1040s make me hot.
March 28, 2005 5:00 PM   Subscribe

e-file ... FREE-file. Yes, TurboTax too. via Tom Martino's radio show
posted by WolfDaddy (15 comments total)
Notes: this is for Federal returns only, all state income tax returns are still fee-based. Also you MUST access each tax service's website from the irs.gov links provided in the main link, otherwise, the return is still fee-based. You'll also probably have to register with the service in question, meaning you might be opening yourself up to spam or telemarketers. Read all privacy policies. If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be neat and wipe the seat. Other restrictions may apply. Offer void in the void.
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:04 PM on March 28, 2005

My wife did this and we have already gotten our income tax refunds. We have little choice, being Linux users, if we want an e-file method. But it is a nice, little-know way to do one's taxes.
posted by teece at 5:11 PM on March 28, 2005

fyi, this is done by these companies under a federal program for lower income families that would otherwise be unable to afford the service, e-file. Basically the companies are making it an easier access to file which lessens the IRS’s total paper return burden. You will see more and more of this in the future. The company set an objective goal each year with the IRS then makes plans to further it the following year. They will even make this program available for certain families through a “TAX Offices” if they don’t have Computers/Internet.
posted by thomcatspike at 5:37 PM on March 28, 2005

A related AskMe thread.

thomcatspike, it isn't just for low-income filers. As you note, the IRS set a goal of N% electronic filing. The companies that sign up get to determine their own target demographics for the free option -- some are for students, some are for seniors, and so forth. So you may need to check a few out to find a program that fits you.

There are some problems with electronic filing; alas, it's the method of choice for fraudsters, as they can get a rapid refund loan and disappear with the cash long before a human at the IRS looks at their return. This means that electronic returns in general are more likely to get scrutinized, which some taxpayers don't want. The IRS wants providers to specially flag their e-file returns. Intuit is participating but without participating in the "flagging" rule. Also, it isn't always free, meaning that sometimes there are gotchas.

Some states participate in free e-filing with Intuit's Turbotax.
posted by dhartung at 6:20 PM on March 28, 2005

That's nice, what about the rest of the world? Any free e-file services for any other countries (spec. Canada)?
posted by arcticwoman at 7:07 PM on March 28, 2005

Also be warned that you have to register with the provider from the IRS link. I had an account from last year which I did not use the e-file method... This year I used the same account (at TaxAct) and attempted to use the free e-file method and it wouldn't let me.

I'm really, really cheap but my wife is not, so I paid $8 to get $1000 back. (I screwed up the W-4's... whoops).
posted by ajpresto at 7:26 PM on March 28, 2005

you know, I knew if I waited long enough there would be a free way to file my taxes. As it was I paid $22 or so to get $800 back, still not bad.
posted by jessamyn at 7:52 PM on March 28, 2005

arcticwoman: the CRA has a list of tax-preparation companies that offer free tax return preps, usually for those whose income is under $20-25k. I used ufile.ca and finished mine in around 5 minutes.
posted by greatgefilte at 8:21 PM on March 28, 2005

greatgefilte: Thanks, looks great. You just saved me some money!
posted by arcticwoman at 8:35 PM on March 28, 2005

So much for being proactive. Had I procrastinated like every other single human being in the United States I could have filed my taxes for free. Instead I shelled out $40 a month ago to use TurboTax and I ended up owing $275. Thanks America!
posted by gagglezoomer at 9:14 PM on March 28, 2005

note that the free version of TT won't import last year's return.
posted by damehex at 11:08 PM on March 28, 2005

Same here, already bought TurboTax, already filed, already got my return. In the state of Pennsylvania, filing on-line is free and has been for years.
posted by fixedgear at 5:13 AM on March 29, 2005

I'm in the same boat as gagglezoomer and fixedgear. Finished return way ahead of time back in January. Didn't start hearing about this free stuff until it was far too late. Sigh.

I did not end up owing a boatload, though, luckily.
posted by Plutor at 5:46 AM on March 29, 2005

I hate American-centric FPPs. Y'all Americans realize many of us MeFites care as much about your tax returns as you care about ours?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:58 AM on March 29, 2005

I filed free already -- of course, I also made just over $1000, so there were a lot of free filing options...
posted by Amanda B at 4:48 PM on March 29, 2005

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