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Looking to Save Some $$$ This Tax Season? Consider These Free Online Tax Filing Software Programs
Professional tax filing services can be a huge help when you need to file your taxes. They can help you file quickly and check to see all the deductions and credits you qualify for. However, some tax services can be expensive, and not everyone can afford them.
The good news is there are several free online tax filing software options that can help you file your federal income tax return quickly and efficiently. There are several major tax filing software companies that provide completely free online tax filing services to qualifying individuals. While the majority of these software programs only assist those filing simple returns, others may be prepared to offer free filing services on more complex tax filings.
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Do I Need to File Taxes?
Whether or not you need to file a tax return depends on several factors, including your income, age, and filing status. Generally, you may not need to file a federal income tax return if you meet all of the following requirements:
- You are under 65 years old
- You have a ‘single’ tax filing status
- You earned less than the standard deduction for a single tax filing status (For the 2021 tax year, the standard deduction is $12,550)
- You are not required to file federal taxes due to special circumstances, such as if you received unemployment benefits
However, if you are not required to file a tax return, you may benefit from checking to see if you qualify for a refund, as the IRS does not automatically provide them. Additionally, you may need to file a state income tax return, even if you are not required to file a federal one.
You usually don’t need to file a state tax return if your state does not impose income tax. These states are:
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
4 Free Online Tax Filing Software You May Qualify For
Are you searching for free online tax filing software options? Here are four that you may qualify for.
1. Credit Karma’s Cash App Taxes
Many tax filers likely wouldn’t associate Credit Karma with free online tax preparation, but it’s true. Credit Karma now provides free online tax filing software through its mobile app, Cash App Taxes.
One benefit of Cash App Taxes is that it is completely free to use. While that may seem strange, many “free” filing software charges an additional fee to file for state returns or if you qualify for certain deductions and credits. With Cash App Taxes, there are no such restrictions, and you can file your federal and state returns free of charge.
Credit Karma’s Cash App Taxes has several advantages, including the following:
- Millions of returns filed
- High customer ratings
- No hidden fees or restrictions, regardless of your filing status, deductions, credits, and state residency
- Tax calculator to estimate your refund
- Receive your refund on the app and get your return up to two days sooner
- Cash App Taxes double-checks the information you provide to ensure your filing is complete and accurate
- Your maximum refund amount is guaranteed, so you’ll get a $100 reimbursement if you have to amend your tax return with another tax preparation service
2. TaxSlayer Simply Free
TaxSlayer is a major tax filing software company that has both paid and free versions of its service. For simple tax filers, TaxSlayer Simply Free is generally the most popular choice.
Not only can you file your federal income tax return on this free tax filing software, but TaxSlayer Simply Free also lets you file your state return without an additional fee.
Unfortunately, you need to qualify to use the service based on your tax situation. TaxSlayer Simply Free is only available to filers who have very simple tax returns. You may qualify for this free online tax filing software if you meet the following guidelines:
- You have simple income documents, such as W-2s
- You received less than $100,000 in taxable income
- You do not claim any dependents
- Your tax filing status is either single or married filing jointly
Additionally, TaxSlayer Simply Free lets you claim certain deductions and credits that some other free filing software doesn’t, including standard deductions, education credits, and student loan interest deductions.
However, there are several common tax situations that are not covered under TaxSlayer Simply Free, including:
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- Schedule A filings
- Schedule C filings
3. H&R Block Free Online
H&R Block is a long-standing tax preparation service, and a popular choice among tax filers. While it has several paid packages and services, H&R Block also provides a free tax filing option for filers who have simple tax situations.
With H&R Block’s free filing service, you can file your federal and state income tax returns without additional costs. Additionally, the software supports many of the most common tax forms, including the Earned Income Credit, 1040, and 1098-T.
You may be able to use the H&R Block free online tax filing software if you have any of the following tax situations:
- Social Security income
- Unemployment income
- You need to claim children as dependents
- You need to deduct student loan interest
Some of the tax situations that are not eligible for the free H&R Block service include individuals who have itemized deductions, Schedule C filers, and those who contribute to HSAs.
4. TurboTax Free Edition
TurboTax is another heavy hitter in the online tax filing industry. Now, the company provides a free edition for tax filers who have W-2s or need to file simple federal and state returns.
One of the great things about TurboTax Free Edition is that it supports many of the most common schedules and forms, including:
- Unemployment income (Form 1099-G)
- Earned Income Credit (Schedule EIC)
- Interest income (Form 1099-INT)
- Payment vouchers (Form 1040-V)
- US Individual Tax Return (Form 1040)
While many of the most common tax situations and forms are eligible for TurboTax’s free service, more complicated forms, including Schedule C for self-employment, are not. Additionally, you cannot file schedule D or certain education forms, including 1098-E.
TurboTax Free Edition guarantees you’ll receive your maximum refund. If IRS penalties arise because of miscalculations, TurboTax will pay the penalty and any interest that comes with it.