Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
A good friend once told me, “Free is worth the paper it’s written on.” You’ve likely heard all the warnings about how there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Is this equally true when it comes to free tax preparation and tax filing services?
Let me give you some good news—there really are some terrific free services available in the tax preparation community!
In-person free tax filing
The folks who volunteer in the VITA and TCE community are enthusiastic, dedicated, and well trained to prepare the level of tax returns supported by this program. Volunteers include tax professionals (like enrolled agents), attorneys, CPAs, and accounting students, as well as amateurs who have gotten hooked on helping—and on taxes in general.
Seniors and low-income taxpayers can get face-to-face help at the VITA and TCE facilities. The AARP’s Tax-Aide team operates thousands of TCE facilities You will find sites all over the place—at colleges, libraries, religious institutions, community centers, and more. To locate one near you, call the IRS at 1-800-906-9887 or the AARP at 1-888-227-7669.
To locate special sites for members of the armed services who wish to receive free help with tax filing, contact the Armed Forces Tax Council to find a location on a base near you.
Online tax filing with commercial software
All the major tax services offer free federal tax return preparation for simpler tax returns (though you will have to pay for your state return). This year, most of your favorite tax software providers will even allow you print the return and/or e-file for free. Once you have the printed copy of your federally e-filed tax return, you can check your state’s tax department website to see if it has a way for you to e-file directly on its site. Many do.
In addition, the IRS’s Free File Alliance (FFA) is still alive and well—but you can probably find more free services on the participants’ main websites than on their FFA sites. Also, if you start a tax return on a participant’s FFA site and it exceeds the free level, you will have to start over and re-enter the information on the participant’s main site anyway.
Free tax filing from the IRS
The IRS has two more ways for you to file your taxes for free. First, you can access many forms on the IRS’s “Free Fillable Files” page. Second, for people who don’t have access to their own computers, the IRS provides a service at a number of community sites, called Facilitated Self-Assistance Sites, where you can use its computers instead—and perhaps even get a little personal guidance. The IRS website offers a complete list of the locations of these sites.
Is filing taxes for free a good idea?
For relatively simple tax returns, absolutely! For tax returns involving earned income tax credits or elderly-related benefits and issues? You bet!
And when it comes to military issues? It’s important to know that there are rules related to state taxes that give members of the armed forces special benefits. Volunteers may have the answers, but perhaps, for state issues, you’ll want to get help from an expert tax professional instead.
Eva Rosenberg: Eva Rosenberg, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com®, where your tax questions are answered. She teaches tax professionals how to represent you when you have tax problems. She is the author of several books and e-books, including Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Follow her on Twitter: @TaxMama
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.