Welcome!

News Feed Item

How to Do Your Taxes for Free

MISSION, KS -- (Marketwire) -- 01/31/13 -- (Family Features) Going to college; getting your first job; moving into your own place. To these rites of passage add one more: doing your own taxes. And, it's not as scary as you might think.

It's not scary because there's help available. It's called Free File, and it's offered exclusively from the IRS in partnership with nearly 15 leading tax software companies. About 3 million people use it every year.

Free File lets you choose brand-name software that does the hard work for you -- all for free. And, it offers a fast, safe and free option for everyone. Brand-name tax software is available to those who made $57,000 or less in 2012 -- which is about 70 percent of us. Earned more? Try Free File's online fillable forms, the electronic alternative to IRS paper forms.

Three simple steps to getting started

Step 1: Gather Your Tax Information

  • Collect your tax information and log on to Free File through the IRS website: www.IRS.gov/freefile.

Step 2: Choose an Option

  • The "Help Me Choose A Company" option helps you pick the brand-name software that will guide you through the tax process.
  • Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic documents, perform basic math calculations and are for people who are comfortable preparing their own paper tax returns.

Step 3: Prepare and e-file Your Return

  • E-file your return for free. No matter what option you choose, IRS and brand-name software providers use the most current technology to ensure tax information is encrypted, so it's safe and secure when it's transmitted.
    Free File is also available online 24/7, giving you the freedom to choose when and how you do your taxes.

Checklist of materials to do your taxes
Keep this list as a checklist of the items you will need to do your taxes. The IRS recommends keeping all tax-related documents for three years, in case of an audit. Tracking income-related documents can help you take full advantage of deductions available to you.

  • A copy of last year's tax return
  • Valid Social Security numbers for yourself, spouse and children
  • All income statements, i.e. W-2 forms, from all employers
  • Interest/dividend statements, i.e. 1099 forms
  • Form 1099-G showing any state refunds
  • Unemployment compensation amount
  • Social Security benefits
  • Expense receipts for deductions
  • Day care provider's identifying number

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps you keep more of what you earned
No tax benefit offers a greater lifeline to working families than EITC. Yet, one out of every five eligible taxpayers fails to claim it, according to the IRS. Because of the economy, even more people may be eligible if they have had changes in their earned income. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The maximum credit for 2012 tax returns is $5,891 for workers with three or more qualifying children.

  • Eligibility for the EITC is determined based on a number of factors including earnings, filing status and eligible children. Workers without qualifying children may be eligible for a smaller credit amount.

Learn more at www.irs.gov/eitc and use the EITC Assistant, or ask your tax professional. If you are eligible for EITC, you also are eligible for free tax help at VITA sites nationwide or to use Free File at www.irs.gov/freefile.

EITC: Are you eligible?

  • You must have earned income.
  • Your adjusted gross income cannot be more than the limit.
  • Your filing status cannot be "Married filing separately."
  • You must have a valid Social Security number.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year.
  • You cannot file Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ.
  • Your investment income must be $3,200 or less.

Did you know?

  • Most refunds are issued in less than 21 days.
  • Combining e-file with direct deposit is still the fastest way to get your refund.
  • Use "Where's My Refund?" to get personalized refund information based on the processing of your tax return.
  • You can also use the IRS app, IRS2Go, to check the status of your refund.
  • Can't meet April 15 deadline? Use Free File for a free extension; then use Free File to do your taxes by October 15.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
There are thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites nationwide that offer free help to those earning around $51,000 or less. To locate the nearest VITA site, search for "VITA" on www.IRS.gov.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), which is supported by AARP, offers free tax help to people who are age 60 and older. Locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site at AARP.org or call 1-888-227-7669. Some VITA/TCE sites even offer Free File. You can do it yourself on their computers.

About Family Features Editorial Syndicate
This and other food and lifestyle content can be found at www.editors.familyfeatures.com. Family Features is a leading provider of free food and lifestyle content for use in print and online publications. Register with no obligation to access a variety of formatted and unformatted features, accompanying photos, and automatically updating Web content solutions.

Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=2203811

Add to Digg Bookmark with del.icio.us Add to Newsvine

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
"We provide DevOps solutions. We also partner with some key players in the DevOps space and we use the technology that we partner with to engineer custom solutions for different organizations," stated Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Providing secure, mobile access to sensitive data sets is a critical element in realizing the full potential of cloud computing. However, large data caches remain inaccessible to edge devices for reasons of security, size, format or limited viewing capabilities. Medical imaging, computer aided design and seismic interpretation are just a few examples of industries facing this challenge. Rather than fighting for incremental gains by pulling these datasets to edge devices, we need to embrace the i...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
"We're bringing out a new application monitoring system to the DevOps space. It manages large enterprise applications that are distributed throughout a node in many enterprises and we manage them as one collective," explained Kevin Barnes, President of eCube Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a leading digital experience intelligence company, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint Systems is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into your customer-critical services to help you consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed for digital business, C...
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, will highlight the current challenges of these transformative technologies and share strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” will outline the latest trends and developm...
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
@ThingsExpo has been named the ‘Top WebRTC Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @ThingsExpo ranked as the number one ‘WebRTC Influencer' followed by @DevOpsSummit at 55th.