It’s tax time! You should have received your W2s by now so you should be ready to file your taxes. April 15th, the last day to file taxes this year, will be here before you know it. So get going. Luckily, if you meet certain criteria, you may just be able to file your federal taxes for free online, even e-file.
Here are three ways you might be able to file taxes online free. Two of which I’ve used in the past:
1. TaxACT Free Federal Edition (TaxACT.com)
With TaxACT you can a e-file a 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ for free. No income or age restrictions apply. Your state return, however, will be $14.95. Hopefully you’re like me and live in a State with no income tax. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay that fee. But it’s not very expensive compared to other sites.
I began using TaxACT back in tax year 2001. That was the first year I did my taxes by myself (my Father is a CPA with a tax practice) and so I wanted to do them as cheap as possible.
Back then you couldn’t e-file for free like you can today, so I would use the online software (from a library computer) and complete the 1040, print it out, and mail it in. I did this for 6 years, up until I got married. I even did my wife’s while we were dating using this service.
2. Free File (IRS.gov)
Free File is a free federal income tax preparation and electronic filing program developed through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance LLC. The Free File Alliance is a group of tax software companies you can choose from when filing through Free File.
Your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be $57,000 or less to use this service. According to the IRS, 70% of all tax payers are eligible based on AGI.
I believe this is actually how I discovered TaxACT back in the day. At the time they were involved with this program.
Now it looks like several other companies are involved: Tax Simple, H&R Block’s Free File, Free1040TaxReturn, 1040.com Free File Edition, TurboTax® Freedom Edition, FileYourTaxes.com, FreeTaxUSA® IRS Free File Edition, 1040NOW.NET, yesicanefile.org, OnlineTaxPros.com, TaxSlayer, Online Taxes at OLT.com, eSmartTax By Liberty Tax Service, ezTaxReturn.com.
The IRS has a nice tool to help you sort through this list to find a company that’s right for you based on your criteria. The IRS site says that some of these companies may even offer state return filing for free as well.
3. TurboTax® Federal Free Edition (TurboTax.com)
With TurboTax® Federal Free Edition you can file a 1040EZ and other “simple” returns. Your state will cost you $27.95. Yikes! I looked up the other “simple” returns and found that they cover the following:
- Form 1040 Schedule A – Itemized Deductions
- Form 1040A – Individual Income Tax Return
- Schedule B – Interest & Dividend Income
- Schedule EIC – Earned Income Credit
- Schedule SE – Self-Employment Tax
The good thing about this version is that you can e-file for free and there is no income threshold. So if you live in a state with no income tax, have income higher than $57k, and don’t have any business income, then this is the service for you.
Additional Tips on Filing for Free
- The IRS has an extensive list of other available e-filers on the web.
- If you don’t qualify for the 3 above or you’re not comfortable using online services, try this method: go in for half with a friend on TurboTax in the box. Each piece of software is good for two computers. This is actually what I did one year. The box of software cost us $20 ($10 a piece).
Do you plan on filing your taxes for free this year?
Image by SeniorLiving.org