It’s an acceptable fact that no one enjoys paying taxes. It’s not just complicated but can also be expensive. Tax professionals don’t come cheap and unless you know how to do proper tax filing, you may have to concede to the idea of hiring their service. And if you decide not to file your taxes, the consequences can be extreme. Failing to meet this patriotic obligation may mean paying a fine, facing prison sentencing or losing your property.
Every financial year, you are expected to file your taxes on time. As already mentioned, it can be complicated and costly. So, seeking help from a tax professional is always a good idea. What if you can’t afford the service? Well, you don’t have to worry as some agencies and firms can do your taxes for free. Here are our top 10 recommendations:
1. Free File Alliance
Free File Alliance is a USA-based listing service that links you to several tax filing agencies like TaxSlayer, FileYourTaxes.com, 1040.com, and Turbo Tax. To be eligible for the free tax filing program, you should meet the following basic requirements:
- Not older than 70 years. Some partners like H&R Block and FreeTaxUSA, however, have lower age restrictions.
- Have an adjustable gross income (AGI) that doesn’t exceed $66,000. A partner like 1040.com has a $60,000 AGI limit.
- Be a US citizen. However, a partner like Free1040TaxReturn has restrictions on certain states. The states are mentioned below, under Free1040TaxReturn.
VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) is a community-based program that helps taxpayers to file federal and state taxes. Some of the people who are eligible for VITA include:
- Taxpayers with an AGI that doesn’t exceed $54,000.
- Individuals with a disability
- Individuals who are not well conversant with the English language
The program features volunteers from the local communities. So, you are likely to find a familiar face that will help you do your taxes.
Like VITA, TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) is a community-based free tax filing assistance program. It’s made of volunteers who come from the local neighborhood. The only major requirement for eligibility is at least 60 years. You can check for TCE details in your local library. This will allow you to know where to go for tax filing assistance and what to bring.
4. H&R Block
For a long time, H&R Block has been offering paid tax preparation and filing services to the America community. Now, they have added a free package to their services. The free package is for free federal tax filing assistance and it applies to:
- Individuals with an AGI that doesn’t exceed $66,000
- Individuals who are not older than 51
- Individuals who are eligible for Earned Income Tax Credit
Ideally, the free package is for taxpayers with simple tax issues. It’s not for those with rental income or capital gains. It’s not suited for the self-employed.
Looking for free filing assistance for complicated federal taxes? FreeTaxUSA is worth considering. You just have to meet the basic requirements. They include:
- You shouldn’t be older than 61
- Your AGI shouldn’t exceed $35,000
- You should be a US citizen
For the age restriction, it applies to taxpayers who file via Free File Alliance. Free filers do not have age restrictions and neither do active military personnel.
6. Military OneSource
The military has its DOD-funded program called Military OneSource. It allows active military personnel to enjoy free tax filing assistance conveniently through the online platform. Military people are allowed to talk directly to a supportive team of tax consultants and can seek clarifications on the multistate filing, combat earnings, and military deployment. You can access this service through their website or the MilTax software.
7. Jackson Hewitt
Jackson Hewitt offers free filing assistance for both federal and state returns. Unlike most free tax filing services, Jackson Hewitt doesn’t have income restrictions. However, you may not find their free service helpful if your taxes include student loans and dependents. It’s also not ideal if you are self-employed. You’ll have to upgrade to a paid version to find extra filing help. The advantage is that they have their professionals on all major states to offer physical help.
Free1040TaxReturn currently offers free assistance service for federal tax filing. They also allow you to enjoy unlimited customer assistance for free. They, however, put restrictions on age and earnings. You are expected to be 70 years or younger and your AGI shouldn’t exceed $64,000. Additionally, you shouldn’t be a resident of Washington, Florida, Tennessee, Nevada or Texas. Tax filing in these states is a little complicated.
9. eSmart Tax
eSmart tax, a Liberty Tax online subsidiary, in an amazing option for free federal tax filing assistance. You are expected to meet the following requirements to be eligible:
- You shouldn’t be older than 53 years
- You should have an AGI that doesn’t exceed $66,000
In case you are an active military person, there are no age restrictions. Since it’s a Liberty Tax subsidiary, the service promises you free audit preparation and free access to supportive tax professionals.
10. Tax Act
Tax Act has a free edition that suits taxpayers with simple tax filing issues. To qualify for a free edition, you are expected to meet these requirements:
- You shouldn’t be older than 65
- Your AGI shouldn’t exceed $55,000 (for civilians) or $66,000 (for active military)
Though the free edition was once expansive, things have changed. What hasn’t changed is the provision of free assistance on state tax filing in addition to federal tax filing. They provide you with a Q&A guide that helps you do your taxes easy. You can enjoy free access to customer desk vial live chat and phone call.
Paying your taxes doesn’t have to be expensive. The existence of free tax filing firms and programs means you should take advantage of them. This saves you time, energy, and cash. Besides, the free services are offered by competent tax professionals who understand the basics of responsible tax filing. For more complicated tax cases, it is better to seek an expert than attempt to do your taxes alone. Call the pros at Tax Crisis Institute to handle your tax case!