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3 Cheap and Easy Ways to File Your Taxes — Without Mistakes

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Filing your taxes as early as possible makes good sense for most people. You can get your tax refund back into your bank account ASAP and check this annoying task off your to-do list.

Of course, filing taxes is easier said than done since you’ll have to figure out how to fill out the paperwork the IRS requires. The good news is, there are cheap and simple ways to take care of that task. Just check out these three options to get the help and support you need.

1. Use free e-filing software

If you have an adjusted gross income (income after deductions) of $79,000 or less, you should qualify to file your taxes at no cost with guided tax software.

Guided tax software leads you through the process of filing taxes by asking you simple questions like whether you made any lifestyle changes during the year or whether you’re a homeowner. It makes it pretty simple to avoid mistakes since you don’t have to know a lot of technical details — you just need to follow the step-by-step instructions in the software.

The IRS works with eight “trusted partners” that offer these free e-file programs, including TaxSlayer and TaxAct, which were both on The Ascent’s picks for best tax software. TaxAct and TaxSlayer also provide free state tax returns in some states, while some of the other trusted partners, like 1040Now, charge for state tax returns no matter where you live.

As long as the program you choose lets you file for free in your state, you should be in pretty good shape using any of the IRS’s trusted partners to get your taxes done right.

2. Get free tax help

Two programs allow you to get free help preparing your taxes by trained professionals.

  • The Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is available for most taxpayers who make $64,000 or less, people with disabilities, and taxpayers who speak limited English.
  • The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free taxpayer help to people age 60 and older.

If you qualify based on your income, age, disability status, or because your English is limited, the helpful volunteers taking part in these programs can walk you through the filing process and help you complete your forms correctly. This is an easy way to file your taxes since you’ll be getting professional support.

You can use the VITA/TCE Locator tool on the IRS website to find someone to help you.

3. Use MilTax

If you or someone in your family are in the military, MilTax is a free tax software program operated through Military OneSource. The program is specifically designed to deal with some of the complex tax issues raised by military life, including combat and training pay, deployments, and living OCONUS.

You can access the software online, and even get personalized help from military tax experts to help ensure you don’t make any mistakes.

Each of these options makes it cheap — and often free — to file your taxes, and they include safeguards that can help you ensure you’re getting everything right.

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