The next time you do a Google search for free online tax software, your results may be a little more robust than they have been in the past.
Companies that offer free access to their tax software in partnership with the IRS no longer can intentionally exclude their Free File webpages from typical internet searches, per a recent agreement between those companies and the IRS.
The Free File program enables taxpayers who earn less than $69,000 to use commercial tax preparation and filing software — think TurboTax — for free.
The group of software companies that participate in the Free File program is often referred to as the Free File Alliance and formally known as Free File Inc. It includes the likes of:
The new agreement between these companies and the IRS comes on the heels of some unfavorable press for members of the Free File Alliance. According to a Business Insider report:
“In April 2019, an investigation by ProPublica found that Intuit and H&R Block were deliberately hiding their free filing services from Google and other search engines. ProPublica also reported in October that Intuit has spent decades lobbying against efforts to make it easier for Americans to file their taxes for free.”
Making tax season less painful
We all dread filing tax returns. But paying taxes is one of life’s inevitable, unpleasant chores. The best way to reduce the pain of tax season is to educate yourself about the ever-changing tax landscape.
Begin that process by reading “6 Ways Federal Income Taxes Will Be Different in 2020.”
Once you understand the new lay of the land, it’s time to get to work. The IRS will begin accepting individual tax returns for the 2019 tax year on Jan. 27, and this year’s deadline to file and pay taxes owed is April 15.
So, seize the initiative to finish your taxes early. Then, get on with the rest of the year.
What service do you use to file taxes? Let us know in comments below or on our Facebook page.