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- Receive Faster Refund
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Free Federal Tax Return Filing Online with Faster Refund
ccording to the IRS, 70 percent of all U.S. individual taxpayers are eligible to file their federal income tax returns for free. To be eligible for free federal tax return filing in 2007, taxpayers must have an adjusted gross income of $54,000 or less.
Benefits of Using the IRS Free File Program
Based on the findings of a study by Russell Research, the IRS estimates that 95 percent of past users intend to use the program again this year. For these repeat users, ease of use is most likely the selling point. The benefits of using the IRS Free File program are similar to those of using e-File:
»» Ability to sign a return electronically
»» Faster refund than with paper filing because the refund is processed electronically
»» Avoid lines at the post office. Returns can be submitted at any time, even in the middle of the night.
»» Receive confirmation within 48 hours that the return was received by the IRS
Accessing the Legitimate Free File Program
he IRS does not directly process the tax returns through its own website; it has partnered with several tax software companies, members of the “Free File Alliance,” to offer this free tax return filing service. :
Even though taxpayers must use one of the online providers to prepare returns for submission to the IRS, the IRS cautions that taxpayers should initiate the free filing process through the IRS website. By attempting to access the program another way, such as going directly to a tax preparation company’s website, qualifying taxpayers risk being charged a fee to file their federal income tax return. From the IRS Free File homepage, taxpayers may choose a provider and rest assured that the provider is offering legitimate free filing.
How to Use the Free Filing Program
ndividuals should visit the Free File homepage to get started. Once there, click on “Start Now!” button. Then choose a Free File partner company to process your return. Even though the IRS criteria for qualifying for free return filing is an adjusted gross income of $54,000 or less, each provider has its own additional criteria. The criteria may range from your state of residence, to age limits, or even a minimum level of income. Because there are so many providers each with unique criteria, the IRS offers to help match taxpayers to potential providers through a quick questionnaire.
Other Considerations: Free State Income Tax Return Filings?
Taxpayers should be aware that Free File Alliance member companies may charge fees for state income returns. The IRS notes that some filing partners offer free state return filing in addition to the free federal return; however, this bit of information may not be visible until you have already chosen a particular provider and visited their website to initiate the return process. In general, if the provider only indicates “free federal tax preparation” but does not specifically mention that the state return will also be free, the state prep is probably not free. Additionally, taxpayers should be aware that some providers will not offer state tax return preparation services at all.
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