Smart TaxesSmart Taxes

File your taxes for free at IRS Web site

Anyone who makes up to $57,000 a year can use Free File. But you still might want to visit an accountant.

By Jeff Schnepper Feb 10, 2010 12:49PM

I make a lot of money filing tax returns -- almost enough to cover my daughter Allison’s charge bills for January.


But sometimes credibility is more important than greed, even if I am an attorney. Please don’t let this out or I’m going to be tarred, feathered and banned from all future Bar Association meetings.


You don’t have to pay huge accounting fees just to put numbers in boxes. In fact, if you had less than $57,000 in income in 2009, you can file your federal income tax return free at the IRS website,


According to David Williams, IRS director of electronic tax administration, up to 98 million taxpayers are eligible to file free. Go to the IRS Web site and you can select one of 20 different software providers to prepare your individual federal tax return with no charge.

Free File was hot in 2008 when nearly 5 million taxpayers used it. But, use dropped to only about 3 million taxpayers in 2009. The IRS explains the drop by alleging that many e-filers went on to use other private sector free products.


The new free software is designed to alert you to new tax breaks you may qualify to take.

But there are downsides. Remember, you’re just putting numbers in boxes. There’s no advice or planning for future wealth accumulation and tax minimization. That’s what you should really be paying for when you hire a professional.


And, with a new opt-in feature, if you use a Free File program, you consent to receiving future marketing of tax preparation services.


That’s a small price to pay for getting your tax return done for free, don’t you think?


Have your return done for free and sit down with a pro after tax season when she has the time to give you the planning and structure that you deserve. And, remember to deduct the tax planning fee.


Related reading:


Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.