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Free Tax Filing: Benefits, Drawbacks & Expert Opinion

    It’s that time of year again: tax season. Filing your income tax return can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time. To make navigating the process easier, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on free tax filing for your income taxes.

    I. Free Tax Filing: Introduction

    Before diving into the more complicated details of filing taxes, let’s take a look at the basics. The Federal Income Tax Return is an annual form that taxpayers use to report their income, expenses, and tax deductions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Depending on your income, filing your tax return may be mandatory or optional.

    II. Free Tax Filing: Gather Your Tax Documents

    It’s important to have all the necessary documents before getting started. Tax documents include W-2 and 1099 forms, statements from banks, and any other documents that report income. The IRS also provides Form 1040 and Form 1040-EZ, which are the most commonly used forms for filing taxes.

    If you’re missing any documents, you can contact your employer, bank, or other financial institutions to obtain them.

    free tax filing with an accountant helping a client using their laptop

    III. Free Tax Filing: Using Tax Preparation Software

    After you’ve finished finding your important tax documents, you might find tax preparation software useful to help you get organized. Speaking of software, here’s what Jack Trent, CPA, had to say on the matter:

    “Free filing software has an excellent place for taxpayers with only W-2 income.  Users just need to make sure they don’t have some hidden state tax filing fees for using their programs.  Some programs have a free federal tax module but if you need to add a state filing they slap you with some costs that suddenly make “free” expensive.  For business owners and more complex returns you may be well served by hiring a tax professional to help you guide in more complicated tax filings so you don’t miss deductions but and don’t falsely report expenses.”

    IV. Free Tax Filing: Completing Your Return

    Once you have the necessary documents and have selected the right software, you’re ready to start filling out your return. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you along the way:

    Step 1:

    Enter your personal information, such as your name, address, and Social Security number.

    Step 2:

    Enter your income information, including wages, salaries, tips, and other income.

    Step 3:

    Enter your allowable deductions and credits, such as student loan interest, medical expenses, and charitable donations.

    Step 4:

    Calculate your tax liability or refund.

    Step 5:

    Review your return for accuracy and sign it.

    You may have questions about filing your return. Common questions include: How do I file a joint return? How do I report capital gains or losses? What are the deadlines for filing taxes?

    V. Free Tax Filing: Submitting Your Return

    Once you’ve completed and signed your return, you’re ready to submit it to the IRS. Depending on the tax preparation software you use, you may be able to file your return electronically. This is the quickest and most accurate way to submit your return.

    When you file electronically, you’ll receive an acknowledgement from the IRS. This acknowledgement will include the date you filed, as well as your expected refund date.

    VI. Wrap Up

    Filing your income tax return doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. With the right preparation and guidance, you can easily complete your return and submit it to the IRS. Whether you choose to use tax preparation software or file manually, make sure to follow these steps for a successful filing.