How to E-File Your Taxes for Free U.S.News & World Report LP Friday, March 11, 2011
The federal income tax filing deadline is coming up next month. If you still haven't filed your taxes you want to make sure you e-file your taxes. If you go to a big chain tax preparation firm you could pay $30 or more just to e-file your taxes. If you have them prepare your taxes they will allow you to e-file for free but you will hundreds of dollars in preparation fees. There is no need to pay to e-file and for many people there is no need to pay for tax preparation. The IRS wants you to know that they give you several ways to prepare and e-file your taxes for free.
The IRS has a Free File mini site with information on your free filing options. Free File is a free, federal income tax prep and electronic filing program for eligible taxpayers, developed through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a group of private sector tax software companies. The Free File program is open only to taxpayers with a 2010 Adjusted Gross Income of $58,000 or less.
The Free File companies have different criteria which can include your age, state, EITC eligibility, and military status. The IRS has a free tool to help you choose a Free File company. You will probably be eligible for several companies. You should check the
companies' individual websites to see if they charge for your state return and how much. Also, some companies may not provide all the forms you need. Once you have selected a company make sure you access it through IRS.gov so you won't be charged.
If your income is too high for you to be eligible to file with any of the Free File tax preparation companies you can still e-file your taxes for free with the use of Free File Fillable Forms. You will still have to prepare your taxes but if you use the Free File Fillable Forms it will perform basic calculations for you and allow you to e-file for free. There are also a few companies such as Turbo Tax and FreeTaxUSA that will allow you to use the simple version of their online tax preparation software for free with no income limits.
For those of you who have already filed your taxes and are waiting for a refund the IRS has a free tool to check the status of your refund. Just go to the IRS refund status tool and enter your social security number, filing status, and refund amount and it will tell you when to expect your refund.
Filing your taxes isn't fun but using the resources that the IRS provides on their web site can make it a little less painful.
Andy Hough writes about frugality and living well on a small income at TightFistedMiser.com.