Taxes are inevitable and often unpredictable. For families living on a tight budget, paying a certified public accountant (CPA) to calculate, prepare and file taxes each year may not be feasible financially. Instead, consider using the many free resources provided by tax preparation companies and the IRS. From tax planning calculators that you can use year-round to user-friendly software that makes filing a cinch, there are plenty of online resources that can help ease your tax season.
Tax Calculators and Estimators
Constantly changing tax laws, fluctuations in income and lists of deductions can make it difficult for the “average” tax payer to determine each year how much – if any – tax will be due to or refunded by the IRS. To reduce uncertainty, several tax-filing companies offer free online tax calculators and estimators. At 1040.com, for example, filers can calculate the amount of tax they will owe or the amount of the refund they will receive. Other kinds of free tools include calculators that help estimate payroll withholdings, self-employment taxes, and other figures.
Free Tax Filing from the IRS
The IRS offers “Free File,” which makes it possible for a tax payer to prepare and e-file his or her Federal income taxes for free. For the 2014 tax year, tax payers with adjusted gross incomes of $58,000 or less can qualify to use the Free File brand-name software for free. According to the IRS, approximately 70 percent of all tax filers have adjusted gross incomes of less than $58,000. Several tax filing companies offer Free File software, although the eligibility criteria varies among them. A complete list of Free File companies is available at IRS.gov.