You only have a few weeks left to file your taxes. If it's money that's holding you back, know that there are a number of free income tax preparation and filing options out there, both for federal and state taxes. According to the IRS, approximately 70 percent of taxpayers are eligible to file for free.
If you haven't done your own taxes before, it can be an intimidating process with several complicated tax laws to know, like which deductions or tax credits you're allowed to take. For most people, however, filing taxes is relatively simple, and can be done using a 1040EZ. A good number of people can even file using popular tax preparation software programs without even having to pay.
How to get free federal filing
The federal government has a program called Free File, which allows eligible taxpayers to file their federal taxes for free using companies the government has partnered with. The IRS offers a Free File option for those earning under $60,000 annually and another for those earning over $60,000 annually. According to the IRS, "Free File is the IRS' free tax preparation service for almost everyone."
- Get together your tax information, like W-2s, 1099s, etc.
- Determine your adjusted gross income for the tax year.
- Figure out which IRS Free File option you qualify for.
- Go to the IRS's free file partners page and pick a company to file your federal taxes for free. Different companies might have different AGI requirements to file for free, so choose carefully.
That takes care of filing your federal taxes for free, but the real question is if you can file state taxes for free as well.
How to file your state tax return for free
While you can almost always file your federal taxes for free, many companies will charge you a fee to file your state taxes. There is a caveat, however.
If you go to your state's department of revenue website, you can often find that your state will have free filing options as well.
When trying to get free federal and state filing, make sure to follow the link on your state's website or it might not actually be free, and always verify the costs before submitting.
Filing your taxes can be a pain, but it doesn't have to be expensive. If you meet certain eligibility requirements for both federal and state taxes, you can file your taxes at no cost using one of the major tax software providers.
Just be sure to follow the instructions on the federal and state tax websites to save money on your tax filing this season.