It’s that time of the year that all of us dread—tax time! The IRS is trying to make things a little easier for taxpayers this year with its Free File program. The IRS has entered into a partnership with 15 private sector tax software companies called the Free File Alliance. Not everyone qualifies for the program. Each company has its own eligibility criteria, so check out the best company for your situation at http://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/jsp/index.jsp. Here are some important things to know about this program.
- Only taxpayers with a 2011 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $57,000 or under are eligible.
- Other eligibility criteria may include your age, state, eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and military status.
- Remember, this is only for federal tax returns. Some companies charge a fee for state tax returns and some may not support a particular tax form you need to file. To see what forms are used in the Free File Program, go to http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=202447,00.html.
- Once you have selected a tax software company in the Free File Alliance, you begin entering in your tax information, and the software prepares your federal tax return and e-files it for free.
- MOST IMPORTANT, TO QUALIFY FOR YOUR TAXES TO BE PREPARED FOR FREE, YOU MUST BEGIN YOUR FREE FILE RETURN ON THE IRS WEBSITE at http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=118986,00.html?portlet=104. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR COMPANY’S WEBSITE OR YOU MAY BE CHARGED.
If your AGI is over $57,000, you are eligible to use the Free File Fillable Forms, but you have to prepare your own tax return. This option does not offer state tax returns and performs only basic calculations.
When tax season comes, tax scams are sure to follow. Check out this article about a current scam on our BBB Council’s Consumer Education Blog Fake Email: ‘Tax Information Needed within 30 days’.
Is your AGI over $57,000 and you need forms that are not commonly used? You may need to hire a professional tax preparation service. You may research tax professionals through your BBB at www.evansville.bbb.org and see Tips on Finding a Tax Preparer in our News Center.
Don’t have a computer? Don’t worry; you can still get help with your taxes. Next Wednesday, we’ll tell you how.