5 of the Cheapest & Best Ways to E-File your Taxes
E-filing? Try These 5 Free Options
I have updated this post for 2015 (2014 tax year). I’ve always used paid Turbotax & H&R Block electronic and software products to do my own taxes. They are my two recommended overall tax programs and they even have free and much cheap options available for those who have relatively simple returns and a low enough adjusted gross income. While Turbotax and H&R Block might be the best options for most e-filers, there are other reputable alternatives as well. After researching the marketplace, here are the five options that topped my list if your goal is to have the cheapest e-file tax return.
Lets start with my two favorite: H&R Block and Turbotax.
H&R Block: Also offers a free-file edition. Free e-file edition costs $14.99 (many states are free) if you would like to add the state e-file. To use their free edition, your Adjusted Gross Income must be $53,500 or less and you must be age 53 or less. If you start with the free version, you can easily transfer and upgrade to a different version at a later time. I have used H&R the last few years and really like thier program. H&R Block offers free audit support and 1:1 help. They are offering 15% off their online editions right now.
Turbotax: Offers a free e-file edition for those with and adjusted income of $31,000 or less ($60,000 or less for active military), or to those who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you choose to file a state e-file, it could be free, depending on your state. If you choose to upgrade to another version, your data is transferred.
TaxAct: Offers a free-file, and from free to $9.99 for federal and state combined – however, they are not as reputable as Turbotax and H&R Block. Eligibility requires your adjusted gross income be $52,000 or less and your age be between 18 and 58 for the free e-file version.
eSmartTax: eSmartTax is the online version of Liberty Tax, which has over 4,000 offices nationwide. If you have an adjusted Gross Income $60,000 or less, and have an age between 18 and 54 you can file your federal return for free. State returns are $19.95.
FreeFile: You can fill out forms online through the IRS website fillable forms website and then e-file. The BIG problem with this route is that you can’t prepare or submit your state return through the IRS. This can be a bit of a pain if you have to go elsewhere to do your state return (and all the data that you’ve already entered does not transfer with you). For state returns, the IRS lists 14 approved e-file vendors to choose from, many of whom offer free e-filing on federal returns. Also, fillable forms are not nearly as simple to fill out as tax software. You literally are filling out IRS tax forms. I would not recommend it – but it is an option available to you for free e-filing.
There are no vendors that offer free-file to those with adjusted gross income over $60,000. If your income is higher and/or you invest, are a homeowner, or itemize deductions, I’d recommend going with the most appropriate paid Turbotax & H&R Block editions mentioned earlier.
- What’s the cheapest way that you’ve been able to file your taxes, while getting the best return?
- Have you done your taxes yet?
- How are you filing your taxes this year? (take the poll)