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IRS offers free options for online tax filing

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Tax time. It’s the time of year you either get a refund or give the government even more money. Either way, if you’re looking to save a little cash, did you know you can file your federal taxes for free?

“Any taxpayer is now able to file a federal tax return free of charge online,” Mark Hanson with the IRS said.

It’s free 24 Hours a day, seven days a week. All you do is log on to http://freefile.irs.gov.

“It could save taxpayers a significant amount of money by taking advantage of these free preparation services,” Hanson said.

The IRS has two programs available: Free File, which is for tax filers who make less than $57,000 a year; and the fillable forms option, which is for everyone else.

Free File allows taxpayers to use software, like Turbo Tax, to prepare and e-file your taxes.

“That software will ask you questions. Based upon how you answer those questions, it will prepare your return for you,” Hanson said. “It will fill out the form for you, whereas if you use the fillable form, you are actually filling out the form yourself.”

The fillable form option is for people who are comfortable filling out tax forms without any software help.

Nothing beats getting your federal taxes prepared for free, but when it comes to knowing what exactly you can deduct that’s when it can get a little confusing.

“It would be difficult if you’re not sure and this is all foreign for you,” said Rona Watson at Jackson Hewitt, a tax prep company.

Tax preparers agree the IRS program is a nice money saving option for taxpayers, but “it can be daunting and scary not knowing, because if you try to do it yourself, if you’re attacking it yourself, there may be some forms you should’ve filed, there may be some deductions that you could’ve gotten that you did not get,” Watson said.

So while you do have some money-saving options this tax season, it’s up to you to figure out which one you’re comfortable with.

You can use Free File until April 17.

At some Jackson Hewitt offices, you can get your tax return prepared for free if you qualify for the 1040EZ program.

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