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How to e-File taxes online for free

 

How to e-File taxes online for free

Roxanna Guinan
by Roxanna Guinan, Contributor

Gone are the days when you had to sit down and dig through a shoebox full of receipts that you had accumulated over an entire year just to get organized enough to drive to your accountant’s office so that he or she could prepare your income taxes. In the days before you could e-file taxes online for free, a simple tax return could end up costing a few hundred dollars.

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Nowadays, taxpayers who previously were either at the mercy of their accountant’s billable hours or who painstakingly prepared their own taxes with pencil and paper have another option. An abundance of websites and resources have cropped up to let taxpayers e-file taxes online for free.

To e-file your taxes online for free, you can use a program called Free File, by going to the IRS website and clicking on the link to one of the tax software company websites advertised. 

Once you have reached the “Free File Home – Your link to Free Online Filing” page, you will find helpful information to assist you with filing your federal return online.  Click the “Start Now” button to review the list of tax preparation companies and select one that best suits your needs. Once you select a company link from the list, you will be notified you are leaving the IRS website and you will be taken directly to that company's site to begin preparation of your federal income tax return.  Remember, to e-file taxes online for free you must access the company through the IRS website to use Free File and avoid incurring fees.

As you input the required data, most e-file software programs display a progress bar that enables you to track what you have completed and what is still remaining.  After the tax forms are completed, you’ll have a chance to review and edit any of the information you have provided before you press the magic button and your tax return is transmitted to the IRS. If you are expecting an income tax refund when you e-file taxes online for free, you can expedite your payment by entering your bank’s routing number and your account number and have the refund direct deposited into your checking or savings account at your financial institution. 

On the other hand, if you owe Uncle Sam, electronic payment options are convenient, safe and secure methods for paying taxes. You can authorize an electronic funds withdrawal, use a credit card or enroll in the U.S. Treasury's Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).