Filing taxes online can help taxpayers file taxes faster and without worrying about something getting lost in the mail. If you make under $60,000 you can file taxes online using online tax prep forms the IRS teams up with vendors to offer. If you make more than $60,000, there are other options via commercial vendors. According to the IRS, filing electronically will help you get your tax refund faster. There are also fewer mistakes made with electronic taxes, the IRS admits that many mistakes made during tax filing are created by the IRS itself moving information from a paper return into their electronic system.
Read: How Filing Paper Tax Returns Can Get You Audited
File Free Online
Anyone making less than $60,000 a year can head to the IRS website to file taxes online. There they can fill in a few questions the IRS asks about income so that it can give a list of vendors that fit the taxpayer’s profile. The IRS website has these caveats posted that everyone needs to be aware of before they can proceed with free filing:
- For a free Federal return, commercial tax software is only available through Free File at IRS.gov.
- Each company sets its own eligibility criteria, generally based on income, age, state residency, eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and military status.
- In order to be eligible for Free Filing, your adjusted gross income must be $60,000 or less.
- Once at the company’s website, review their information to ensure it meets your needs. For example, some offer free state tax returns, and some charge a fee.
The link to filing taxes online for free if making under $60,000 is here at the IRS. It’s best to go directly to the IRS website and then follow links to approved partners for safety and security. Anywhere the IRS sends a taxpayer for the free filing will be approved by the IRS, but just searching randomly online might send a user to a non IRS-approved place.
Money Nation has a detailed look at how to file taxes for free online here that covers everything you’ll need to know in detail:
Read: How to File Taxes For Free Online
Commercial Online Filing
Anyone making more than $60,000 a year will want to look at commercial online preparation. At the IRS website all someone needs to do is fill out a little information and the IRS will suggest a list of online tax preparation services. Anymore this is not software that you download to your computer: they are websites with forms set up to ask questions and upload scanned photos of the necessary tax documents. The tax preparation websites will use questions to spot deductions that may have been overlooked as well. Once the taxes are calculated, the taxpayer enters in their credit card info and pays for the services, which are often very affordable.
While the IRS will give a list of approved partners, the three biggest names in online tax prep are TaxACT, H&R Block and Intuit TurboTax. Each of the Big Three helps you prepare a wide variety of state taxes, in addition to federal. The prices start as low as $17.95 for just federal taxes, and increase as you add state taxes, as well as more and more complex forms. Each of the Big Three offers phone and chat support, though for taxpayers who are waiting until the very last minute access to support might by harder to get.
The Big Three tax prep services also offer desktop and laptop stand alone software, in case using software instead of an online connection and a browser isn’t a taxpayer’s preference. Each of the Big Three also feature mobile apps for taxpayers, but those are often limited to taxpayers using EZ forms. Complicated tax preparation will require a desktop or laptop.
Several of the bigger tax preparation services offer a tax refund bonus, or even give the tax refund on the spot. This can be a double-edged sword:
Read: How Not to Lose Money on Tax Return Gift Cards
No matter what service is used, it is important that taxpayers file a tax return. Not filing a return can result it serious penalties, up to 4.5% a month! Don’t have the money to pay taxes? You should still file:
Read: What Should I Do if I Can’t Pay My Taxes?