People either love them or hate em!
But even if you are receiving a refund, one thing we can all agree on is that everybody dreads filing their income taxes.
Do I have all my documents?
Which form/s should I use?
Wait, did I pay for this last year?
Am I missing anything else?
Thankfully, gone are the days when you had to make an appointment, gather your documents, fill out paper forms, sign them, attach your documents, and mail them out.
Everybody does electronic filing these days and there are a lot of programs that are easy to use and guide you through the whole process.
Did I mention most of these programs are FREE?!
Most of these services are simple to use and let you file your taxes from any devices, including laptop, PC, tablet, or your smartphone, all from the convenience of your home.
You don’t need to mail anything, the documents are entered or scanned with your phones camera and the filing is done electronically.
The three main companies that offer free tax filing are well known and have been around for years.
I have personally used all 3 and will share my experience and opinion about all of them.
Now, not everybody qualifies for free tax filing. There are some requirements and only certain forms can be filed for free. Fortunately a lot of people DO qualify.
Free tax filing is offered for both Federal and State income taxes using forms 1040ez and 1040a.
These forms have very similar requirements. Below is a brief summary:
- Younger than 65
- Made less than $100k
- Have no dependents
- Not a home or property owner
- Not a business owner
- No major medical expenses
- No itemized deductions
The 1040A lets you make more adjustments such as:
- Child credits
- Student loan interests
According to Turbo Tax, over 60 million people are eligible for filing their taxes with a 1040EZ or 1040A forms in the US.
Turbo Tax is the biggest and most know online tax preparation service out there. Its parent company, Intuit, is a huge multi-billion corporation that makes other finance products that almost every company/organization out there uses.
This is was the first online tax filing service I used. It’s the one I still use every year.
They have a really good app for filing your taxes on your smartphone and offers multiple device filing so you can pick up on your laptop or PC when you are tired of typing on your phone.
They even have another app called Taxcaster which is basically just a calculator for giving you’re a rough estimate of your refund/taxes due without having to fill out all your info.
They offer many additional services and have live support on standby in case you get stuck with any step of the process.
This online service also has a companion app to file your taxes. While not as polished as Turbo Tax’s app, it’s still pretty straightforward and fully functional.
They have actually been in business longer than Turbo Tax and in my experience, some of their paid services are cheaper than their competitors.
I have only filed my taxes with them one year and the main reason was because I was out of a job and wanted to file my taxes for the previous year in the cheapest way possible. They had the best price.
Everybody knows H&R block by their green-esque store that pop up every year after the holidays.
With 12,000 locations worldwide, they are the largest tax preparation company based on locations by far.
I don’t have any experience with their online service as the only time I used them was as a walk in customer to one of their physical locations.
The process was pretty easy but it took longer to do my taxes than it does to file them yourself.
I also found out that I would have received a couple hundred dollars more if I had gone with a different service 🙁
So which one should you use
It all really depends on what you need and matters most.
For speed and convenience, Turbo Tax is the way to go. If you end up needing to file your taxes using a different form (and paying), Tax Act will be cheaper. If you need face to face person support, H&R Block surely has a location close to you.
Either way, you can’t go wrong with any of the choices mentioned below. They are all highly rated, reputable, and are not going anywhere any time soon.
Do you file your taxes for free?
If you have any service or recommendations you’d like to make, we’d love to hear them in the comments.
Great article and really helpful for freelancers like me. Paying taxes are hassle and stressful luckily there are online tools to help us calculate our taxes and pay them online. Its awesome knowing these things.
I agree. Free tools are always welcomed 🙂