How to do your federal taxes for free
by Brandpoint (ARA) Sponsored Content
Jan 28, 2013 | 19449 views | 0 0 comments | 315 315 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Going to college; getting your first job; moving into your own place. To these rites of passage, add one more: doing your own taxes. And, it doesn’t have to be scary. There is actually a simple way to do your taxes that can help save you time and money.

Free File — available at — lets you choose brand-name tax software that does the hard work for you, all for free. The IRS has a partnership with the Free File Alliance, a coalition of leading tax software companies. About 3 million people use it every year. There is also a software option that is available in Spanish.

Free File facts:

– There is a Free File option for every taxpayer.

– Free File’s brand-name tax software is available to those who made $57,000 or less in 2012.

– Free File’s online fillable forms are the electronic alternative to IRS paper forms and have no income limit for eligibility.

Three steps to getting started:

Step 1: Gather your tax materials

Collect the tax materials needed to do your taxes and log on to Free File through the IRS website: Here’s some of what you need:

– A copy of last year’s tax return

– Valid Social Security numbers for yourself, spouse and children

– All income statements, i.e. W-2 forms, from all employers

– Interest/dividend statements, i.e. 1099 forms

– Form 1099-G showing any state refunds

– Unemployment compensation amount

Step 2: Choose an option

File your taxes using Free File’s brand-name tax software or online fillable forms. The “Help Me Choose A Company” option helps you pick the tax software that fits your needs. The software then helps guide you through the tax process. Fillable forms are electronic and perform basic math calculations, and are designed for people who are comfortable preparing their own paper tax returns.

Step 3: Prepare and e-file your return

E-file your return for free. No matter what option you choose, IRS and software providers use the most current technology to ensure tax information is encrypted, so it’s safe and secure when it’s transmitted.

Use e-file and direct deposit:

E-filing your return and selecting direct deposit are still the fastest way to get your refund. There’s even an IRS smart phone application, IRS2Go, that you can use to find out the status of your refund. You can also track your return with the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS website.

What if you can’t meet the April 15, 2013, filing deadline?

You can use either Free File software or online fillable forms to file an extension. Use Free File to complete and submit Form 4868. And then, return to Free File by October 15, 2013, to file your return.

The Free File software — designed to provide a fast, safe and free filing option — is available online 24/7, giving you the freedom to choose when and how you do your taxes.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.