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How to File Your Taxes for Free

e-File is gaining in popularity as the Internet becomes the place to go for taking care of money matters. Not only is e-file convenient, but it also provides you with a method of getting your tax refund faster (if you are entitled to one). Many tax professionals offer e-file services when you go in. And, if you meet certain requirements, you might be able to have your taxes e-filed for free.

Free Tax Preparation

One of the big things you might have noticed this year is that some companies are offering you the chance to have your taxes prepared for free. If you are eligible for the 1040 EZ, or if you have a very basic tax return, you might be able to a discount on it. On top of that, you can get free e-file if your adjusted gross income for tax year 2012 is $57,000 or less.

The IRS has a list of tax return preparers [3] that offer the free e-file services. You can look through your options, and then contact a local office to see if they have a special going on tax preparation as well. Another thing to consider is that you can use the software to e-file for free online. Starting from the IRS web site [3], you can fill out your own information and have your taxes filed for free.

Even if you don’t qualify for free e-file, you can still do your own taxes. The IRS offers free fillable forms, as well as limited consultation, to help you do your own taxes. These Free File fillable forms [4] can be a helpful way to get your taxes done quickly and conveniently.

Things to Keep in Mind with Free e-File

You do need to keep a few things in mind when you decide to take advantage of the offers out there for free tax preparation and free e-file. First of all, you need to be aware of the eligibility requirements. Companies offering to prepare your tax return for free usually only offer the free prep on certain forms. If you have Schedules and Forms beyond the basic 1040 or 1040 EZ, there is a good chance you will be charged a fee. Only the simplest forms are usually included in free tax prep offers.

Another thing to consider as you go in for your free e-file is that your state income taxes may not be included. There might be a charge to e-file your state tax return, and there will almost certainly be a fee attached to preparing your state tax return. Some states have their own agreements with tax preparation companies and software, and you can check with your state to see if you are eligible for a free e-file for your state taxes.

Getting Free Help with Your Taxes

You do have some options when it comes to getting free help filling out your tax forms. Back when I did my own taxes, I called the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers [5]. It’s easy to look up by state, and extended hours are usually in effect during tax season. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program [6] can be found in a number of communities, and is aimed at helping those with incomes of less than $49,000 and seniors. You can also check with your local university to see if accounting students are offering their services.