How to File Your Taxes for Free This Year!

 

It’s that time again: Tax Time!

Luckily, if you meet certain criteria, you may just be able to file your federal taxes–and your state taxes–without spending a penny!

Here are nine ways you might be able to file your taxes for free this year:

1. TurboTax® Free Edition (TurboTax.com)

With TurboTax® Free Edition you can file a 1040EZ and other “simple” returns for free. You can also file State taxes for free.

I looked up the other “simple” returns and found that they cover the following:

  • Form 1040A – Individual Income Tax Return
  • Schedule EIC – Earned Income Credit
  • Child Tax Credits

TurboTax Free Edition doesn’t cover itemized deductions, business or 1099-MISC income, rental property income or credits, deductions and income reported on schedules 1-6, such as the Student Loan Interest Deduction.

The good thing about this version is that you can e-file for free and there is no income threshold.

Get started with TurboTax for free!

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 $66,000 or less to use this service. According to the IRS, 70% of all taxpayers 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:

  • 1040.com
  • 1040NOW
  • Drake Enterprise
  • eSmart
  • ezTaxReturn.com
  • FileYourTaxes
  • Free Tax Returns
  • Free Tax USA
  • H&R Block
  • OnLine Taxes
  • TaxAct
  • TaxSlayer

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.

Get started with Free File.

3. TaxAct Free Federal Edition (TaxAct.com)

With TaxAct you can prepare and file simple federal returns with no dependents for free. This includes the ability to e-file a 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ for free. State filing is also currently free through TaxAct.

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 cheaply 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 six years, up until I got married. I even did my wife’s while we were dating using this service.

Get started with TaxAct.

4. H&R Block (HRBlock.com)

H&R Block’s free online tax filing is more extensive than other popular programs. This includes free Federal and State tax filing, but also includes:

  • Child and Dependent Care Expenses
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction
  • Tuition and Fees Statement
  • Health Coverage Exemptions (for uninsured)

H&R Block’s free online tax filing includes 45 tax forms available. You can also snap a picture of your W-2 on your mobile phone and upload it and it will auto-fill your information. This could save tons of time in tax preparation for you.

Get started with H&R Block.

5. eSmart Tax (eSmartTax.com)

eSmart Tax is Liberty Tax Service’s online tax filing program. They offer free Federal tax filing. Unfortunately, State tax returns cost $29.99 through eSmart Tax. You can quickly fill out and file your 1040 through eSmart Tax. Other features include:

  • Affordable Care Act forms
  • Earned Income Credit
  • Free chat & email support
  • Credit Maximizer, which searches for tax credits and deductions
  • W-2 import

Free return amendments are included in eSmart’s free tax filing in case you receive tax documents after you file.

Get started with eSmart Tax.

6. TaxSlayer (TaxSlayer.com)

Simply Free is the TaxSlayer’s free tax filing program. They offer free Federal and State tax filing for simple 1040 returns. TaxSlayer offers free phone and email support and also includes education deductions and credits and student loan interest deductions. TaxSlayer guarantees you the maximum refund possible through Simply Free.

Check out our full review of TaxSlayer here. 

Get started with TaxSlayer.

7. 1040.com

Get free simple tax return filing with 1040.com. Their software uses an interview-style filing system that makes complex forms easy to fill out. It includes W-2 wages, salaries, unemployment income, or taxable interest under $1,500. 1040.com’s free software is for single people or married couples with no children/dependents. You must also have a taxable income less than $100,000. State tax returns are included for free.

Get started with 1040.com.

8. FreeTaxUSA (FreeTaxUSA.com)

FreeTaxUSA offers free Federal tax filing. State tax filing costs $12.95. Unlike other free tax software, FreeTaxUSA covers more complex situations like:

  • Joint filing
  • Itemized deductions
  • Rental properties
  • Dependents
  • Investments
  • Self-Employed

Also included from FreeTaxUSA is the ability to include charitable donations, Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions, and mortgage interest and property taxes.

FreeTaxUSA also offers a Deluxe Edition for $6.99 that includes live chat and audit assist.

Get started with FreeTaxUSA.

9. Jackson Hewitt (JacksonHewitt.com)

You may be familiar with Jackson Hewitt and their kiosks in Walmart during tax season. They also offer free tax filing software through their website. It is designed for single individuals and married filing jointly, with no dependents, and making less than $100,000 taxable income annually. Jackson Hewitt offers e-filing for both Federal and State tax returns.

Get started with Jackson Hewitt.

Additional Tips for Filing Your Own Taxes

If you are doing your own taxes this year, here are some other helpful tips to make it easier and save time:

  • Have all your information gathered ahead of time as well as any documents you will use
  • Determine your filing status and make sure you qualify for using a free tax software program
  • Be sure to double check your work to make sure the information you entered is correct.
  • Be aware of all of the important tax deadlines by viewing the IRS tax calendars.
  • Take a few minutes to review last year’s tax return. Most likely it will have all of the personal information you need to fill out this year’s forms. It’s also good to see where you were at last year and if you need to make any adjustments or changes to your tax return this year.
  • File your tax return on time to avoid late filing penalties.

If you don’t qualify for any of these free options check out our recommendations of where to get your taxes done, with prices!

Reader Challenge

I encourage those with relatively simple tax situations to give it a shot before going to a professional or spending money on expensive software. I challenge you to heed this advice and file your taxes for free. With all the resources out there, there’s no reason to pay someone else to do what is, in reality, a small amount of work. You’ll probably find that 10 minutes of your time is worth the savings!

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Comments

  1. brokeandbeau says:

    My father is a tax attorney, so I’ve been enjoying the perk of free tax prep for years 🙂

  2. Camari Ellis says:

    Great article! I am literally writing an article very similar for my blog. Might have to revisit.. I have been doing Accounting and tax work for over 15 yrs and I think the online solutions are awesome. Especially, for people with just a W’2 and maybe a couple of children..

  3. One Cent at a Time says:

    I do with Taxact and unless you opt for additional features, its free every year.

  4. Mike and Molly's House says:

    We’ve got to get on our taxes!!! AHHHGG!

  5. I would remind people to check out their state government website for information if they have to file a return with them. Minnesota has direct links to several that will let you efile for state for free as well as federal at http://taxes.state.mn.us/e-file/pages/other_supporting_content_free_providers.aspx

  6. JeffreyCrews says:

    I have a CPA do mine. The time it takes is well worth the money I pay him. However, I always love hearing of ways I truly could save money on certain tasks. I guess I am just too lazy. 🙂

  7. Joanna Hertel says:

    thanks for sharing

  8. Kevin Smith says:

    State Farm Bank offers free TurboTax Online Federal and State filing to account holders – just need to put $100 in an account there.https://online2.statefarm.com/dashboard/turbotax.xhtml

  9. Joe Durika says:

    Already did…using TaxAct.com. Should have my refund by the 14th (happy Valentine’s Day to me!)

  10. @Hank – You mean you paid a CPA? I agree, there comes a point where “free” doesn’t cut it. And $150 isn’t bad. That’s a good deal for a CPA.

    I’m a CPA (non-practicing) so I have no excuse. I do them myself.

  11. I was a big fan of TurboTax till I got in too deep with investing, kids, houses, etc, and I figured the $150 I paid him was well worth it for my piece of mind that it was getting done right…

  12. FIRE Finance says:

    Thanks for the mention 🙂