How To File Your Federal Taxes For Free

It’s that time of year again when all of us procrastinators are scrambling to get all of our tax information together so that we can pay our taxes without going over the April 15th deadline. I for one dread this time of year every year. I know I’m going to be spending 1-2 nights tracking down all of my income and expense statements, entering the data and double and triple checking it.

I was planning on going to a CPA this year, however, after looking at all of my information and entering it in TurboTax and being reasonably happy with the outcome, I think I’m probably going to file my own taxes one more time before I go to a professional next year.

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If you file your own taxes I suggest using e-file to file your taxes as your tax return is processed a lot faster than if you send in a paper tax return.  You can also get a refund in as little as 8 days with e-file, but it can take a month or more to receive a refund via check.

how to file federal taxes for free

How To File Your Tax Return For Free

If you are looking for an affordable option to e-file your taxes, there are several places that will allow you to do it for free, if you meet certain conditions.  The IRS has a Free File program that allows you work with a number of tax preparation software companies in order to get free tax preparation if you had an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $57,000 or less in 2009.  Some of the companies will have a lower AGI threshold than others, but in general most will offer free e-file along with having a free tax preparation option.

Where To File Your Taxes For Free

If you’re looking to file your taxes for free, here are a few of the free filing options.  Remember the required maximum AGI for free filing will vary from company to company.  Click on the company name to start your free return!

TurboTax Free Edition– TurboTax is one of the better known names in tax preparation, and the company that I’ll be using this year.  They offer:

  • FREE preparation, FREE printing, FREE efiling for your simple tax return
  • Guides you like a GPS through your simple tax return
  • Double-checks your return to make sure it’s accurate

eSmart Tax Free – Complete Tax offers a free file option, and I’ve heard from others that the software works pretty well:

  • 1040EZ Federal form only
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  • Single, and Married Filing Jointly filing status
  • No children or dependents

H & R Block at Home Free Edition– H & R Block took the Tax Cut software and rebadged it in their H & R Block at Home Free Edition.   They offer the following with their free file service:

  • Step-by-step guidance
  • Double-checks for errors and guaranteed accurate.
  • Easy for first-time users
  • Ability to add state program
  • 1 federal e-file

QuickTax Free Online Edition – QuickTax is the one Canadian option I’ll mention for our friends across the border.  Their software offers:

  • Free support by email
  • No downloads and no software to install – do your taxes in your Web browser
  • Your info is totally safe! QuickTax uses the same security features major banks do

Do you have your own tax software that you prefer to these options?  Tell us which one you use in the comments!

Last Edited: 31st January 2014

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  1. says

    Also consider adjusting your withholding so you do not receive a large refund at the end of the year. This will allow you to have the money throughout the year. You can earn interest on the money in your bank account or invest the money.

    I use TurboTax On-line. It seems to work best for me and is simple and easy to use.

    • says

      I’m not getting a refund this year, I’ll have to pay out several thousand dollars, which is part of the reason I’ve procrastinated so long. I think I may be finishing up the taxes this weekend. Never fun to write the government a big check.

  2. says

    For the last couple of years, I’ve used H&R Block’s free online filing service. It was relatively straightforward and painless, and I got my refund in a couple of days through direct deposit. So I’m happy with their software and would recommend it to others with relatively simple tax situations.

    A big plus for me was that this year, I wasn’t aware that I was eligible for the Making Work Pay Credit, and they automatically determined that I qualified. That’s $400 in less taxes that I have to pay, which is always nice!
    Darren´s last post ..A Few Firsts For MORE than Finances!

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