Tax time can be stressful — and expensive — to complete before the filing deadline of April 18. But luckily, there are many free and low-cost resources to help you get the job done without a hefty price tag and a mini meltdown. Here’s a list of some of our favorite options.
1. IF YOU HAVE A SIMPLE TAX SITUATION
Several tax software companies offer free tax filing for people with simple tax returns. They include TurboTax Free Edition, TaxAct Online Free Edition, and H&R Block Free Online Tax Filing let you file free federal and state returns as long as you have a simple tax return (e.g. file W-2 income, claim the standard deduction, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Child Tax Credit). Those who have more complex taxes — like homeowners, independent contractors, or those who sold investments or want to itemize deductions — will have to pay for a more souped-up paid version online.
2. IF YOU MADE $73,000 OR LESS IN 2021, TRY IRS FREE FILE ALLIANCE
The IRS has partnered with a coalition of industry-leading tax software companies to offer this program to American taxpayers who have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $73,000 or less. If you’re one of the 70% of taxpayers who qualify, then you can file your state and federal taxes for free. Use the FreeFile Online Lookup Tool to see if you’re eligible and to choose between providers. Note that some states may charge a separate fee for e-filing. However, you can always print out your return and mail it to avoid the fee.
3. IF YOU NEED HELP IRL, TRY THE VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Coordinated by the IRS, VITA provides in-person tax preparation by an IRS-certified volunteer at no charge for those who qualify — typically people who make less than $58,000 a year, persons with disabilities, those with limited English, or others who need assistance. Check out the options available in your state with the Free Tax Prep Help locator to see if you qualify for the program.
4. IF YOUR TAXES ARE COMPLICATED AND YOU WANT TO SAVE, TRY TAXSLAYER
With TaxSlayer’s free basic edition, a classic edition for $17.95, a premium version for $37.95 and just $47.95 for self-employed (contractors, 1099-ers and side hustlers), TaxSlayer is one of the cheapest ways to file online if you have a more complicated situation (e.g., you own stock, claim rental property, or you’re self-employed). Competitors charge more for filing trickier taxes, roughly $50 and up. During any point in the process, you can search TaxSlayer’s “knowledgebase” to find questions and answers on all tax topics.
5. IF YOU’RE IN THE MILITARY USE MILITARY ONESOURCE MILTAX
MilTax is a free tax prep and e-filing service designed specifically to address military-related tax issues, such as deployments, combat and training pay, housing and rentals and multistate filing. It’s offered through the U.S. Department of Defense’s MilitaryOneSource network, which also provides phone, online live chat and face-to-face tax help.
More on HerMoney:
- This List Will Save You on Tax Prep This Year
- Tax Filing Tips for Women Who’ve Gone Through Some Stuff
- What To Do If You Can’t Pay Your Tax Bill
Editor’s note: This post has been updated for the 2019 tax filing season.