You can file both federal and state taxes together for less than $20.
How to Prepare and File Taxes
You start your return by singing up for a free account on FreeTaxUSA.com. Once registered, you login and begin your return. Those of you that have used some of the best tax software apps like TurboTax may have a PDF copy of you previous filing. If so, you can use that file to import basic information like your SSN or address directly into the interview.
Otherwise, the interview will walk you through the steps of entering your personal information, income, deductions and other relevant information. The interface is a simple form driven one. Once you’ve completed a section, you will be prompted with a green checkmark.
Don’t worry about skipping anything, as the program will alert you to missing or incomplete data. Also, popups throughout the interview will answer certain specific questions most Americans have about certain tax topics.
Refunds and Deductions
FreeTaxUSA offers support for the majority of tax deductions and credits available to you. An entire section of the interview is dedicated to credits and deductions and the program will easily guide you through the process.
It’s important to note that there are a few limitations to this program. For example, if you’re an expat filing taxes, you won’t be able to use FreeTaxUSA as they don’t support foreign employment income filings. Nonresident alien returns are also not supported. If you employ anyone in your home, such as a nanny, you won’t be able to use this program.
If you’re getting a refund, you have the options of getting a check in the mail or having your refund direct deposited. Direct depositors get their refunds in 21 days or less on average. A paper check can be requested, but you may be waiting up to four weeks to receive it.
If you’re looking for a program with many fancy features, this isn’t going to work for you. FreeTaxUSA is a form-driven program that simply allows you to file taxes. The only significant feature is the ability to import data from tax returns saved in PDF format.
Then again, saving money is a huge feature for this program. Most services charge extra for the ability to file anything outside of a 1040EZ or 1040A. With a few rare exceptions, the majority of Americans can use this service to file their federal returns for free, saving anywhere from $10 to $100 each year.
FreeTaxUSA is a completely browser-driving program, meaning that no downloads are required. You can work on your taxes from your computer, you tablet or smartphone.
The site offers strong data encryption and data center protection. Their servers are monitored around the clock for your protection. In addition, their software meet or exceeds the standards required by the IRS.
When FreeTaxUSA says that filing your federal taxes is free, they mean it. For most tax situation, you can use FreeTaxUSA’s free service to file a return. Some programs require you to upgrade in order to file business or self-employment taxes, but not this company.
For those of you that need additional support, you can upgrade to the Deluxe package for just $6.99. With Deluxe, you get live chat and priority support for your return as well as Audit Assist that will help prepare you in the unlikely event you’re audited.
Note that they Audit Assist will only help you with an audit. They will not contact the IRS on your behalf. Also, it is only for federal returns.
Deluxe also allows you to file unlimited amended returns. Some companies require you pay an additional fee for amended returns.
Note that Deluxe is not a requirement to file your taxes. It is an added bonus.
State filings are not free and cost $12.95. That’s cheaper than most services.
Support for FreeTaxUSA is somewhat marginal compared to other services. If you’re a free user, your only have a couple of options. The website offers a searchable knowledge base, which can help with most basic questions. Afterwards, your only option is to send an email to customer support.
Users that upgrade to Deluxe receive additional support in the form of Live Chat. However, FreeTaxUSA does not offer any form of telephone support.
In the past, only those with simple tax returns could E-file for free. FreeTaxUSA has changed the dynamic of e-filing with their free service. If you’re looking to save money and get a larger refund, FreeTaxUSA is the only way to go. While state filings aren’t free, you can file both federal and state returns for less than the cost of going to the movies.