Free Tax Filing

By Kaye A. Thomas
Current as of January 31, 2016

Here’s our review of the advantages and disadvantages of different alternatives for free tax filing.

It’s bad enough we have to pay taxes, and worse still that we have to go through the brain damage of preparing an income tax return. Should be also have to pay for the privilege?

Depending on your situation, it may make sense to hire a professional preparer, or fork over for fancy software to help you through the task. Yet there are ways to prepare and file your return online free of charge.

Free File

As in the past, the IRS offers a Free File program through its website. It’s woefully deficient in many ways, the product of an ugly political compromise that prevents the IRS from offering a convenient, easy, free way to file online. Still, if you happen to meet its criteria this may be a good choice.

details: 2016 IRS Free File

Free Fillable Forms

While not likely to be a good choice for many people, the IRS also provides access to a bare bones software offering called Free Fillable Forms.

details: Free Fillable Forms

Free Filing from Tax Software Providers

The IRS says free filing is available only through their website, but that’s not true. You can go directly to the website of the major providers and obtain free filing, perhaps even if you don’t qualify for the IRS Free File program. The offerings aren’t the same as the Free File offerings, however. You may pay more for a state return, for example.

details: 2016 Free Filing from Tax Software Providers

Disclaimer

Fairmark.com currently has no promotional relationship with any tax software provider. Any ads for such software or services appearing here are placed by an ad agency over which we have no control.