4 Ways to Get Your Taxes Done Free


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Most Americans are eligible for free tax preparation and don't know it. Before you hand your hard-earned money to a tax preparer, read this.

Tax season is finally here – the IRS began accepting returns on Jan. 30. But before you rush to make an expensive appointment, check out cheaper options.

Estimates suggest Americans spend more than $100 billion a year on tax preparation. But according to the IRS,  70 percent of Americans are eligible for free professional tax preparation and filing software. If you wouldn’t pass up an easy deduction, why would you overpay to file?

In the video below, Money Talks News founder and CPA Stacy Johnson has one of the most popular tax hacks around – where to get taxes done free. Check it out, and then read on for more details.

As you saw in the video, there are different options depending on your age and income level – but practically everybody has some option cheaper than a tax pro…

2012 income below $51,000? Free in-person help

Check out the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA. They offer free preparation from trained volunteers, complete with information on tax credits you might qualify for. Most include free electronic filing as well.

There are thousands of locations across the country in schools, libraries, malls, and community centers. You can look up free tax prep locations by ZIP code – there were five within as many miles in my area, and only one required appointments. You can also call 1-800-906-9887 to find a location.

Although many take walk-ins – providing they show up with all their paperwork – it’s probably a good idea to make an appointment just in case. The closer to Tax Day (April 15) we get, the more hectic things will be.

Free in-person help for people 60-plus

If you’re over 60 years old, and have low to mid-income, you’re eligible for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program. These preparers provided through the AARP have special knowledge of tax issues related to retirement and pension plans.

You don’t have to be an AARP member to qualify – just use their website and find an AARP Tax Aide near you, or call 1-888-227-7669.

When I did a check for locations near me, I found three within 15 miles of my home.

Free online prep and filing for incomes $57,000 or less

If you’re too young or make too much, you’re not out of luck. Make $57,000 or less and you can use IRS Free File tax software. Answer a few basic questions and the site will help you pick one of several free tax preparation options.

While these sites will help you prepare and file free, there’s often a fee for filing a state return, amending your federal return, or pulling up a previous year’s return. Fees vary, but often run between $10 and $40 for each of these snags. So shop around, do things right the first time, and keep both digital and hard copies when you file.

Free online filing and tax help for everybody else

There are two components to the IRS free file system – the preparation help is only for those with gross incomes at or below $57,000. But the online filing part is free for everyone. So if you’re ready to fill out your own forms, use the IRS’s Free File Fillable Forms instead of mailing in a pen-and-paper version.

While using the Fillable Forms doesn’t provide the step-by-step guidance of software or the personal touch of human volunteers, you’re still not out in the cold. If you get stumped you can always get free help from the IRS by visiting a local office or calling them at 1-800-829-1040.

Another option is hitting IRS.gov. They have every tax publication online and a searchable tax FAQ. Not the simplest thing to navigate, perhaps, but you can’t beat the price.

Finally, there’s us! We’ll be continuing our series of tax hacks over the next few weeks, so look for a lot more tips and tricks to save you time, money, and the risk of an audit.  On Wednesday, we’ll talk about how to find the best tax pro.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 50 Ways to Make a Fast $50

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,005 more deals!