Looking for a way to file taxes online for free? You’ve come to the right place. First, I was a tax accountant, so I love easy-to-use tax software. Then, I became a financial coach, so I love saving money! There are countless ways to file taxes online, so I polled my friends (many of which are tax accountants themselves) to get the scoop on the BEST options out there. 🙌
Do-It-Yourself: File taxes online for free
For More COMPLEX Returns (e.g. if you buy/sell stock and have many sales to report)
My friend Steve who works in Private Equity buys and sells stocks for his personal investments, so he loves how Turbo Tax can link to his bank and investment accounts and do most of the work for him. If you have a more complex return but still want to prepare it yourself, this may be a good option for you. It’s definitely pricier compared to more basic options (TaxSlayer), but still perhaps cheaper than having a professional prepare your return (options for professionals below)
For A BASIC Return with fewer tools (less expensive than Turbo Tax)
When I worked for a Big 4 Accounting firm, I got to work with my friend Nate, who is awesome — an accountant’s accountant. I put a lot of stock in his recommendations and he has used TaxSlayer for years. He said, “It’s super user-friendly for the basic return,” but cautions that it may not be dynamic enough for more serious issues (e.g. carryover losses). If you have a basic return and want to file taxes online for free, it’s great.
What’s unique about TaxSlayer?
Many services include a free FEDERAL return and charge you for the STATE return. TaxSlayer has a FREE FEDERAL return AND includes one FREE STATE return (any additional states have a relatively small fee compared to TurboTax).
Get Extra CashBack with Rakuten
FYI – If you end up paying for a more complicated form or extra states with TaxSlayer, be sure you’re signed up for extra cash-back through Rakuten.
Extra Coupon Code
Save an extra 35% on if you file before April 15h, 2021 and use this coupon code.
If you are reading this after April 15th, stay up-to-date on tax reminders and coupons by signing up for the Money Fit Challenge.
Lower-Income Individuals: Free Tax Prep
Next, if you’re lower-income (usually, earning ~$55,000 or less), you may qualify for free tax preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. I volunteered for this organization while I was in college. It’s a great program where volunteers are trained to look for credits specific to those with lower income, such as the Earned Income Credit. Lookup a nearby VITA site here.
Want Your Return Prepared by a Local Tax Professional?
Lastly, do none of these options seem reliable enough or simply feel like you’re in over your head? Are you looking to establish a relationship with a provider you can rely on for years to come? Use the IRS Website to find an authorized e-file provider near you. These providers range from small CPA groups (like my dad) to larger firms (with price tags to match). Or ask a friend in your area who they’d recommend.
That’s my breakdown of the best ways to file taxes online for free!
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