Filing taxes is one of those things that everyone has to do. It’s an American rite of passage. Not only does that sometimes result in people owing the government even more money, but there are also often fees that accountants or software programs charge just for filing on your behalf.
What you probably don’t know is that you may qualify to file your federal taxes for free. The IRS says that 70% of taxpayers are eligible to file for free. Whether those 100 million people actually do is another story. Read our guide to learn options for free tax filing.
File Paper IRS Forms
The first, and most obvious, way to file taxes for free is to print the IRS forms yourself, fill them out and mail them to the IRS. The only costs will be for postage. Assuming that your tax situation is simple, or that you’re well-versed in tax codes, this option is straightforward and easy since forms can be found on the IRS website.
The risk here is that you, the taxpayer, are responsible for any penalties due to mistakes or errors. Other options often come with an accuracy guarantee in which the software or person filing on your behalf will incur any costs related to incorrectly filed papers.
This method will also require more time since the forms have to be manually filled out, mailed, reviewed and then approved. Then, if you have a tax refund, allow even more time for that check to be processed, cut and mailed to you. Even then, your bank may have an additional waiting period for the funds to appear in your account.
Free File Fillable Forms
For people comfortable enough with tax law to do their own taxes but that don’t like paper forms, the IRS also offers fillable forms online that can be populated, and sent to the IRS electronically.
However, this is only for federal taxes so you’ll have to find another solution for your state taxes but there’s no income restriction on who can take advantage of this method.
Free File Alliance
Through a partnership with the IRS called the “Free File Alliance,” software providers that assist taxpayers with filing federal taxes, like TaxSlayer, can offer to file for free as long as their adjusted gross income (AGI) is below $72,000.
All of these programs offer free e-filing for taxes to active military members with an AGI under $72,000. While the “Free File Alliance” pertains specifically to federal taxes, there are some programs that also allow free filing for certain state taxes, as well: AR, AZ, DC, GA, IA, ID, IN, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NY, OR, RI, SC, VA, VT, WV.
As a member of the Free File Alliance, TaxSlayer has an intuitive program that walks you through your taxes by asking questions and the system populates and submits your forms on your behalf. The system is designed to guide you through your taxes in a way that not only fills and submits all the necessary forms but also keeps an eye out for any additional deductions or tax breaks that you may qualify for.
TaxSlayer is the best way to leverage e-filing taxes for free because it’s convenient, guarantees accuracy and will pay any penalties due to mistakes, keeps an electronic history of all past year filings in the program and also processes more quickly, getting you your return that much faster.
So if your AGI was less than $72,000, don’t spend any more than you have to when filing your 2020 taxes. Prepare to e-file your taxes with TaxSlayer today.
The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2020 (taxes filed 2021).