ALSO READ: Socially Responsible Investing: Does is really work?
You have successfully made it to adulthood.
You are now the proud owner of a…
9 to 5 job
Mountain of expenses
Mild case of anxiety and depression
And since we are still a long way from April 15th…
…you have [probably] completely forgotten about filing your taxes.
For many people, this can be a magical time of year; a random, but obviously well deserved, wad of cash gets thrown back at them.
For everyone else, it is the worst time of year (for obvious reasons).
Most of us rely on tax software to navigate the tangled mess known as the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).
But there has been a serious problem consuming the tax software industry lately.
What is it, you ask?
Two words: HIDDEN FEES!
And speaking of hidden fees, I have an all too common story to share with you…
Warning: Taxpayers may find the following content disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
It was April 2018 and I had been avoiding filing my taxes for months, but the deadline was quickly approaching. Time was running short and I was ready to rock-and-roll.
I scavenged for all of my tax documents strewn around the house.
I spent two hours diligently gathering and entering my W-2s, 1098s, and 1099s into my chosen “free” tax software.
Once everything was entered, I laid eyes on my magnificent $4,000 tax refund.
“See ya losers later because once I e-file this thing – I am RICH,” I thought to myself.
But no sooner than when I clicked the button to e-file, a message popped up…
…”that’ll be $39.99.”
The company claimed it would file my return for FREE!!
My tax software befriended me, made the filing process easy, and told me everything was free…
…only to turn on a dime when it realized that I just came into some serious cash.
Countless law abiding taxpayers suffer the same fate each year. Even worse, most of them accept the fee they are dealt to avoid filling out another tax return.
Well, I am done getting swindled by tax software providers and now you can be, too.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a company that made April 15th even better? Or at least, less awful?
Well, I have gone to work for YOU to determine if such a thing even exists.
Spoiler alert: IT DOES EXIST!
And this post aims to give you our favorite tax filing software that you can use to file your 2018 taxes.
The pick is in…
…and it is FreeTaxUSA!
Read on to find out what we like (and don’t like) about this product…
To kick things off, you need to be aware of your free filing options. To see where you can file for free, check out the IRS Free File page.
This tool will ask you a few questions to determine your eligibility and make recommendations based on the facts you provide.
This way, you can avoid filling out your tax return only to discover that it is not actually free. Also, the recommendation by the IRS adds a level of credibility to each product (i.e. it won’t be complete garbage).
FreeTaxUSA is one of a few tax software products listed by the IRS.
Not only is the software free, but it supports many tax situations like…
Married filing jointly
This product caught my eye because it is actually free and covers a broad range of tax needs.
The mass appeal of FreeTaxUSA software stands to benefit the greatest number of people reading this. And thus, I decided to put FreeTaxUSA to the test and am prepared to share my findings with you.
These findings include…
Pros and Cons
Who the software will work for
…and everything else that you want to know about how to file your next tax return drama free!
Pro Tip: Don’t wait until the last minute to file your taxes. Get an early start now with FreeTaxUSA and you can file for FREE
Pricing and Features
So, we have determined that you can file your federal return for free with FreeTaxUSA.
But just because any tax software is free…
…doesn’t mean it is worth using.
After all, it is not worth trying to save money if the outcome is a screwed up tax return!
Therefore, any tax filing software that is worth using should be accurate, easy-to-use, and free.
Thankfully, FreeTaxUSA aims to give you a budget-friendly option that does not compromise quality. Here are some of the key features of the FreeTaxUSA filing software…
Very low cost
100% accuracy guarantee
All major tax forms available
State filing is never free
Lack of educational materials
Rest assured that your tax returns will be accurate.
And you will be able to get a maximum refund because FreeTaxUSA monitors and updates its software for new credits, deductions, and tax code changes.
Each software upgrade is tested and approved by the IRS and each state.
The company also gives users a 100% accuracy guarantee and checks for errors throughout the filing process.
Ease of use
The name is straightforward and so is the product.
FreeTaxUSA has taken a no BS approach to helping you file your taxes.
The no frills interface enables you to get in, get out, and get paid.
Federal is free!
Yes – your federal tax return is free with no strings attached.
However, it does cost $12.95 per state return – but this is made clear on the website.
But we all know that filing your taxes is not always a simple task.
Accordingly, we need professional support, extension filing, audit support, and other tools to get through this process.
FreeTaxUSA offers TWO version of their software…
…which one can benefit you?
For most people, the free edition will handle their tax federal and state tax returns.
Many of the other guys have limitations based on…
Form 1040 (i.e. 1040EZ, 1040A, etc.)
This is important to know because other service providers may claim ‘free’ but it comes with specific limitations.
For example, the company will only file your 1040EZ for free.
This is a rather important detail to know because…
Not many people qualify to file a 1040EZ!
If you have things like IRA contributions, stock investments, student loan interest, or tax credits…
…you probably won’t qualify to file a 1040EZ or even a 1040A.
This means that your “free” tax software will no longer be free.
The real kicker is that most people don’t know what form they are filing until they are attempting to file.
However, FreeTaxUSA is as advertised…
…federal filing is free and state filing is $12.95.
And it doesn’t matter if you have investments, rental income, itemized deductions – it is still free!
Some additional benefits to the Free edition include…
Automatic backup (so you won’t lose your in progress tax return)
Carry over tax returns from prior years
The Free edition offers a no frills way to file your tax return.
However, if that isn’t enough for you…
…there is another option.
Let’s say you have really got the IRS on your back.
You don’t know what you did to deserve it – but it is happening – and you’ve got to deal with it.