We're now in peak tax filing season. And these days, many of us file free through the IRS website www.irs.gov.
But it's not as simple as just going to the IRS site and filling out your taxes, and it turns out there are quite a few catches.
The Free File section at www.irs.gov will link you to more than a dozen difference companies that will let you file free of charge.
Sounds simple. But many of these sites will try to "upsell" you to a paid program, almost from the start. Don't give them a credit card number.
Another thing that trips up some taxpayers: you must earn less than $57,000 a year. But since most Americans do, what's not a problem for most taxpayers.
Doesn't that Stink?
But from the Doesn't that Stink file, three common catches you may encounter with the free file programs.
Catch No. 1: You may still have to pay as much as $30 to file your state return.
Catch No. 2: If you choose Turbotax -- the No. 1 program -- the income limit is not $57,0000. The limit is just $31,000 for most people.
Catch No. 3: Free filing from several services, including Liberty Tax and 1040.com , require you to be under the age of 53. If you are 55, you may say "doesn't that stink?"
The good news: There are enough options, so you should be able to find another service that will take you.
Will the IRS ever make free filing easy and free for everyone? Tax advisors say no, not as long as there is a whole industry built around tax filing.
But it's still worth checking out these sites to see if you qualify and so you don't waste your money.
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