY TaxChat is register at www.tax.chat or via the mobile app available for iOS devices on the App Store or Android devices on Google Play. Then:

  1. Answer a few questions about your tax situation last year. For example, do you have a mortgage or dependents? Are you self-employed or do you own a small business? Do you have income from interest, dividends, and capital gains? Do you own rental real estate?
  2. Based on your answers, EY TaxChat gives you a no-obligation fixed-fee quote to have an EY tax professional prepare your tax returns.
  3. If you want to move forward, EY TaxChat assigns your return to a tax pro.
  4. Upload your documents by taking a picture with your phone or uploading them from your computer to EY’s secure online portal.
  5. Chat with an EY tax professional at any time to discuss your returns or provide additional information.

Once the tax pro finishes preparing your return, you review and authorize EY to file your return electronically.

Taxes Prepared by a Licensed Tax Professional

Some retail tax preparation chains and online tax filing services offer help from a “tax professional,” but the definition of tax professional varies from company to company. Some may have just a few hours of training.

EY TaxChat preparers are CPAs or EAs with experience preparing federal, state, and local tax returns. Plus, they actually prepare your tax returns—they don’t just answer questions while you file your return on your own. So you can feel confident that your tax returns are accurate.

Comprehensive List of Tax Documents

One of the tough parts of preparing your return or having a tax preparer handle it for you is knowing what information you need to file your return.

When you file with EY TaxChat, the system provides a list of required documents based on your responses to the initial interview questions. You can snap photos of your documents using your phone and upload them using the EY TaxChat app or upload them to your account from your computer or laptop. The system tracks all the forms you submit, so you know exactly what your EY TaxChat preparer has and what they still need from you.

Convenient and Versatile

With EY TaxChat, you don’t have to make an appointment or mail paper documents. You can access EY TaxChat anytime, anywhere, as long as you have a computer or mobile device and an internet connection. Your customer support team is also available by phone from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday.

Transparent Pricing

With some companies, it’s difficult to know exactly how much your tax return costs until just before filing. Some tax prep companies advertise low fees, but once you’re in, you realize you don’t qualify for the free or lowest-price package. Others add e-filing, audit protection, and other fees that drive up the total cost.

EY TaxChat provides a fixed-fee quote for preparing your taxes after you answer questions about your tax situation, so you know exactly how much the service costs. According to EY, pricing starts at $199 for your federal and one state return.

Of course, that fee can change if it turns out your tax return is more complicated than you initially thought. For example, when I entered my information (married, one dependent, self-employed, standard deduction), my quote was over $1,200 for a federal and one state return.

When your return is more complicated, your EY TaxChat preparer will advise you of the new fee. At that point, you can either accept the new fee or take your business elsewhere.

Data Security

EY TaxChat uses multiple encryption protocols to ensure that your personal information and tax documents are secure at all times. Only the EY TaxChat professionals working on your return have access to your data. 


Advantages of EY TaxChat

There are a few areas where EY Tax Chat stands out compared to other options, such as accounting firms or online tax software companies.

  • Convenient. EY TaxChat is on-demand and available via computer or a mobile device, so you don’t have to make an appointment or mail paper documents. 
  • Experienced Professionals. All EY TaxChat preparers are trained and licensed tax professionals who hold either a certified public accountant (CPA) or enrolled agent (EA) license. They’re able to prepare federal, state, and local tax returns.
  • Transparent Pricing. EY TaxChat gives you a fixed-fee quote for preparing your taxes, so you don’t have to worry about getting a surprise bill when your return is ready to file. That fee could change if your tax returns are more complicated than you realized or disclosed during registration, but EY TaxChat will notify you of the adjusted price and give you the option to continue or not. 

Disadvantages of EY TaxChat

While EY TaxChat offers several advantages, it does have a few downsides to consider.

  • Not Widely Available. Currently, EY TaxChat is only available in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
  • Limited Phone Support Hours. While you can always access the chat function, if you want to speak to an EY TaxChat professional via phone, they’re only available from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
  • State Return Fees Can Add Up Quickly. If you need to file more than one state or local return, EY TaxChat charges $60 per additional state or local filing. If you need to file several state income tax returns, these fees can add up quickly.
  • Limited Document Storage. EY TaxChat won’t keep a copy of your documents and tax return indefinitely. The company deletes documents from the system in November of each year, so you need to download a copy of your return and keep all of your related documents.

Final Word

You have a lot of options when it comes to where to file your return. You can do it yourself using online software or hire a local accountant to handle it for you. EY TaxChat is the best of both worlds: conveniently online but staffed by tax professionals who decipher tax law and fill out the forms for you.

With typical fees starting at around $200 for your federal and one state tax return, EY TaxChat isn’t the cheapest option out there, but being able to turn your taxes over to a pro might be worth it. Otherwise, check out our list of free online tax preparation services.

Ey Taxchat Logo

Our rating

4.0/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upGet your taxes prepared by a pro without leaving home
  • thumbs-upExperienced tax professionals handle tax prep for you
  • thumbs-upTransparent pricing

Cons

  • thumbs-downNot available outside of the U.S., Australia, U.K., Brazil and Canada
  • thumbs-downLimited phone support hours
  • thumbs-downState return fees can add up quickly
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Janet Berry-Johnson is a Certified Public Accountant. Before leaving the accounting world to focus on freelance writing, she specialized in income tax consulting and compliance for individuals and small businesses. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and son and their rescue dog, Dexter.

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