The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) strongly encourages taxpayers to file their taxes electronically, rather than submitting paper forms. Electronic filing increases the accuracy, speeds up the processing of your return, allows you to get your refund faster, save paper and be safer.
But, what is the best way for taxpayers to file their returns online? For many taxpayers, the answer is a free electronic filing service. But is free e-filing right for you?
What is a free electronic filing service?
Free e-filing services are software that people with incomes under $ 66,000 can use to produce their federal taxes without paying for the software or filing their return.
If your income is greater than $ 66,000, you can not use a free electronic file service, but free fillable forms from the IRS are available to you. These free fillable forms do not provide the same level of support and assistance provided by the free file taxation software.
The IRS has a list of free electronic filing services on its website, including:
It is important to know that the eligibility rules of these free e-file software differ from each other. While OLT.com Online Taxes provides taxes to taxpayers with incomes below $ 66,000, other programs have lower income thresholds or age limits to qualify for a free return.
To make sure you do not incur fees, carefully review the list of free electronic filing services from the IRS and look for a service that you are truly allowed to use for free, given your specific situation. Read the fine print and do not assume that they are all free for you simply because they are on the list.
Do you have to use a free electronic filing service?
Most free file software listed in the IRS listings are among the top rated tax software programs. They allow you to easily complete your tax forms by asking simple questions to identify the deductions and credits to which you are entitled. They also guide you through the process of determining which forms you need and how to fill them out accurately.
These software can be freely used and allow you to make your taxes much easier. There is little reason do not opt for a free electronic file if you meet the requirements, although in some cases the use of the free electronic file option is not optimal; for example, if your taxes are complicated, you need more help than the one provided by the software, or if you are eligible. free help in person and prefer this to the online ranking.
Free software may not be comprehensive enough for you if you have never made a tax return, if you have had changes in your lifestyle that affect your deductions and your taxes. credits, like having a baby or buying a house, having several different incomes or if you run a business. In these circumstances, you should absolutely ask for help in person if you are entitled to free assistance – and you might even want to bite the bullet and pay for tax assistance from a professional if you do not. Are not eligible for free in-person training. programs.
The IRS provides information on two sources of tax assistance in person for free: tax assistance programs for volunteers (VITA) and tax advice for seniors (TCE). VITA provides assistance to taxpayers with incomes below $ 55,000, as well as to people with disabilities or people with language difficulties. TCE helps taxpayers 60 years of age or older to file their return.
VITA and TCE can both send their statements by e-mail. You benefit from fast refunds and a faster tax return, without having to navigate alone in an electronic file program. If you are entitled to free help and want an extra grip, the use of these services may prove to be a better option than a free electronic file software.
Choose the right electronic filing service for you
If you decide to use a free electronic filing service, be sure to choose one that is right for you.
Look for a software known for its ease of use. And, if you live in one of the states that collect state taxes, try to find a program that will allow you to file your state tax returns and federal tax returns for free.
It is easier to stick to the same tax return software from year to year because the program typically keeps records from the previous year and must automatically fill in some parts of the forms to your account. square. It is therefore worthwhile to do initial research to find a program that works well and is affordable, so you can use it every year.
A free electronic file can facilitate the filing of returns
If you earn less than $ 66,000 a year, you do not qualify for free in-person tax assistance, and you do not have a complicated statement to make, the free electronic file is often the way the more economical and less expensive to take care of your tax. obligations. There is little reason to pay for software when good free tools are available. So take the time to find the one that suits you.