Tax season is already anxiety-inducing enough — having to pay for online services or a tax prep professional only adds to the stress. Check out some options for preparing your taxes for free, which could make this year's tax season just a little less angsty.
- If your household income is less than $54,000 . . . find an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site in your area and work with a volunteer to prep your taxes. Seeing "IRS" might give you reflexive heebie-jeebies, but fear not: the people involved in VITA, while trained and certified by the IRS to prepare tax returns, are not government cronies out to get you. They're simply volunteers who can help you maximize your return and file accurately, as they are up-to-date with the latest tax laws (such as this year's Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act).
- If your household income is less than $64,000 . . . use My Free Taxes to do your federal and state tax returns online. It's straightforward, user-friendly, and — oh, yeah — totally free.
- Regardless of your income . . . check out Credit Karma Tax, an online self-directed tax preparation service that is completely free — for everyone.