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Tax laggards can still file for free

By Kay Bell ·
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Posted: 4 pm ET

© Nadezhda 1906/, © Garry L./Shutterstock.comThe tax-filing deadline still looms for around 12 million of us.

Yes, I used "us" intentionally. I am one of those folks who got an extension until Oct. 15 to file my Form 1040.

I have tax software waiting for me to use it. But many of my fellow tax procrastinators can still take advantage of free tax-filing options.

The IRS' Free File program remains in effect for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income last year was $58,000 or less. That income threshold applies to individuals as well as families.

Other free-filing entities are still offering taxpayers who got extensions -- or neglected to file in the first place -- the opportunity to get their forms in at no cost.

Other free-filing options

One of them is This free tax-filing program has been helping qualifying taxpayers file since 2009. It's a partnership between Goodwill Industries International, the National Disability Institute and United Way.

H&R Block provides the software and the Walmart Foundation -- yep, the philanthropic arm of one of the world's biggest retailers -- provides funding.

Like the IRS' Free File program, MyFreeTaxes has an income cutoff of $58,000.

So why should you consider using it instead of Uncle Sam's option?

"Filing is the most important thing," says Brad Turner-Little, director of mission strategy at Goodwill Industries International in Rockville, Maryland.

Credits available

Not only is submitting a tax return required by the law, it also can pay off for filers.

One of the motivators of the three MyFreeTaxes founding organizations was the value that tax filing has for lower-income taxpayers.

"The tax-filing process for households that are lower income can be very beneficial," says Turner-Little. "They can access credits, such as the earned income tax credit and child care credit."

Now in its sixth year, MyFreeTaxes says it has helped families claim nearly $8 billion in tax credits and refunds.

More state options

If you have state tax obligations -- that's most of us, since only seven states have no personal income tax at all -- then you must file a return with that jurisdiction, too.

Or jurisdictions.

When you move in a tax year, you likely will face filing state returns for all the states in which you live.

Some of the IRS Free File tax software partners do offer free online filing of state returns in addition to federal forms.

But not all. And in some cases there are additional qualifications a taxpayer must meet to use Free File for state returns.

MyFreeTaxes, however, allows eligible filers to submit up to three state returns for the same tax year at no cost. It's the only free-file option available for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, says Turner-Little.

So if you were on the move in 2013 and haven't yet filed your federal and state tax returns, it might be worth checking out the program.

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Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes" and co-author of the e-book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook."

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Gloria Collier
September 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm

where can I go in the St. Louis area to get federal and state delinquent taxes file for free?

Gerold Toler
May 31, 2014 at 9:12 am

Where can I go in New Jersey (Newark and surrounding areas) to get my Federal and State done for free.