IRS is expanding its promotion of free electronic filing this year. Eight providers are participating in the IRS’s Free File program: 1040Now, OLT, FreeTaxUSA, TaxAct, FileYourTaxes.com, TaxSlayer, Free1040taxreturn.com, and eztaxreturn.com.
Three other large and better-known tax service providers – TurboTax, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt – have free offers for tax filing that are not part of the IRS Free File program but may be free for simple tax return filers. These firms add fees when they upsell other services, and when they file forms that are not included in the free offer.
We encourage individual tax filers with simple tax returns, who do not want personal help, to use one of these free online tax filing systems this year. See https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile for more information. Our firm does offer individual tax preparation in some cases but most tax filers do not need to hire a CPA for this work. In most cases, we suggest using your CPA for financial planning advice and tax reduction strategies.
One note of caution when filing this year: regardless of how you file your taxes we already know that millions of people will face unreasonable delays in receiving refunds. Many taxpayers will require amended tax returns and millions will receive automated collection notices, both accurate and inaccurate. This year, problems are anticipated related to pandemic relief programs and advanced child tax credits. IRS is in crisis and has already announced that it will have more problems this tax season. It may be important to be aware that amended tax returns and addressing IRS matters is not free with any provider and often costs more than a regular paid preparers normal filing fee. So please strive to be careful and accurate when using these filing services.