It is a good practice to ask yourself “what’s the catch?” whenever you hear that something is free and this time of the year that phrase is paired with filing taxes. It is actually true that you can file your taxes for free but certain conditions must be met. They typically have to do with a level of complexity of your tax return and annual income. Nevertheless there are many taxpayers who will qualify for this service. Overall, over 40 million taxpayers used this option in the last 10 years.
What to expect from a freefile tax software
Each tax preparation software establishes guidelines which determine who can file for free. They all differ and may change from one year to another. Typically first-time taxpayers or students may qualify for the free service or individuals with very uncomplicated tax situations.
Once you qualify you gain access to the same platform a particular company is offering. The two most popular are TurboTax FreeFile and H&R Block Free Edition but there are more. Among others that you might consider are TaxACT Free Federal, TaxSlayer Free Edition, or FreeTaxUSA Free Edition. Keep in mind that most of these offering are for federal tax returns and you may still have to pay for filing your state taxes, if applicable.
TurboTax and H&R Block are industry leaders in providing uncomplicated user interface and quality tax preparation guaranteeing maximum refund. Both products offer help during the entire process either by chat with representatives, built-in help with questions and answers to common questions, or access to community of its users. In my opinion simplicity of navigating the sites is one of the main reasons you will feel comfortable going though the tax returns on your own.
TurboTax Free Edition offers the following benefits:
- Save time by transferring information from taxes you filed the year before or by importing W2 form(s); once finished with federal returns your information is populated into state tax forms.
- Automatically fills out the required forms – you are asked a series of questions and based on the answers the software determines which forms to use.
- Print and file your taxes electronically.
- Guarantee accuracy and audit support.
- Chat with TurboTax experts to resolve any doubts you have during the filing process.
- Receive a 5% bonus if you decide to spend your refund on Amazon.com gift card.
H&R Block Free Edition offers the following benefits:
- 100% accuracy of your tax return calculations.
- Audit support with in-person representation.
- Import of your W2 or 1099 forms or previous year data from other tax software.
- Maximum refund guarantee.
- Print filed returns and file electronically.
- Unlimited tax advice from tax experts through real-time chat.
- Access the previously filed taxes for up to 3 years.