Income taxes are a fact of life and, unfortunately, it can be costly to have them prepared and filed electronically by a tax service or to buy a computer program to assist you in preparing them yourself. The good news is there are services available to help many Americans prepare and file their income taxes for free. Whether you need help preparing your income taxes or prefer to calculate them yourself using an online tax program, there are options available at no cost to you.
Free Online Tax Preparation Software
In association with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there are several online tax service companies that offer free use of their online software as well as one free federal e-file. This service is generally available to individuals who earn an adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less and, in most cases, who file simple tax returns. Each company has its own eligibility requirements so it is important to look at each one before choosing a service. This year, TaxAct.com is offering free tax preparation and e-file of federal taxes to everyone no matter your age, income or type of federal tax form you file. You will, however, have to pay an additional fee to prepare and e-file your state tax form. For more information, visit the IRS website at IRS.gov and click on the Free File logo.
Free Tax Preparation and Filing Services
Free tax preparation and filing services in locations across the country through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program (TCE) are funded by grants from the IRS. VITA offers tax services to those with low to moderate yearly incomes of $49,000 or less. Trained volunteer tax counselors work with you to prepare your federal and state income taxes and, in many cases, file them electronically. Sites are easily accessible in local schools, colleges, shopping malls, community centers or libraries. The TCE Program offers tax preparation and filing services to people age 60 and older. To find a location near you for either VITA or TCE, go to IRS.gov and type the name of the program into the search.
The AARP Tax-Aide Program also offers free tax preparation and filing services to both senior citizens age 60 and older and low to moderate income individuals. Trained and certified volunteers assist in preparing federal and state tax returns as well as filing them electronically in most areas. There are over 7,000 locations across the country that offers this service. For more information and a location in your area, visit AARP.com. You do not need to be a member of AARP in order to use this free service.
Free Tax Preparation for Military Personnel
VITA, in association with The Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC) assists military personnel and their families with free tax preparation and filing. This service is available at military installations around the world and the tax counselors are trained in the specific tax needs of military personnel and their families.
Preparing tax returns can be confusing for some people and can also be costly if you use a service. Using one of these free services not only makes it easy but also offers piece of mind that your taxes will be completed by a competent, certified tax counselor.