By Elyssa Kirkham, Editor
For a lot of people, preparing and filing their tax returns can be a worse experience than a trip to the dentist. It can easily qualify as one of the most-hated tasks taxpayers have to perform each year, as 44 percent of respondents to a poll from SurveyMonkey said they either hate or dislike doing their taxes.
The only good part of filing taxes is receiving a refund, which occurs for 80 percent of tax-paying Americans, according to an H&R Block analysis. The average tax refund hovered just below $2,800 in 2014, according to data from the IRS, which is a nice bonus for the millions of Americans who get refunds.
But for the other 20 percent who end up without a refund or even owing taxes, filing taxes can be a financial burden.
Whether you're counting on a fat tax refund or dreading tax filing because you know you'll owe the government money, filing taxes shouldn't be expensive. There are ways to get affordable (or even free) tax filing software and help to keep more of your refund or lessen the financial sting of paying off your tax bill.
14 Tax Software Freebies and Tax Service Deals From TurboTax, H&R Block and More
GOBankingRates surveyed current tax software deals and preparation service offers to find the biggest discounts that will keep more of your money in your bank account during the 2015 tax season. Below we've listed the tax preparation freebies, deals and offers you can take advantage of.
- TaxSlayer offers a free, basic version of its software that taxpayers can use to file federal taxes for free. It should be noted, however, that it'll cost $23.90 to file the first state return and an additional $14.95 for every state return after that.
- TaxACT offers online bundles of software for federal and state filing, saving customers up to 20 percent.
- TurboTax: For active duty military personnel and reservists of E1 through E5 status, TurboTax offers its Free Edition and Deluxe at no cost, along with free e-filing of both federal and one state return. It also offers a $5 discount on other TurboTax federal products for E1 to E5, E6 and up, and officer ranks. All you need is a military W-2 to verify the discount.
- TaxSlayer: The company offers a military version of its tax prep software tailored to the finances of service members and their families. Filing through it is free for both federal and state returns.
Discounts and Coupons for TurboTax Software
The TurboTax team let us know that some financial institutions provide their customers with discounts on TurboTax software.
- USAA and Fidelity, for example, provide their customers with discounts of up to $20 on TurboTax software.
- Capital One is offering 25 percent off TurboTax online federal versions to customers. Even if you're not a customer of one of these institutions, it could be worthwhile to check with your bank to see if it has a similar deal on tax preparation services or software.
- Filing with TurboTax is absolutely free when using the Federal Free Edition, which includes 1040EZ/1040A forms. Filing a state return is free, too, for the first time ever.
- Through Feb. 15, filers can save up to $20 off the company's online federal tax preparation software, according to RetailMeNot.
- Best Buy, Amazon, Staples, Walmart and Target are offering up to $15 off the MSRP for TurboTax software, no coupon required.
- Those who purchased TurboTax Deluxe desktop software (CD or download versions) are eligible for a $25 refund from the company, given backlash over its removal of Schedules C, D, E and F from its Deluxe package. Those who purchased the software to file taxes in 2013 and had to, therefore, upgrade this year are eligible for this refund.
Coupons and Deals for H&R Block Software and Tax Services
- H&R Block is running a "Switch to Block" offer, which provides a free, comparable version of H&R Block software to anyone who has already bought a copy of this year's TurboTax Basic or Deluxe software. This allows the tax filer to try both programs and compare ease of use, features and final refund generated without having to shell out twice for 2015 tax software.
- Visit RetailMeNot's H&R Block listing, click through to the H&R Block site and you'll get an automatic discount of 35 percent on the download version of H&R Block software, for savings of up to $28.
- Click through from Coupons.com's H&R Block page to get a 20 percent discount on its online filing. The offer is valid through March 31.
- This coupon will get new H&R Block customers $20 off their in-office tax preparation services.