Free tax filing is available to 70% of US taxpayers. Here's how it works.
Mohd Hafiez Mohd Razali/EyeEm/Getty
- Tax Day 2020 is Wednesday, April 15.
- The IRS has a free tax filing portal listing companies where taxpayers who earned less than $69,000 in 2019 can file their federal return for free.
- You can file your taxes as soon as your employer(s) sends the forms you need, which should be on or before January 31.
- If you file electronically and request direct deposit for your refund, you should receive it within three weeks.
- Read more tax coverage.
Tax season 2020 begins just after the new year.
If you're an employee, your employer will send a W-2; if you're a freelancer, you may receive multiple 1099 forms. In some cases, you may have other statements, such as income earned from an interest-bearing savings account or interest paid on a loan, or even taxable bitcoin gains.
Free tax filing is available on the IRS website
Taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) below $69,000 are eligible to use the IRS' free tax filing portal, which will be open in mid-January 2020. According to the IRS, that's about 70% of US taxpayers, or around 100 million people.
The portal lists about a dozen different tax preparers, including H&R Block and TurboTax. These services help you prepare your tax return step by step and are typically easy to navigate. Some also offer free filing for state income tax returns, while others charge a fee.
You can still file for free if you made more than $69,000 in 2019, but to do so you'll need to use the Free File Fillable Forms, which are available online. The IRS recommends using those forms only if you have experience preparing tax returns on your own.
Even if you qualify to file your taxes for free, it may be worth it to hire a pro if your financial situation is complicated. A CPA can offer professional insight, find ways to save you money, and help with future tax planning strategies.
Once you're ready to file your taxes, the IRS recommends electronically filing and requesting direct deposit for your refund. You'll typically get your tax refund within three weeks, rather than the standard six weeks, and it's safer than getting a check in the mail.
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