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Federal Standard Price N/A
State Return Price $19.95 Basic Review

An inspection of the website seems to reveal that Simple Basic is aptly named. There seem to be very few bells and whistles associated with the software program. Nonetheless, the pricing makes Simple Basic a reasonably good value for money, with strong caveats for potentially questionable customer service tactics from its parent company, Drake Software.

What Does Simple Basic Tax Preparation Do?

The Simple Basic is an online tax program that allows individual taxpayers to complete and e-file federal income tax returns. It is designed for individual taxpayers who can file Form 1040A rather than Form 1040 and who do not itemize. This category includes taxpayers with incomes of $100,000 or less with income from wages or tips, capital gains, pensions, Social Security or unemployment insurance. Simple deductions and credits that do not require itemization such as educational expenses, Individual Retirement Accounts and student loan interest are also allowed. Simple Basic Tax Preparation Cost

The base price for Simple Basic is $19.99 for preparation and free e-filing of a single federal income tax return, with additional credits for additional returns available for added cost. An unlimited number of state income tax returns can be filed for an additional cost of $19.99. There is no information available on the public website concerning payment, but it is assumed that fees are payable by debit or credit card.

What Services Do Simple Basic Provide?

From all indications, Simple Basic differs little from the free version of tax preparation software, except for the ability to handle somewhat more involved tax returns. Third party reviews indicate that provides interactive links with information about various tax questions. There is also apparently a feature to check calculation errors. A PDF preview is also available before the final filing of returns. Taxpayers can receive responses to tax related questions via email.

How Reliable Is Simple Basic Tax Preparation?

Although the Better Business Bureau indicates that Drake Software has been accredited since 1997, the company has a mediocre “B” rating. One unsettling example illustrating this middling rating is a March 2014 BBB complaint that states that after being denied a refund, the complainant demanded personal information be deleted from the website. But almost immediately after the information was supposedly deleted, the complainant stated that he or she was “bombarded” by unsolicited calls from unknown parties that had not stopped as of the date of the complaint.

Does Simple Basic Have In-House Expertise?

There is no information included on the public website that would indicate that in-house expertise is available. However, third party reviews state that email support is provided. In addition, the Drake Software website includes several features that could be incorporated into customer service or help functions, including a knowledge base. It should be noted that the Drake Software website is targeted toward commercial tax preparers and not end users.

Does Simple Basic Have Money-Back Guarantee?

The Terms of Service for the site include a Maximum Return Guarantee and an Accuracy of Calculation Guarantee. The Maximum Return Guarantee states that taxpayers receiving a larger refund or a smaller tax bill using an alternate software package can be refunded for what they paid for Simple Basic. The Accuracy of Calculation Guarantee promises reimbursement for penalty and interest assessed by the IRS due to errors caused by software. To be eligible for either guarantee, taxpayers must register purchases with the website and make any claims within 30 days.

Does Simple Basic Offer Tax Preparation Services?

Drake Software offers software packages to commercial tax preparers, but the Simple Basic program does not offer tax preparation services. Moreover, little information is revealed before users actually begin to use the software, which could be problematic for individuals who decide against actually using to file their tax returns, as the BBB complaint mentioned above would indicate.


According to the website, the company has been in business since 1977 and has processed 21 million tax returns during the previous year. Despite troubling customer service indicators, there must be some satisfied customers. However, there are other tax preparation software packages that are more user friendly.

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Feature Breakdown

Federal Basic Price $19.95
State Return Price $19.95
Federal Basic Plus State Price $39.90
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