Tax Hacks 2016: Avoid These 10 Common Filing Mistakes

Everybody makes mistakes, but this isn't the time to make them. Go over this list to make sure your return is error-free and your refund finds you faster.

Mistake No. 1: Paying for tax preparation when you could get it free

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Would you pay a couple hundred bucks for something you can get for free? Millions of Americans do it every year.

Depending on your income level, you may qualify for any number of free services.

  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance: Sponsored by the IRS, VITA offers free tax preparation by trained volunteers. You may be eligible for the VITA program if your income is $54,000 or less, you have a disability, are elderly or have limited English-speaking ability.
  • Tax Counseling for the Elderly: Also sponsored by the IRS, the TCE program is intended for people age 60 and older.
  • Free File: If your income is less than $62,000, you can use an online software program to prepare and file your federal income tax return for free.
  • Free online filing: Many large software providers offer free electronic online filing for simple returns, often including state returns.

For a list of software providers, head to the Free File website. If you’d rather have face-to-face assistance, you can find a list of VITA and TCE sites on this IRS webpage. For free online filing, our favorite is TaxAct.

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