Filing taxes can be a stressful time for many people, especially if they have to pay to have their taxes prepared. Fortunately, there are many free tax preparation services available that can help you file your taxes accurately and easily. In this article, we will discuss 10 free tax preparation services, provide a step-by-step guide to filing taxes for free online, offer tips for doing your taxes for free and saving money, interview tax experts for their advice, and provide recommendations for the best free tax filing software.
10 Free Tax Preparation Services that Help You File Your Taxes Accurately and Easily
Several free tax preparation services can help you file your taxes accurately and easily. These services offer online filing options and user-friendly interfaces. The following are some free tax preparation services:
- IRS Free File – Eligibility is for individuals or families whose income is $72,000 or less. It offers free federal tax preparation and e-filing. This program also provides a list of other free tax preparation services you might be eligible for.
- TaxSlayer – For single users without dependents, TaxSlayer allows you to file a federal return for free. Otherwise, it offers forms for dependent filing at less than $30. This is for both federal and state income tax returns.
- TurboTax by Intuit – The Free Edition allows simple filing and preparation but will require a paid upgrade for more complicated tax situations. State filing is also a paid upgrade; however, eligibility can be achieved through your current employment or low-income qualifying.
- H & R Block – The free option is for simple tax filing with a bit higher cost, or a discount, for state taxes. However, other options come with up to six deposit methods and access to experts for tax advice.
- Credit Karma Tax – Another free option with no additional fees for state payments or e-filing. Eligibility is accepted for users with bank accounts under a specific bank or individuals without credit cards.
- FreeTaxUSA – This is one of the free tax preparation services that offers free preparation and e-filing for federal returns but requires payment for state taxes. However, it also offers support from tax experts with access to previous filings.
- Jackson Hewitt – Free tax preparation services from Jackson Hewitt come with a $100 cash reward eligibility, as long as the filer expects a refund before May 31, 2021. It offers help for W-2 and bank statement uploading, transcript retrieval, and chat support.
- TaxAct – This is another of the free tax preparation services that offers free federal filing but requires payment for state returns. Eligibility is for all who need to file form 1040 and offers strong customer support in Spanish and English.
- FileYourTaxes.com – This free tax preparation service offers a W-2 upload for basic and advanced filers, with access to tax experts.
- EZTaxReturn.com – With a simple flat rate of $29.95, this site offers free preparation and filing for state and federal returns alike.
The Ultimate Guide to Filing Your Taxes for Free Online
Filing taxes for free online is a great way to avoid costly preparation fees. Here is a step-by-step guide:
- Gather your tax documents – These may include W-2s, 1099s, and other income statements, as well as receipts and deductible expenses.
- Choose a reputable tax software – One of the most common free tax preparation services are the Free File Program offered by the IRS. Other reputable companies are H&R Block, TaxAct, and TurboTax.
- Create an account – Once you have selected a tax software, create an account with your email and add your personal information.
- Follow the software’s guidance – Answer all the relevant questions required, and allow the software to make its calculations based on your inputs.
- Review your return – Double check your return for incorrect or incomplete information. Also, ensure that you have claimed all eligible deductions and credits and that your calculations are correct.
- E-file your return – If your tax return is complete and accurate, submit it to the IRS for processing.
- Track your refund – The IRS has options to track and check your e-filed tax return. It also provides payment options if required.
Make sure you keep a copy of your tax return and supporting documents on file for at least three years.
5 Tips for Doing Your Taxes for Free and Saving Money
Doing your taxes for free can save you money, especially if you are eligible for deductions and credits. Here are five useful tips:
- Keep track of all your expenses – Keep track of all your expenses throughout the year by collecting receipts and using expense tracking software. This helps you stay organized and ensures that you don’t miss any potential deductions.
- Take advantage of deductions and credits – Deductions and credits help to minimize your tax liability. Make sure you take advantage of all eligible deductions and credits, such as charitable donations and educational expenses.
- Avoid penalties – Avoid late filing penalties by filing your tax return on time. Also, make sure you pay any taxes you owe on time to avoid further penalties.
