April 15th will be here before you know it. Here’s how to file your 2020 taxes for FREE online, even get free help preparing the documents, and a couple of low-cost options if you don’t qualify for the tax filing freebies.
Note that some free services are not available to homeowners, taxpayers with itemized deductions, or those whose incomes or age are over a certain threshold level. Also, with few exceptions, only free filing of federal taxes is offered, not state or local filings.
The IRS offers Free File, a service that allows people earning $64,000 or less to choose from a variety of online tax software options.
The Free File Alliance, as it’s called, is a partnership between the IRS and twelve independent software providers including H&R Block and TurboTax, and some also offer free state tax prep and e-file.
Choose the free filing service that fits you best, since some are not available to homeowners, taxpayers with itemized deductions, or those whose incomes or age are over a certain threshold level.
Those with higher incomes can file free online using the free fillable forms. Users choose from among the participating software offerings. Any tax refund you are entitled to will be via direct deposit to your bank account.
Beyond the IRS, those within the same $64,000 income limit can use MyFreeTaxes.com, for both federal and state tax filings, offered through United Way Worldwide. Even if you don’t qualify, the website has additional resources for assistance.
TurboTax’s Federal Free Edition offers a live on-screen help function if you need an expert to walk you through the process.
Taxact.com is offering free federal and state tax returns for those filing simple 1040 EZ/A returns. Or, upgrade to the $30 “premium” software package to file more complex, itemized federal and state taxes, with free phone support.
Also, many local libraries offer FREE tax filing assistance, such as the New York Public Library, which partners with experts from AARP.
All in all, these do-it-yourself online tax filing options will offer big-time savings if you’re used to paying a tax pro to handle all of your paperwork.
Better still, the sites make filing a painless, step-by-step process, which is why more and more people are logging in to settle up with the IRS.
This article was posted originally in 2017, and is updated annually, including for 2021.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and guidebook and smartphone app author – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
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