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How to file your taxes online for free

If you didn’t know, there are options to make sure you don’t pay a dime.
Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 10:08 PM CST
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Tax season is here.

The first day the IRS begins processing tax returns is Friday, Feb. 12, although you can begin filing your taxes using online services before then.

If you didn’t know, there are options to make sure you don’t pay a dime.

KGNS took a poll on Facebook asking viewers if they pay to file their taxes online. Out of hundreds of respondents, 52% said they pay, and 48% said they use free services.

We also asked if viewers have already filed their taxes this year.

Sixty-nine percent said no, they haven’t.

KGNS reporter Ashley Soriano nearly paid $80 to file her taxes online this year. That is until she found a way around it.

Here’s how you can get around it, too.

TurboTax is one online filing software that advertises free filing for what they call “simple returns.” They even guarantee it.

After Ashley Soriano entered all of her information, which was just two W-2 forms and health insurance, TurboTax tells her that she has to pay.

To avoid a similar scenario, you’ll want to go to the IRS website, find their free file tool, and you can choose from nine online options, including TurboTax.

The way to truly get these options for free is to click on the link directly from the IRS website.

There are criteria you have to meet, however.

With TurboTax, your adjusted gross income must be $39,000 or less. Other sites have an income threshold of $72,000 or less.

To make sure you qualify, filter the search bar by entering your adjusted gross income, your age, if you’re eligible for the earned income tax credit, if you’re active military and your state of residence.

Some options offer free federal filing but not free state filing.

There are only three out of the nine options that offer both federal and state filing for free for the state of Texas. Those are Tax Act Free File Edition, IRS Free File Program Delivered by TurboTax, and Online Taxes at OLT.com.

The services that offer only free federal filing for any state of residence including Texas is Free Tax USA, FileYourTaxes.com and Tax Slayer.

Sites like H&R Block and Credit Karma also promise free options, although they don’t partner with the IRS’s free file program.

From Ashley Soriano’s personal experience, Credit Karma has been free. Others tell her H&R Block was not free for them.

In any case, most services have criteria you must meet, which is why it’s important to do your research on all options beforehand.

The deadline to file is April 15.

If you’re filing by mail, the IRS recommends doing it as quickly as possible to avoid delays.

IRS Free File tools available in Texas that offer both free state and federal filing:

Tax Act Free File Edition

*Adjusted gross income must be $63,000 or less

*Age must be 56 or younger or any age if eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit

*Military personnel are included

IRS Free File Program Delivered by TurboTax

*Adjusted gross income must be $39,000 or less

*Any age

*Military personnel are included

Online Taxes at OLT.com

*Adjusted gross income must be between $16,000 and $72,000

*Any age

*Military personnel are included

IRS Free File tools available in Texas that offer ONLY free federal filing:

Free Tax USA

*Adjusted gross income must be $39,000 or less

*Any age

*Military personnel are included

FileYourTaxes.com

*Adjusted gross income must be between $9,500 and $72,000

*Age must be 65 or younger

*Military personnel are included

*Free state filing is only available for Iowa, Idaho, North Dakota and Vermont.

Tax Slayer

**Adjusted gross income must be $72,000 or less

*Age must be 51 or younger or any age if eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit

*Military personnel are included

*Free state filing is only available for 23 states not including Texas.

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