Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Business

Group, IRS provide free options for filing tax returns electronically

If you have low to moderate annual income, you're most likely eligible for a variety of free or reduced-rate options for completing and electronically filing your federal income tax return.

The Internal Revenue Service teams with a nonprofit group comprising 14 commercial tax software companies to provide free online tax software. The Free File Alliance includes Intuit, maker of TurboTax, and H&R Block, as well as companies like TaxSlayer and 1040Now.

If your income is less than $58,000, you're eligible for one or more offerings from Free File. Over time, the alliance has made changes to make the offerings easier to use, like eliminating pop-up advertisements for financial and other products, said Tim Hugo, the alliance's executive director. The software asks questions about your specific situation and guides you through completion of your tax return step by step.

Details of each offering may vary from company to company. To use the Free File offering from TurboTax's Free File software, for instance, your adjusted gross income must be $30,000 or less; it can be up to $58,000, however, if you are an active member of the military.

If you make more than $58,000, you're not eligible for Free File's tax preparation software. But anyone can use the free online version of federal tax forms, known as Free File Fillable Forms, regardless of income. The forms are essentially electronic version of the federal government's paper tax forms. With this option — it's best to be experienced at preparing your own tax return — you can complete your return online and file it electronically at no charge. You'll get minimal guidance from the system, though, and may have to do some calculations yourself.

This year's tax filing deadline is April 15; if you need more time, you can use Free File software to file for an extension.

Here are some additional questions to consider about Free File:

How do I know if I'm eligible for Free File tax software?

You qualify to use Free File software if your adjusted gross income, or AGI, for 2013 was $58,000 or less. The alliance suggests you refer to the return you filed for 2012 for a quick estimate of your 2013 income. If you used Form 1040EZ, you'll find your AGI on line 4; for form 1040A, it's line 21; and for form 1040, it's line 37.

How do I get access to the free online software?

You must go through the IRS website (irs.gov). You can browse the various options or fill out a questionnaire that will help you narrow down the choices. Once you select the software you want to use, the site will direct you to the website of the appropriate provider so you can complete your return. Don't go directly to the software maker's website without going to the IRS site first, though, or you may be charged a fee.

Are there any fees associated with using Free File?

There's no fee to use the software to prepare your federal return, or to file your return electronically. There may be a transaction fee if, for instance, you owe money and opt to pay your tax bill using a credit card, Hugo said.

Comments
Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Washington PostA former Facebook executive is making waves after he spoke out about his "tremendous guilt" over growing the social network, which he feels has eroded "the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other."Chamath Paliha...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Illegal card skimmer discoveries in Tampa Bay double in 2017

Illegal card skimmer discoveries in Tampa Bay double in 2017

State investigators have discovered more than double the number of credit card skimmers in the Tampa Bay area in 2017 than in 2016 — with still a few weeks left in the year. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found 54 skimmer...
Updated: 3 hours ago
French group to take over Westfield malls for $15.7 billion

French group to take over Westfield malls for $15.7 billion

Three Tampa Bay malls may soon be under new management. French real estate company Unibail-Rodamco has agreed to buy Australia-based shopping mall operator Westfield Corp. for $15.7 billion in cash and shares."Westfield would arguably be the best or ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa Bay’s mortgage delinquency rate crept up in September

Tampa Bay’s mortgage delinquency rate crept up in September

Times Staff WriterThe percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners who are late on their mortgage payments rose slightly in September, probably due to Hurricane Irma. According to CoreLogic, 7 percent of bay area mortgages were delinquent by at least 30 days c...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Unusual paddle design earns worldwide market

Unusual paddle design earns worldwide market

Paddling on the heels of the last supermoon of 2017, Phil Hughes navigated an uncommonly low tide off Dunedin through St. Joseph Sound on an effortless but lengthy glide.This is not easy water, nor an easy paddle, and could be especially daunting for...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Nicko's Fine Foods, classic diner and Seminole Heights icon, closes after six decades

Nicko's Fine Foods, classic diner and Seminole Heights icon, closes after six decades

Nicko’s Fine Foods, known as the place Elvis Presley ate following a 1956 concert and Tampa’s last classic prefabricated diner, has shut down after more than 60 years in business. Owners Karen and Nicholas Liakos could not be reached for...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Punit Shah’s Liberty Group building new Channel District hotel with Jameis Winston as limited investor

Punit Shah’s Liberty Group building new Channel District hotel with Jameis Winston as limited investor

TAMPA — Punit Shah’s Liberty Group announced plans Tuesday to start construction in January on a Channel District project that will include a Hampton Inn and Home2 Suites, both by Hilton, plus a Starbucks Coffee.Financing for the $40 million project ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Creating PDQ from scratch: CEO of growing brand came from Bucs’ front office

Creating PDQ from scratch: CEO of growing brand came from Bucs’ front office

Shortly after leaving his job as chief financial officer of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to strike out on his own as an entrepreneur, Nick Reader wondered if he’d made the right move. "I probably had one of the coolest jobs in Tampa," said Reader, 42. Si...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

The floor-to-ceiling glass windows are heavily tinted and the inside is hidden behind rows of curtains. Security cameras monitor every corner, and only patients with an appointment and valid identification can pass through the intentionally cramped e...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Noel Cruz seemed remarkably chill. As did his partner Kerem Koca. All around them in the Station House building in St. Petersburg, workers pounded the last nails, bartenders unpacked boxes of glassware and jewel-toned bottles of Amari, and the kitche...
Updated: 11 hours ago