If your adjusted gross income was $57,000 or less in 2011, you should check out the free e-filing options offered through the IRS’s Free File program.
If your income normally excludes you from this freebie, it’s time to look again. The IRS is saying that anyone can complete the Free File Fill-able Tax Forms directly from their website. Here’s the press release (emphasis added):
“This year, the IRS and its partners in the Free File Alliance are offering a new option, Free File Fillable Tax Forms, which allows free electronic filing of tax returns for virtually everyone.”
How to Get Free e-File with $57K or Less in Income
If you’re in this category, you’ve got it easy. Simply go to the IRS Free File homepage and sign up with one of their qualifying vendors (click the “help me find a company” button) to have your taxes e-filed for free. Complete the tax preparation questionnaire and e-file the forms. I used the Free File service from 2003-2006 and selected TaxACT as my vendor of choice. I haven’t been disappointed with their service.
How to Get Free e-File with >$57k Income
Historically, anyone in this category had to pay an extra fee for e-file. Usually about $8. While this isn’t unreasonable by any means, it’s still annoying. Now, the IRS has removed this “tax on the rich” and with the free fill-able forms, these folks can e-file for free. Here are your steps:
- Go to the IRS Free File homepage and sign up with one of the tax preparation companies.
- Use the free tax preparation company to help you complete your tax return.
- Request to have your forms printed instead of e-filed (which would cost you around $8).
- Take your printed forms and go back to the IRS website and re-enter the exact numbers on the Free File fill-able forms.
You get the benefit of using the free tax preparation companies and still get to e-file for free. Nice. Unfortunately, State forms aren’t available yet in the form section. Hopefully you live in Texas like me and that’s not a worry.
Benefits of e-File
The IRS shares some benefits to e-file:
“Taxpayers who use e-file and who choose direct deposit can receive their refund in as few as 10 days. That’s because with e-file, there’s no paper return going to the IRS. IRS e-file allows taxpayers to file their returns now and pay later if they owe taxes. It allows taxpayers to file both federal and most state returns at the same time. And with direct deposit, there’s no paper refund going to the taxpayer. So it’s all electronic and much faster than paper.”
More than 24 million tax returns have been filed through the IRS’s Free File since it’s inception in 2003. Are you planning on using the free e-file?