Roughly one in three Americans file their own taxes online, rather than use a professional tax preparer. If you're going to file electronically, here are a few ways to do it.
If you make less than $57,000 a year, you don't have to pay anyone to file your taxes electronically.
The IRS lists 15 firms which provide free online tools for filing federal taxes for free. The eligibility criteria varies, service-by-service, but none offer free efiling to a taxpayer with an Adjusted Gross Income of more than $57,000. Other factors include age, state, eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and military status.
Each of the major tax preparer companies — H&R Block, TurboTax, TaxSlayer and others — has an efiling service which will walk a user through a complete return.
Notably, some of these companies will charge for filing state taxes even though the federal return is free.
The Free File Alliance — a nonprofit coalition of tax software companies — also offers a set of free, electronically fillable forms that may be filed directly to the IRS.
You'll still need to select one of the tax software companies to submit the filing over the Internet. But if you would rather do the calculations yourself instead of relying on one of the preparers' online tools — and the preparers' storage of your filing — then this is an alternative.