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.
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, www.irs.gov.
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.
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