Free (for Federal Taxes) Alternative to TurboTax

Thanks to Courtney Petros, today I learned about FreeTaxUSA tax preparation software. We were discussing filing taxes and I mentioned that I used to file by hand using the paper forms, but when the IRS stopped mailing them I gave in and switched to TurboTax.

At the time, I think it was about $30 and I convinced myself that was okay. Since then the price has continued to go up (especially because I have a little bit of self-employment income which means I have to upgrade to a more expensive version of TurboTax). While the product itself is fine, I was still frustrated with the expense and the fact that we can’t file for free directly with the IRS.

Courtney said that she used FreeTaxUSA and, at least initially, it looks like a good alternative. (I already filed our taxes this year, so I haven’t used it myself yet, although I may go in and mess around with it later this week.) It appears to be easy to use, although with fewer bells and whistles than TurboTax, so you have to be reasonably confident about what you are doing. The big advantage, of course, is that it’s free. They do charge $14.99 to file your state taxes (I submit Colorado taxes for free through the Colorado state website), and the deluxe version of the federal return is $6.99 which gets you some additional support, which is how they make their money. They are an authorized IRS e-file provider, so they should be secure and legitimate.

I took a look at several reviews (specifically this one and this one and glanced at a few others), and they all seem to agree that it’s exactly what it purports to be and works well as long as you feel fairly confident about what you are doing.

So, I thought I’d share it for those of you who may not have completed your 2020 taxes yet, or who might want to explore using it in the future. If any of you have used it, please leave a comment below and share your experiences.

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