One for you, nineteen for me. Or just e-file for free.

If you’re like me, you’ve been putting it off for as long as humanly possible – but it’s time, my friend. April 17th will be here soon: it’s tax time. Luckily, however, the days of forgetting to include a deduction and having to white-out your 1040 are gone – anyone can file online and let someone else do the math (though it never hurts to double-check).  There are a couple of options for your federal taxes, depending on your income and confidence in your tax-filing capabilities:

  • Free File Tax Software: if your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in 2011 was $57,000 or less, you qualify for free tax-preparation software which will submit your return electronically for no fee. AGI is your total income, minus exemptions and deductions.  According to the IRS, about 70% of taxpayers qualify for this program – to get started, you can either have the IRS help you find a company that works for you or browse a list of companies. Depending on the company you use, you may also be able to perform your state tax filing with the same software.
  • Free Fillable Forms: even if you don’t qualify for the free software, you can file for free online by using online forms. These don’t have the guided, step-by-step wizards found in software – they’re just online versions of the 1040A, 1040, or 1040EZ that do some very basic calculations for you. If you’re confident filling out your 1040 and want the speed of electronic filing, this is the option for you.
  • Paid Tax Return Software: if you want the guided help of software, but don’t qualify for Free File, you’ll have to buy your own. Companies like H&R Block, TurboTax, or TaxACT sell software you can either buy online or off the shelf. Be sure to look for the IRS-tested and –approved software, as well as the official IRS e-file logo.

Remember to file your state return as well – which is always free if you file through their web site. Good luck – and try not to get too stressed out. You can always listen to George Harrison whine about taxes, if you want to put your situation in perspective.

Visit our Tax Resources page for more tax related information and resources.

The Denver Public Library does not carry state or federal tax forms. Library staff members do not provide tax advice. Tax forms may be printed from the web or picked up from the locations listed below. Libraries have reproducible forms that can be copied. It is always best to call your local branch to verify availability of current reproducible forms.

Written by nate on March 27, 2012

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