Taxes are due on April 17. If you haven't filed yet, don't despair. There's still time to get your taxes prepared--for free.
The catch? Most of these free tax filing options are limited to people with relatively simple taxes. Nonetheless, take the time to figure out if any of these options are right for you--it could save you time and money.
1. Everyone can use the IRS's Free File to e-file. The fastest and easiest way to file, if you have online access and made less than $57,000 last year, is to use the Internal Revenue Service's Free File service. It let's you prepare, complete and e-file your 2011 tax return at no cost. If you made more than $57,000 you can still file for free with the IRS and the site provides the necessary forms to complete.
2. File online with MyFreeTaxes if you made less than $57,000. Another resource for free, online filing for individuals and families making less than $57,000 is available through My Free Taxes, which is powered by H&R Block's software.
3. Get free in-person help at VITA and use a Free File kiosk.For those without Internet or those who want face-to-face tax help, in-person assistance and e-filing is now available at nearly 300 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations in 29 states. The VITA program provides filing assistance to people who make less than $50,000 a year. This year many VITA locations now include special kiosks with the Free File software to help people e-file directly.
4. File in person with 1040EZ at Walmart. Many Walmart stores are still helping customers file basic returns in person using the 1040EZ for free. The form can be used by single or married individuals who have no dependents and earned less than $100,000 last year. The store is also providing free refund estimates and low-cost pricing on other tax filings. Customers who do their tax prep at Walmart can get their refunds directly deposited into a bank account or on to a prepaid card, or receive a check via mail.
5. Older tax payers get free help from AARP. For people over the age of 60 who have low to moderate incomes, IRS-certified AARP volunteers are offering free in-person tax help at more than 6,500 locations. The AARP website has a tool to help find your closest location.
If you're not going to be able to make the April 17 deadline, be sure to file for an extension to avoid paying late penalties.
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