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IRS starts accepting tax returns

Most taxpayers can begin filing their federal income tax returns, and many can file for free through the agency's Free File program.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 30, 2013 3:19PM

This post is by Kay Bell of Don't Mess With Taxes.


Image: Calculating numbers for income tax return with pen and calculator (© Stockbrokerxtra Images/Photolibrary)Have you filed your 2012 tax return yet? Millions already have filed today.


Like racers in the starting blocks, these taxpayers have been poised to send their returns to the Internal Revenue Service for weeks, but had to wait.


Because Congress waited until Jan. 1 to approve the American Tax Relief Act, which includes many provisions affecting 2012 tax returns, the IRS needed time to get forms and instructions updated and its computers reprogrammed.


The IRS is ready to take returns from most (but not all) taxpayers today. It's now accepting returns that are filed the old-fashioned way, filled out paper and snail-mailed in, as well as electronic filings.


And the tax agency's Free File option also is open for business.


Free File 2013


Free File first appeared on the tax-filing scene 10 years ago. Now it is old hat.


Sure, there are some tweaks each year. But basically, the filing routine is the same. A group of commercial tax preparation software companies, known as the Free File Alliance, agrees to make a version of their software available to eligible taxpayers via the IRS Free File site.

You can use the IRS Free File program to prepare and file your taxes this year at no cost (just in case you thought the name Free File was just a catchy alliterative title) if your adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less. This income threshold applies to all filing statuses.


And you have 15 tax software companies from which to choose. Or you can use the Help Me Find a Free File Company IRS search tool to determine which one best fits your filing needs.


Fillable forms for free


If you make too much money to qualify for Free File this year, the IRS is once again offering Free Fillable Forms.


These are online versions of the most commonly used IRS tax forms. Instead of buying and loading tax software onto your personal computer, you simply open up the forms you need, enter your tax information and e-file the documents at no charge.


But since it's just forms, not software, you get only basic calculations of the data you enter on the forms. You must know what goes where. And you must transfer any amounts to other forms as needed.


Still, it is free.


So if your return isn't too complicated, and you're comfortable filling out the forms, they may be just the ticket this tax season.


Happy filing!


More from Don’t Mess With Taxes and MSN Money:



Jan 30, 2013 6:53PM
Since our elected officials were in no hurry, and only seem to pander to illegals for their vote, why should we be in any hurry to pay our taxes.  Let's just all wait til the last possible moment, and then ask for an extension.  Better yet let's just ignore paying our taxes, like our politicians are ignoring the laws of the land.
Jan 30, 2013 6:27PM
So when are the 11 million illegals going to start filing their taxes? If government is so hell-bent on making them citizens, and since we're in such a debt crisis, the illegals should have to file immediately. Go after back taxes, as well, since they're being "grandfathered" in as citizens.
Jan 30, 2013 6:17PM
Jan 30, 2013 6:18PM

They still don't have the printed version of the 1040 Instuction booklet available for those who have to itemize deductions. After a visit to the local IRS office, I was told it would at least a minimum of 2 weeks before these would be available. So the IRS is sitting on my refund. Using the one on the internet is not a solution. To print that booklet out would take over 200 pages. There are any number of people who don't have internet and need the printed booklet.


I have called and emailed all my elected representatives and none of them care enough to even answer me. You would think they would put pressure on the IRS to get these out to people. People spend their refunds, which would help all types of businesses who sell goods and services.

Jan 30, 2013 7:02PM
Please someone save us from this yearly misery. Please, please please start a movement for a national sales tax and end this madness. If you spend more you pay more. What can be more fair than that. Everyone has skin in the game.
Jan 30, 2013 4:49PM
Ugh, waiting again for the depreciation form.  It's stupid anyway, you should be able to deduct the year you pay the cash.  I understand for accounting purposes, but for the IRS it is just dumb to have to deduct $500 over 27 years.  I probably won't be alive in 27 years, and I paid out the $500 last year.
Jan 30, 2013 7:05PM
This year I thought I would use my little computer and file my federal and state income tax returns on line.  After spending about 8 hrs trying to navigate their  sites and figure out how to do that  I gave up and spent 20 minutes to fill out both and put them in the mail.  Unless you are that all-fired interested in getting a refund in three days rather than 30, why would you bother?  Now someone is going to tell me how terribly wrong and how pathetically ignorant I am and I am just going to say FOO 2U!!!  I paper filed and I will continue to do so until forced FORCED to do otherwise.
Jan 30, 2013 7:48PM
CPO Huff you are right but only to an extent.  Having worked for employers that used illegals as an HR person I can tell you most employers I know that use illegals don't withhold taxes and don't even issue 1099's as if they are sub-contractors.  Heck one of the employers had copies of Social Security cards that were so obviously forged it would have been better to have nothing.  What about the states that don't have sales tax?  What about the majority of illegals that don't purchase a house because after all you can't have a credit check done if you don't have a Social Security card.  If we want to fix this whole tax situation I say; flat tax.  If everyone pays the same percentage no one is favored.  If you want to fix who pays and who doesn't pay I say; no tax withholding on pay and have a flat sales tax.  Even if you are illegal and work for employers who don't withhold taxes you still have to buy things.  That would make sure everyone pays.

Jan 30, 2013 6:13PM
Just in time for all you single moms with your 2 little babies and no daddys at least not in the light. Making what is the sweet spot around 17k so you can get the child tax credit and of course that Earn Income Credit. Then you can take your $5000-$8,000 of the hard working tax payers money and head to the store with you new man in tow.
Jan 30, 2013 8:14PM
I filed our return today but...because the IRS doesnt know how the depreciation forms are going to change (thank you congress), our return is going to sit in limbo until late February or early March when the IRS estimates that they will start accepting these "special" returns. Basicly if you are a business of any sort that depreciates equipment you wont see a refund on the money that the government has been using interest free.
Jan 30, 2013 7:09PM

Undocumented folks DO pay taxes. They pay sales tax in states that have it. They pay gas tax. They pay property tax as part of the rent they pay, or on homes they are buying. The employers are withhold state and federal taxes on their wages. So if they don't file a tax form for any refunds, the government gets all the taxes money, including Social Security, for free.

For those who want a fence around the U.S., please remember what happened in East Berlin and China. Fences that are meant to keep out intruders soon became fences to keep people from escaping. What do we want freedom, democracy, or tyranny? Be careful what you wish for.

Jan 30, 2013 10:31PM

ALL THAT:Unfortunately Obama stepped into a mess.We were losing 800,000 jobs

a month.He had to save wall street or we would have certainly had a depression, not

a recession, but a full depression.That would have led to crime big time and a civil

war and eventually, marshall law.That`s the facts.Frankly, we couldn`t have stood a

depression.Most people are naive to think a depression would be over in 10 years.

Jan 30, 2013 10:05PM
Man, I hate this time of year when I actually think about how much I pay in.  Hope Egypt likes my money.    I guess I should be grateful, somehow.
Jan 30, 2013 6:23PM

The Repubs promise low taxes and far right falls hook, line and sinker for that.It`s like giving a kid candy istead of a meal and the kid is on a sugar high.You never see any solutions from

the Repubs.They shot down 2 of Obama`s jobs bills and then complain there`s no jobs.

When will the American people wake up?

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