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Your Complete Guide to Free Tax Tools

Tax Time

Even with a two-day extension (three if you’re counting the day gained due to 2012 being a leap year), Tax Day tends to stress out a lot of Americans.

Luckily, there are several online tax tools and software programs that let you file your tax returns for free, which can help ease the mental and financial burden of tax time. Of course, each has its own eligibility criteria and none offers a free-file option to taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of more than $57,000. Other criteria may include age, state, eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and military status.

Here’s a breakdown of the free filing tools you can use from the convenience of your home computer.

Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan

OnLine Taxes at OLT.com

You can only file your federal tax returns for free on OLT.com if your adjusted gross income is between $12,050 and $57,000, though the service is available to all ages in all states. Those who don’t meet the federal requirements can file for $7.95, and everyone who chooses to add a state tax return to their federal return will have to pay $7.95.

Photo Credit: www.olt.com

eSmartTax by Liberty Tax Service

Taxpayers in all states are eligible to use eSmartTax to file their federal tax return if their adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less and they are 52 years old or younger. Free state tax returns are also offered in Georgia, Iowa, Michigan and Virginia to those who meet the same requirements. Residents of other states can file their state returns for $9.95.

Photo Credit: esmarttax.com

YES I-CAN! E-File

Taxpayers in all states can file their federal return through YES I-CAN! E-File for free if their adjusted gross income is $29,000 or less or if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. Otherwise, filing the federal tax return costs $4.99. The site can also help prepare tax returns in California, Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania and New York, and can file returns in each of these states except New York.

Photo Credit: www.yesicanfile.org

1040 Free File Edition

You can get a free federal tax return through 1040 Free File Edition if you are under 52 years old (as of Dec. 31, 2011) and your adjustable gross income is $52,000 or less. The service is offered to all U.S. citizens and resident aliens with foreign addresses. State returns are offered for $29.95.

Photo Credit: www.1040.com

TurboTax


Turbo Tax has a free federal editon that allows taxpayers to file federal returns at no cost, regardless of income. State returns can be tacked on for $27.95.  Free federal filings are also offered through its Freedom Edition to those with an adjusted gross income of $37,000 a year or less, 2011 active-duty military members with an adjusted gross income of $57,000 or less or those eligible for the EITC.  These people can also qualify for a free state return in they live in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont or Wyoming. Otherwise, a state return can be tacked on for $14.95.

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H&R Block’s Free File

You are eligible for the free e-file if your adjustable gross income was less than $57,000 a year and you were 52 years old or younger as of Dec. 31. H&R Block also offers free state e-files for those living in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina or Virginia. All other state residents can file their returns for $14.95.

The tax preparer is also offering free EZ tax returns in certain Wal-Mart stores.

Photo Credit: www.hrblock.com

FileYourTaxes.com

Free federal returns can be filed if a person’s adjusted gross income is between $11,500 and $57,000 and they live in any state other than Minnesota or New Hampshire. Resident aliens with foreign addresses are also eligible, and state returns can be e-filed for an additional $23.50.

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Tax Simple

You’re eligible for a free federal tax return if your adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less and you are 70 years old or younger. The service isn’t offered to those living in Arkansas, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington or Wyoming.

State free-files are offered in Alabama, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina and West Virginia.

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TaxACT Online

Taxpayers in all states, as well as resident aliens with foreign addresses, are eligible to file their federal returns for free if they make an adjusted gross income of $57,000 or less and are between 19 and 55 years old. State returns can be added for $14.95.

Photo Credit: www.taxactonline.com

ezTaxReturn.com

You are eligible for a free federal tax return if your adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less and you live in any state except Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia or Wyoming. (It also counts for Washington, D.C.) State tax returns can be added for $19.95.

Photo Credit: www.eztaxreturn.com

Tax Slayer

You can file your federal tax returns for free if your adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less and you are 25 years old or younger. You can also file if you are on active military duty or if you are eligible for the EITC. The service is available in all states and to resident aliens with foreign addresses. State returns can be added for $4.95.

Photo Credit:www.taxslayer.com

FreeTaxUSA

You can take advantage of the free federal tax return offered by FreeTaxUSA if your adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less and you were between 23 and 64 years of age as of Dec. 31.

It is offered in all states, and state returns can be added for $9.95.

Photo Credit: freetaxusa.com

OnlineTaxPros.com

Free federal tax returns are offered to those with adjusted gross incomes between $4,000 and $57,000 in every state except Arkansas, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. (And Washington, D.C.) State returns can be added for $14.95.

Photo Credit: onlinetaxpros.com

Free1040TaxReturn.com

You can file your federal tax return for free if your adjusted gross income is $42,000 or less or you are eligible for the EITC. The service isn’t offered in Washington D.C., Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Nevada, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington or Wyoming. State returns can be added for $39.95.

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1040Now

Those with an adjusted gross income of $57,000 or less who are 72 years old or younger can take advantage of the free federal file if they live in any state except Arkansas, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. States returns can be added for $17.95.

Photo Credit:  www.1040now.net

Jackson Hewitt

Single and married taxpayers with simple returns (involving just W-2s and no dependents) are eligible for a free federal filing and free e-file through the tax preparer’s website. State returns can be filed for an additional $29.95. Jackson Hewitt is also offering free federal 1040EZ filing in 2,800 Walmart kiosk locations nationwide throughout the entire tax season ending April 17, 2012.Photo Credit: www.jacksonhewittonline.com

13 Common Tax Mistakes

Are you feeling nervous about filing your taxes? Check out MainStreet’s roundup of 13 common tax mistakes to help you in the process!

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