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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WFMW - Free (or Cheaper) Federal Taxes E-File

For years, I did our taxes.  At one point, we were both working outside the home, plus I was selling tupperware which meant self employment tax paperwork.  It was too much.  So we turned to a tax accountant for our taxes.  Norma was wonderful!  And we continued using her after I quit working and our daughter was born.  And then I started realizing how much we were paying her (not that she charges mre than others).  And I have a degree in Economics!  Why was I paying someone to do something that I should be able to do myself?  Because if I have to buy $70 software, plus an additional $30 to file state taxes, I might as well spend a little more for Norma to do it all.

Then I discovered the IRS's free e-file program.  We used this for several years and it's wonderful!  You must go through the IRS's website and follow the link to the software you want to use.  If you make less than the maximum specified income, your federal e-file and use of software is FREE!  You only pay for state e-file (which was cheaper than the charge the software at the store said it would be).

For 2009, we made more than the free e-file allowed.  So I started checking out software at the store and doing the taxes online.

Software at Sam's Club (seemed cheaper than other stores) was $50 + $30 to file my state taxes.  Going directly to the H&R Block website and also to TurboTax, I didn't like their prices either and wasn't sure which version to use - Free, Basic ($15), Standard ($30), Deluxe, etc.

So even though I thought our income was going to be higher than the free e-file program allowed, I tried it (using the H&R Block link who I've chosen for the last several years).  I input all our information and at the very end, it said we made too much AGI to qualify to file our federal for free BUT it told me I only needed to buy the Basic Federal online taxes for $15.  State e-file was $30.  I still saved significant money over buying the software at the store.  The price was not cheaper than if I had just bought from the website - BUT I probably would have purchased the deluxe instead of the Basic.  Not sure how it would have worked if I selected Deluxe and then only really used the features of Basic.  But I think I saved money :)

Finally, a new feature I saw this year but didn't try - the IRS has free forms that you can fill in online and submit electronically for FREE, regardless of your income.  It is not software.  It does not do the calculations for you nor does it hunt for deductions.  But if you're comfortable with the paper forms - this is a way to do them electronically and e-file, thus getting your return faster, for FREE.

Overall, if you make less than $57,000 AGI in 2009, the Federal Free E-file program is the way to go!

And one last tip for you, use this link to find out when you will get your refund based on when you e-file.  I had hunted and hunted for this before we filed and couldn't find it.  So of course, H&R Block provided it after I filed - and it told me that if I had filed 24 hours earlier, I would have received my refund a week earlier.

These tax resources definitely Work for Me and I hope they work for you.  For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, check out We are THAT Family today!

1 comment:

Randy and Joycelyn said...

If you are military, you can file your taxes FREE online through the website www.militaryonesource.com. They partnered up with H&R Block TaxCut. You have to log in to MOS's website, click on the tax link and then log in to H&R Block's tax program. They have a 1-800 number to call to talk to a tax consultant if you have any questions, but the program is very user-friendly. I've been using them for the last 4 years. They even save your tax files for up to 3 years.