- File electronically – Electronic filing is faster and safer than mailing a paper return. If you are eligible, e-filing is free through the IRS site or other reputable sites as we have listed above.
- Use free tax preparation services – Many companies offer free tax preparation services that can help you avoid costly preparation fees while still ensuring that your tax return is accurate and complete.
Expert Advice: How to Prepare and File Your Taxes for Free
To help you prepare and file your taxes, we have spoken to some tax experts to get their advice. Here is what they had to say:
“The most common mistake people make when preparing their taxes is overlooking deductions and credits, such as charitable donations and education expenses. Make sure you keep accurate records throughout the year and take advantage of all eligible deductions and credits.”
“Another common mistake people make is failing to file their returns on time. This can lead to significant penalties and interest charges. Make sure you file on time, even if you cannot pay the full amount owed.”
“Using free tax preparation services is an excellent way to save money while still filing your taxes accurately and on time. Many online services offer free filing options for low-to-mid-income individuals. Always remember to verify that the company is legitimate and that your personal information is kept secure.”
Maximizing Your Tax Refund: How to File Your Taxes for Free and Get the Most Out of Your Return
Filing your taxes accurately is important, especially when you want to maximize your tax refund. Here are some tips:
- Take advantage of all eligible credits and deductions – Some of the most common credits and deductions include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), education expenses, charitable donations, and child and dependent care expenses. Make sure you claim all eligible credits and deductions.
- Consider an IRA contribution – Contributions to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) may be eligible for a tax deduction. This can help reduce your taxable income and increase your refund.
- Contribute to a Health Savings Account – Contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA) are tax-deductible. If you have a high-deductible health plan, consider contributing to an HSA to reduce your taxable income and increase your tax refund.
- File on time – Filing your tax return on time ensures that you receive your refund quickly and helps you avoid costly penalties and interest charges.
- Use a reputable tax software or tax preparer – Using a reputable tax software or tax preparer can ensure that your tax return is accurate and complete, which can help you maximize your refund.
DIY Tax Prep: How to File Your Taxes for Free without Professional Help
If you want to file your taxes without professional help, here are some basic steps:
- Gather all necessary documents – Before you get started, gather all the necessary documents such as your W-2s, 1099s, and other income statements.
- Choose a reliable software option – Choose a reputable tax filing software like those we have mentioned before.
- Familiarize yourself with the instructions – Take some time to understand how the software works, read the instructions provided before using it, and seek online assistance.
- Start filing – Begin inputting all the necessary information, starting with your personal information, followed by W-2 and other income statements and required information for eligibility for credits and deductions.
- Review your return for accuracy – Double-check your return for errors or inconsistencies before submitting it to the IRS. It’s wise to check your calculations and verify information before filing.
- Submit your return – Once you have verified the accuracy of your return, electronically submit it to the IRS to ensure that they receive it promptly.
Best Free Tax Filing Software: Our Top Picks for Accurate and Efficient Tax Preparation
Choosing the right tax filing software can help ensure that you accurately and efficiently prepare your taxes. Here are our top picks:
- IRS Free File – Offers free federal tax preparation and e-filing for low-to-mid-income taxpayers.
- TaxAct – Offers a free version for federal returns that require straightforward filing, such as 1040EZ, 1040A, or 1040.
- H&R Block – Allows you to file federal returns for free with the free basic edition, including free state filing only for some situations.
- TurboTax – Offers its Free Edition for simple tax returns (1040A or 1040EZ).
- Credit Karma Tax – Like many of its counterparts, Credit Karma Tax offers free federal tax preparation and e-filing as well as free state returns.
Filing your taxes can be intimidating. Fortunately, there are many free tax preparation services that can help you file your taxes accurately and easily. With a step-by-step guide to filing taxes for free online, tips for doing your taxes for free and saving money, expert advice for preparing, filing, and maximizing refunds, and recommendations for the best free tax filing software, we hope you will take advantage of free tax preparation services to make your tax season a great success.