The 6 Best Free Tax Software to File Your Tax Return This Year
Do you hate anything more than taxes? Maybe, it’s the money you have to pay to just file your taxes. There are plenty of options to file your federal return. However, finding services that will file state taxes without paying extra can be tough.
If you’re tired of paying to file your taxes, stop here. You’ll love these five free options for submitting your state and federal forms.
Something About Free Tax Software
First, and most important of all, remember that you get what you pay for. Tax software that’s free isn’t going to offer as many options as paid versions. You’ll also get less support, and in most cases, you won’t be able to file anything other than the simplest of returns. That’s just how it is.
Second, this list is current as of January 2019. Some companies change their offerings on a yearly basis, and if this list becomes outdated, we’ll try to make changes so that it’s current. But if you see a site that’s no longer offering free state returns, or has different requirements, that’s why.
Finally, remember that big-name companies like TurboTax and H&R Block have been doing this for decades and that their years of experience means they’re great at finding potential deductions and filing quickly. While using a lesser-known website doesn’t mean that you’ll miss out on things, if you want to make sure that everything about your return is perfect, you may want to go with a big name (which often means you’ll need to pay).
With that out of the way, let’s get onto the free tax software!
1. DIY Tax
DIY Tax offers completely free federal and state tax returns with no catch. Many forms can be used (including the critical part of 1099-MISC for contractors and freelancers), making this a more versatile option than many others out there.
A Premium option is available, though there’s no indication anywhere on the website of what’s include; this makes it difficult to say whether or not that might be useful. Even so, this is one of the simplest, most straightforward, and totally free tax-filing options.
With one of the biggest names in tax preparation, you can be confident that TurboTax will give you the information and tools you need to get your returns filed quickly. And with the Federal Free Edition, you can file both your federal and state taxes electronically without paying a dime.
You’ll need to be doing a relatively simple return, using forms 1040EZ or 1040A. If you’re doing anything more complicated than that, like taxes for the self-employed, a paid service will be required. Regardless, filing your taxes with TurboTax is a relatively painless process as these things go!
With the free version of H&R Block’s online tax filing system, you can file your federal and state taxes for absolutely nothing. This plan is ideally suited for renters, those with young families, or individuals living on retirement income.
The free package offers 45 forms required for filing, including those needed for the Earned Income Tax Credit, child care expenses and child tax credit, student loan interest, social security income, and more. Keep in mind, however, if you find yourself tracking your payments and receipts each year , this isn’t the plan for you.
The free edition of TaxAct provides for “simple federal filing” for those “with no dependents.” Available forms include the 1040A, 1040EZ, and a few other basics, though it is missing the 1099-MISC that many freelancers will need.
Despite this stipulation, TaxAct does offer free filing of both federal and state returns, though it does say “Pay when you file,” inviting speculation that there could be some hidden fees in some instances.
Also included with the free edition is tax support via email, so you can get answers to any questions you have from the TaxAct support team. And TaxAct’s price lock guarantee means that once you register, the price won’t change.
5. OnLine Taxes
You might pass over OnLine Taxes because of its uninspiring design. But don’t discount it immediately. If your adjusted gross income is between $14,000 and $66,000, you’re eligible to file both your federal and state returns for free.
If you don’t qualify, filing your federal taxes is still free, but you’ll pay $9.95 for each state, which is a pretty great deal. OLT also provides free email support every day of the week during tax season, and they let you file amended returns for free if you submitted the first return with them. You can use a wide range of tax forms, including 1099-MISC and just about anything else you might need.
A program run by the United Way in conjunction with H&R Block, MyFreeTaxes will let you file both federal and state taxes for free if you make less than $66,000.
The site also helps you get organized by providing a tax preparation checklist as well as information on tax extensions, ITIN for immigrants, and credits/deductions. Because it’s a newcomer to the business, it doesn’t have as many reviews as other sites, but the fact that it’s powered by H&R Block should inspire confidence in the convenience and security of the service.
If You Don’t Quality for the Free Options
While many people will be able to use one of the free websites above, there will be some who can’t. For those people, there are a few other sites that you can check out.
FreeTaxUSA offers free federal filing and $12.95 per state return. You’ll find this is one of the lowest prices you’ll find anywhere. Meanwhile, eSmartTax lets you file federal returns for free, and charges $29.99 per state, which is still pretty reasonable.
See our article on why we prefer FreeTaxUSA over other tax software .
Don’t Pay for What You Can Get for Free
If you have a simple tax return, you should be able to get both federal and state filing for free. These five websites will help you do it. As long as you’ve followed the best strategies for claiming a tax return , it should not be a problem. So don’t pay for what you can get free!