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Time to File ITRs; Navigate Your 2023 Tax Filings With Cost-Free Options

A majority population struggles to file ITR and pays money to people who can help them file.
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

Filing an income tax return (ITR) is one of the trickiest and most mentally draining processes. Some prefer to file it on their own and others who wish to save tax or not have the hassle to fill it themselves hire a CA or a financial advisor. Filling ITR is like a person locked up in a maze of rules, provisions, sections, and most importantly deadlines. For the majority of the public, the ITR season turns out to be the most stressful as figuring out tax laws, and provisions with other documents is not an easy task. Despite all the challenges, it is crucial as well as mandatory to fill the returns and that too on time. But did you know that some ways can help you file your ITRs for free? Come, let's explore them.

Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Leelo The First
Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Leelo The First

A majority population struggles to file ITR and ends up paying hefty amounts to people who can help them navigate through the process. As per the report findings by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, in 2021 only 4% leveraged the benefits of the IRS Free File program whereas it was available to 70% of the eligible candidates. Most of the Americans who are eligible to file ITR pay other agencies when they can do it for free. Some of the taxpayers find it easy to get a professional and talk to them about their tax situation. On the other hand, continuously focuses on advertising the program and encouraging more number to file their ITRs using the IRS free file option. 

Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Mikhail Nilov
Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Mikhail Nilov

The process is pretty easy and individuals having a gross income of $79,000 or maybe less than that, are eligible to file ITR through the IRS Free File program. This program not only lets you file electronically but you can also take leverage of other commercial tax prep software from other companies for free. IRS Free File is not just one option for filing taxes at no cost, there are multiple options available but only in select states. Let's explore the other ones. 

Cost-Free Options for ITR Filing

Some of the free-filing options that you can consider this ITR season include:

1. IRS Free File: To help the taxpayers the IRS has listed down eight trusted tax preparation service providers which offer their services online. They could charge you or be free for you depending on some conditions. For instance, some of these would be free for you if your total earnings were less than $45,000 in 2023 while others might be free if you are a resident of a particular state. Finding the right software can be tricky, so the IRS has floated a questionnaire to help you select the software that would be the most affordable option for you.

2. IRS Direct File: The Internal Revenue System of IRS has launched a brand new tax prep software called the 'Direct File' and was made available for 12 states in 2023. Taxpayers whose income is less than $200,000 can go for this one. One downside to this option is that it can only process simplified returns for W-2 income and does not work with dividend or capital gains income, itemized deductions, or retirement account distributions. Additionally, the software does not support state returns and if you reside in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, or New York the software will take you to the state tool and will help you file returns accordingly. 

Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Mikhail Nilov
Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Mikhail Nilov

3. Other Free Options: Some of the other free options under the IRS include the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program which is an IRS-sponsored option in which taxpayers making $64,000 or less income are exempted from the costs. This is also free for persons having any disability or difficulty in speaking English. Another one is the AARP’s Tax-Aide service which is a lucrative option for people aged over 50 or who have low incomes. Free in-person tax help is available through trained volunteers located across the country. The last option is The Department of Defense which offers free tax aid to military persons, retired officers, and their family members.