It’s that time of year again, and you’re either enjoying new Spring weather or you’re like 25% of other Americans who still haven’t filed their taxes. Filing your taxes can be confusing and frustrating, but it’s also necessary to not get sidetracked on your path to financial freedom.
Depending on your financial situation, here is a list of FREE tools and services that may help you get the refund you deserve without paying more than you absolutely have to. Take the time to research if a specific promotion is right for you, spend a little time reading before jumping into your pile of W-2s and 1099s.
IRS/Free File Fillable Forms
If your income is below $66,000 you may qualify to file your taxes for free, including state options. Otherwise, the IRS provides fillable online forms you can use, but they require you to know how to do your taxes and have last year’s return handy. They also don’t have state forms ready, you’ll have to find those yourself.
If your income is above $66,000 there are other options, but unless you have a soft spot for fillable online forms, a tax preparation software provider is probably the simpler option.
As a reminder, tax prep software typically offers a free return to get you in the door and using their software before offering upgrades and extra help for a price. It’s a nice service if the free part matches what you’ll be using, but if not, be sure to check prices against what you would pay with a trusted tax professional or other paid tax options.
Free Federal and State Filing
TaxSlayer – Provides a free federal 1040EZ return and your first state return. So if you have easy taxes, take advantage.
Jackson Hewitt – Offers a free federal 1040EZ return and any state returns. Anything above the simplest filing will cost you money.
TaxAct – A 1040EZ and a free state return. Everything else will cost you.
H&R Block – Free federal and state returns. Federal filing includes 1040EZ, 1040A and 1040 with Schedule A.
Credit Karma – It’s 100% free for a federal and state return if you’re signed up with Credit Karma. There are some limitations, for instance they don’t support multiple state filings, part-year state filing, foreign earned income, state returns for married filing separately in community property states, or state filing without a federal filing. They do also provide self-employed or small business forms 1040 schedule C, E and SE.
Free Federal Filing Only
FreeTaxUSA – Free federal return of about any difficulty plus $12.95 to add a state return.
TurboTax – Free simple federal returns using the 1040EZ or 1040A forms. You’ll be paying for a state return.
E-file – Provides free federal return for 1040EZ. State returns start at $19.
For many who qualify for a tax refund, this is a great opportunity to declare war on your debt, or begin an emergency savings fund. If you’re planning on getting a refund, make sure to put it to good use or you’re almost always better off reducing your withholdings and using that money each month and getting a lesser return.
If you need a financial plan to get the most out of your tax return, Mvelopes offers a 10-week Budget Makeover course that can help you get the most out of your finances or you can sign up for regular sessions with our personal finance trainers.
*If you’re unsure about which tax service is best for you or if you have questions about your tax situation, it is always best to consult with an IRS representative or a professional CPA.*