Filing for taxes has been called many names-a hassle, a necessary evil, the list goes on and on but one thing it doesn't have to be called is expensive. The Internal Revenue Service, in cooperation with individual tax software companies created the Free File program in 2003 to help make the process more feasible to taxpayers across the country. Let's take a look at some of the software programs that offer this service.
Turbo Tax Federal Free Edition
Turbo tax has made a name for itself in the tax world for its easy to use interface, quality calculations, and around the clock support. They offer four product packages (Basic, Deluxe, Premier, Home/Business) in addition to their free edition. The free edition is designed for simple/1040EZ tax returns and comes with some extra perks you might not find elsewhere. Turbo Tax will give you an extra 5 percent on an Amazon.com gift card purchase when you use any increment of $100 from your federal tax refund. This applies to anyone who used the Federal Free Edition or even the Basic service. The free edition also allows you to prepare your e-file by importing your W-2 income form and transfers the previous year's Turbo Tax return if you used them the previous year.
Do You Qualify?
The free federal version is for qualifying individuals who earn an adjusted gross income of $30,000 (or less), or $58,000 (or less) for active military personnel. Citizens residing in any of the following states are eligible for the free edition: AZ, DC, DE, GA, AR, IA, IN, ID, KY, MI, MO, MN, MS, ND, NC, OK, PA, OR, RI, VA, SC, VT, and WV. Individuals living in any of the other 50 states may be charge $14.99 for state returns.
H&R Block Free File Edition
Backed by a team of trusted professionals, the H&R Block Free File Edition is everything basic file preparation software should be-minus all the extras. It has one of the most advanced calculation systems for the most up-to-date computations and free in-person audit support. It has additional resources available for those last minute questions. Where it lacks features is in its ability to import data from previous year's W-2's or 1099's from the get go. Instead, you'll have to answer a host of questions to basically accomplish the same thing.
Do You Qualify?
The free edition is available to individuals in AZ, DC, DE, GA, AR, IA, IN, ID, KY, MI, MO, MN, MS, ND, NC, OK, PA, OR, RI, VA, SC, VT, and WV. Individuals living in any of the other 50 states may be charge $14.99 for state returns.
FreeTaxUSA Free Federal Tax Return
If you're between 17 and 75, your average gross income is $58,000 or less and live in anyone of the fifty states with the exception of FL, NH, AK, NV, TN, SD, TX, WA, and WY, then you're all set to get your free federal tax filing. FreeTaxUSA has a solid set of features including a 100 percent accuracy guarantee, refund direct deposit, account information roll-over, and an online backup of completed returns.
TaxACT Free File Edition
TaxACT free edition is for individuals between 18 and 57, who have an adjusted gross income of $52,000 (or less) and live in AZ, DC, DE, GA, AR, IA, IN, ID, KY, MI, MO, MN, MS, ND, NC, OK, PA, OR, RI, VA, SC, VT, and WV. Individuals living in any one of the other 50 states may be charged $14.99 for state returns. Some of its outstanding features include a calculation feature to adjust withholdings, a quick entry and investment tool, plus an easy navigation interface.
If you don't qualify for any of the aforementioned free editions, you may want to consider the other tax software programs mentioned in our comprehensive review.