Tax season is here, and it’s time to start thinking about filing your taxes. With so many options available on the internet, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. The good news is that there are several reliable websites out there that offer free tax filing services. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the top sites for filing your taxes online.
The Benefits of Filing Your Taxes Online
Before we dive into our top picks for free tax filing sites, let’s take a moment to consider the benefits of filing your taxes online:
- Convenience: With online tax software, you can file your taxes from anywhere with an internet connection – no need to visit an accountant’s office or post anything in the mail. For example, John, a freelance graphic designer, was able to file his taxes from his home office without having to schedule an appointment with an accountant.
- Affordability: Many tax-filing websites offer free services (even if you have complex returns). This can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars compared to hiring an accountant. According to the National Society of Accountants, the average cost for professional tax preparation is $273 for a standard federal tax return with a state return and no itemized deductions. By using a free tax filing service, you can save this amount.
- Accuracy: Tax software helps reduce human error and automate calculations ensuring accurate return filings. A study by the IRS found that the error rate for e-filed tax returns is less than 1%, compared to a 21% error rate for paper returns.
- Speedy Processing: By e-filing your return rather than mailing paper copies will result in faster processing times by IRS. The IRS states that nine out of ten taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days when they file online and choose direct deposit.
Top 3 Websites That Offer Free Tax Filing Services
TurboTax offers a completely free service designed specifically for those filers who have simple documents such as W2s and do not require itemization deductions. It’s user-friendly interface allows users create accounts; import data from previous years’ filings; generate required forms and schedules all by answering easy questions. Paid programs are also available depending on personal needs. According to PCMag, TurboTax is one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly tax software platforms on the market.
H&R Block has been providing professional accounting services since 1955. However now they offer an entirely web-based DIY model which enables taxpayers prepare basic returns without any charge. They provide step-by-step guidance and support for various deductions, credits, and more. A case study by the Journal of Accountancy found that H&R Block’s software was particularly helpful for taxpayers with complex returns, such as self-employed individuals or those with rental properties.
TaxAct is a platform that enables filers to do their taxes anytime online. A variety of options are available including Federal filing; State filing and both combined; free editions are also available although they may come with certain restrictions. According to a review by NerdWallet, TaxAct is a cost-effective option for taxpayers, offering a variety of features at a lower price point than some competitors.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filing Your Taxes
When filing your taxes, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that could delay your refund or result in a tax notice. Here are a few to watch out for:
- Filing late: Make sure to file your taxes by the deadline to avoid penalties and interest. The IRS typically starts accepting tax returns in late January and the deadline to file is usually April 15.
- Not reporting all income: You must report all income earned during the tax year, including freelance work, dividends, and interest. Failing to report income can result in penalties.
- Incorrectly claiming deductions or credits: Make sure you are eligible to claim any deductions or credits on your tax return. Claiming deductions or credits you are not eligible for can result in a tax notice or audit.
In summary, there’s no need to pay an accountant or risk making errors if your tax returns are relatively straightforward. With the right tax-filing website, you can quickly and affordably file your taxes in the comfort of your own home. This will save you time and money while ensuring accurate filings before IRS deadlines.
So go ahead! Choose one of these top sites for filing your taxes today!
Q: Is it really free to file taxes on these sites? A: Yes, the websites mentioned in this article offer free federal tax filing services, and most also offer free state tax filing depending on your eligibility criteria. Some may have added costs for advanced features or specific situations, but the basic service is generally free.
Q: Do I need any special software to use these websites? A: No, you do not need any special software or installation to use these websites. You can access them using a desktop computer or mobile device with an internet connection and web browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Microsoft Edge.
Q: Can I get help if I have questions while filing my taxes? A: Yes, all of the top tax-filing sites recommended in this article provide customer support options such as live chat and email support that you can use if needed during the process of preparing and submitting your tax returns.