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Most Americans who earn money can’t avoid the inevitable: filing their taxes.
This year’s tax season has a twist.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for the first time, will allow Some taxpayers can file online for freeDirect File, a pilot project, allows customers to submit their tax returns directly to the IRS by using the agency’s in-house software. Customer service is also available.
Direct File will be available only to those invited by the IRS at first. Only taxpayers from Arizona, California, Florida Massachusetts, New Hampshire New York, Nevada South Dakota Tennessee Texas Washington and Wyoming are eligible.
As it evaluates the program’s performance, the IRS plans to make it more accessible to people in these states.
You should still consider all your options to file online in 2024, since the program is only available to a small fraction of taxpayers. The IRS’s Free File program offers free access both to tax preparation software provided by certain private companies and paid services offered by private companies.
Ruth Susswein of the advocacy nonprofit Consumer Action told Mashable, “It’s ideal for taxpayers to have all their information before starting their return.” This includes your Social Security Number and the Social Security Numbers of any dependents you may have, as well all tax forms that you’ve received like a W-2 form or 1099s.
Susswein said: “This isn’t fun for anyone, but try to make it the least painful experience possible.”
When will the IRS accept tax returns?
If you want to complete the 2023 season of taxes as soon as possible you can file a return by Jan. 29, 2024. The deadline for filing is April 15, 2020.
Direct File is a file sharing program.
Direct File will be a pilot program that is initially only open to invited guests. Direct File will initially be available to certain government employees, but will then be made available to all residents in the 12 states that qualify, according to the IRS.
Direct File’s rollout is worth watching, given the convenience it aims to provide. Direct File, for example, does not require you to download or buy software. It is also available for mobile devices and in both English and Spanish.
The service guides taxpayers through the process of filing their return and provides a check-list to review progress. Users will receive a summary for their taxes in 2023 at the end. The service offers live assistance from an IRS Direct File customer support representative.
If you live in a participating state, you should monitor the IRS Direct File WebsiteUpdates. You can also update your browser. Direct File newsletter. The IRS expects to expand access to the pilot by mid-March.
The IRS told Mashable the agency wants to know more about Direct File by piloting it. The agency will make a decision about its future — and whether to make it a nationwide initiative — at a later date.
Direct File does not have an income limit, but it is designed to be used for simple returns. You won’t be eligible if your income is from the gig economy, business, or if you itemize deductions or claim credits such as the Child and Dependent care creditYou can also find out more about Saver’s Credit.
Free File: Can I Use It?
Free File is an IRS service that is offered at no cost to taxpayers with a gross income of $79,000 or less. Free File is not an IRS-developed software. Instead, it offers taxpayers a choice of tax preparation software provided by several private companies. The software is available from several private companies. IRS Free File PartnersInclude TaxSlayer and TaxAct.
To access the free tax software, you need to go to the IRS WebsiteStart your return. If you go directly to the Free File partner website, you won’t be able to download the software.
Former TurboTax’s Free File partner “tricked” usersProPublica reports that many people are being forced to pay money for a return they could have gotten for free. TurboTax has ceased to be a partner of Free File.
Free File is designed as a guide to help taxpayers complete their tax return. Some partners also allow users to file their state taxes. The service is available both in English and Spanish.
If you are over the income limit, you can use Free File. Free Fillable FormsIRS online service to file your tax return. These computerized returns allow users to enter their information but there is no software that guides them through the process.
Paid tax preparers
You can hire a tax preparer if you don’t want to or can’t use Direct File or Free File or the IRS’s free fillable forms. Household names like H&R Block and TurboTax offer paid tax preparation services, as do local and regional accounting firms.
The exception is Qualified programsMost tax preparation services, such as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or Tax Counseling for Elderly are not free. The majority of tax preparation services are not offered for free. Federal Trade Commission found TurboTax to be fraudulentThe company marketed their tax products and services to consumers as “free”, when they were actually not eligible.
The commission banned TurboTax, Intuit’s parent company from claiming that a product is free unless it was available to all consumers or if its advertising made it clear who was eligible.
What are the advantages of filing electronically?
Filing online is free for those who qualify for Direct File and Free File. Also, you can get your refund faster by efiling and choosing direct deposit.
Susswein advises taxpayers to file even if they don’t have any tax debts for the previous year. This will ensure that they get the rebate. Earned Income Tax Credit, if they qualify. Susswein explained that the credit was designed to help low- and moderate-income workers get money from their federal returns. Parents with three children or more can receive up to $7,430 and a single person without children can get as much as $600.
Consumer Action offers a guide for who qualifies to receive the EITCHow to claim your credit.
Beware of scams and anticipation loans
Susswein warns taxpayers to be aware of scams and refund advances.
Susswein stated that refund advance offers a partial tax refund at a cost of up to a large amount, including fees and interest. Susswein stated that refunds are usually received within 21 days following electronic filing. If you wait to make an advance during this period, you will get the full refund amount without paying any fee.
Be skeptical about attempts to get your personal and financial data during tax season. Susswein advised that if suddenly you receive a message from someone claiming to be an IRS employee, especially via email or text, do not give out any sensitive information. These inquiries are almost certainly scams designed to take advantage of stressed-out tax payers.