Filing Taxes for Free with FreeTaxUSA

I wrote last year about asking around about alternatives to TurboTax and someone suggested FreeTaxUSA. After reading some reviews, it looked very promising but, since I had already filed my taxes for last year, I didn’t have personal experience with it. Well, now I do, and I highly recommend giving it a try.

For me, the experience was just as good as – and perhaps better than – using TurboTax. It started out by allowing me to import my information from the PDF of my taxes I downloaded from TurboTax last year, and that worked really well. I’m guessing that if I had stuck with TurboTax a few more things would’ve been pre-filled in, but I really didn’t notice much difference. After that, FreeTaxUSA steps you through filling out your taxes in a similar manner to TurboTax. It’s not quite as flashy as TurboTax, but I actually prefer that. It was very straightforward, quick and easy.

While we don’t have a terribly complicated return, it’s also not as simple as some folks’ returns. We have interest from multiple places (Ally, BlockFi, Wunder Capital), capital gains (from LendingClub), dividends (from Vanguard), HSA contributions (on our own, not through an employer), health insurance subsidy stuff (started getting health insurance through the exchange in August), and self-employment income (book sales, teaching financial classes, tutoring). FreeTaxUSA handled it all just fine and, as far as I can tell, just as well as TurboTax did. The only thing I couldn’t do was take my refund as an I Bond which they don’t support (choices were electronic refund, refund as Visa gift card, or mail a check) but it appears as though TurboTax does.

FreeTaxUSA allows you to file your federal taxes for free, although you can choose the “Deluxe Edition” for $6.99 which provides you real-time support and audit assistance. If you want to use it to file your state taxes, they charge $14.99 (which is still quite reasonable). Since Colorado allows us to file out taxes online for free, I’m doing that, but the process of completing my Colorado state taxes using FreeTaxUSA was seamless (the only step I didn’t do was use it to actually file my taxes).

So, if you currently use TurboTax (or some other tax preparation software) and aren’t able to file for free, it’s probably worth your time to check out FreeTaxUSA. For that matter, if you’ve been paying someone to do your taxes, it’s also probably worth checking out (unless you have a really complicated situation). If anyone tries it out, or another free software choice, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.

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