Filing Your Taxes for Free Online: How to Do It and What to Expect
Did you know you could file both your federal and state taxes for free if you earned $58,000 or less last year? MyFreeTaxes — offered through a national partnership between Goodwill Industries International, National Disability Institute, and United Way, and sponsored by the Walmart Foundation — provides free federal and state tax preparation and filing assistance, both online and in person, to individuals and families earning $58,000 or less a year. MyFreeTaxes.com is the only online platform that can be used to file both federal and state taxes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The program has helped millions of individuals and families file for free and claim more than $8 billion in tax credits and refunds since 2009. If you filed an extension or missed the tax deadline, MyFreeTaxes.com is available through October to help you file for free.
Filing your taxes is easy. To take some of the mystery out of online filing, we've put together an overview on what people can expect when they prepare and file their own taxes through MyFreeTaxes.com.
Know That You Are Not Alone
If you have any questions, or need help along the way, call the MyFreeTaxes Helpline at 1-855-My-Tx-Help (1-855-698-9435) to speak with specialists that have been certified by the IRS.
Step 1: Be Prepared
Print off this Tax Preparation Checklist, which lists all of the documents you need to have when preparing your return. You will need the Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for each family member. You'll also need your W-2s, 1099s, and other income forms that you should have received from your employer. If you have childcare expenses, make sure you have the provider name and address on hand as well.
Step 2: Get the Facts
When you visit MyFreeTaxes.com you can use tools like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Calculator to see if you qualify for this valuable credit. Once you have your documents ready, click the yellow "File Now" button to begin the filing process.
TIP: To make sure that you use the free MyFreeTaxes service instead of the paid H&R Block® service, start your return by clicking the yellow "File Now" button on the MyFreeTaxes website.
Step 3: Create an Account
For the smoothest filing process and to ensure that you receive the free service, create a new account for this year even if you have used H&R Block to file a return in the past. Remember, the free service is only available if your adjusted gross income (AGI) was $58,000 or less in 2013. On the sign in page click "Create Account."
TIP: Write down your login information in a safe place so that you can access your return if you need to later on.
Step 4: Start Your Return
You're ready to start your return! First you'll enter basic information like your name and address. Then, you'll need to answer questions related to what may have changed in the last year (e.g. filing status, residency) so the filing software knows what appropriate forms to include.
TIP: If you are filing jointly or will be adding family members or children to your return, make sure you have each individual's correct Social Security number or Tax Payer Identification number handy to save you time.
Step 5: Enter Information From Your 2013 Tax Papers in the Online Form
The software will ask you to input information from your W-2 and other tax forms. For many of them, you simply need to match the numbered boxes on the tax form with the corresponding boxes online.
TIP: Keep all of your 2013 tax documents in a neat pile on one side of the computer. After you enter the information from a form, move it to the other side of the computer so that you can see which forms you haven't entered yet.
Step 6: Review Your Return
Prior to submitting your tax return you'll have the opportunity to review and claim applicable tax credits, as well as a final chance to review your entire tax return.
Remember, if you have questions at any point when preparing and filing your taxes online through MyFreeTaxes.com, please call our toll-free helpline at 1-855-My-Tx-Help or use the online chat.
TIP: Make sure to check that all 2013 tax forms have been entered into the system, as some determine your eligibility for valuable tax credits and deductions.
Step 7: Choose How to Receive Your Refund, and Then Submit Your Return
Taxpayers expecting a refund can choose to have their refund mailed to them or deposited directly into their bank account.
TIP: The IRS recommends filers choose the direct deposit option so they get their money back quicker.
Step 8: Pat Yourself on the Back; You Just Prepared and Filed Your Own Taxes!
Step 9: Check the Status of Your Refund
If you are expecting a refund, check the IRS website to see where you stand.
Step 10: Make the Most of Your Tax Refund
Here are some great ways to use your tax refund.
Step 11: Tell Your Friends and Family That They Don't Have to Pay to File Their Taxes!
You're not the only one who wants to save money by doing their taxes online.
Now that you know what to expect, visit MyFreeTaxes.com and file your taxes for FREE if you made $58,000 or less last year. It's safe, convenient, and easy.
This is a guest post from MyFreeTaxes.