With tax season for 2016 already underway, irs.gov is offering some helpful resources for taxpayers under a set income level to file this year's taxes for free. Taxpayers with an income below $62,000 will be eligible to use one of several Free File Software services provided by various companies and websites, including H&R Block, TurboTax, and Jackson Hewitt.
Over a dozen different Free File Software offers are currently available on the IRS website, each with specific qualifications based on the taxpayer's Adjusted Gross Income, age, place of residence, and a few other factors. The IRS recommends taxpayers check each business and its list of qualifications carefully to determine which Free File Software offer they are able to use. Free File Software pertains specifically to federal taxes and returns, and offers may differ on whether they provide free returns on state taxes. Some Free File Software may charge a fee for state tax returns, so taxpayers are advised to look over each policy carefully before proceeding.
For taxpayers having trouble deciding which offer is right for them, they can narrow down the options by filling out a simple online form offered by the IRS. By entering AGI, state of residence, age, and military service (if applicable), the IRS will show which offers each taxpayer qualifies for, as well as which offers include free state tax returns as part of their service. A PDF is also available online to help walk low-income taxpayers through use of Free File Software, to help answer any further questions they may have.
For taxpayers with an income higher than $62,000, the IRS does not offer Free File Software, but does provide Free File Fillable Forms online for taxpayers who wish to file their own taxes this year.
Nearly all documents required for the 2016 tax season are already available online. Documents not yet uploaded will be posted February 13, at which time taxpayers with an income above $62,000 will have access to everything they need to file for 2016.
The IRS also offers helpful PDFs to explain how to get started, how to factor the new Health Care laws into this year's taxes, and line-by-line help explaining how to fill out each form, but it is highly recommended taxpayers who choose to file online understand how to file their own taxes. Although Free File Fillable Forms does come with some explanations, as well as help with calculating taxes, it will not do the work of a tax preparer. Along with the tax forms, the IRS also recommends taxpayers those who plan to e-file note which browsers and operating systems are best optimized for filing before they proceed.
Taxpayers are advised to make certain their browser/OS combination is appropriate before they begin to avoid glitches or potential security risks. As a counter-measure to any further potential problems, taxpayers whose returns are rejected may also use a Fillable Forms error search tool, in which they can copy and paste the error messages cited in their rejection email in order to identify and correct filing mistakes. These resources are offered at no charge regardless of income level.