Let me apologize in advance to my accountant friends and other tax preparers, but I don’t think I have ever paid to file my income tax returns.
I know my dad helped me with the paperwork when I was a teenager. But for most of my adult years I have filed electronically sans fees, which means free and fast refunds for me.
You can file free too, if your Adjusted Gross Income is $58,000 or less. And according to the Internal Revenue Service, about 70 percent of federal taxpayers fit that bill. So before you purchase pricy tax preparation software, look into this.
Once you determine whether you AGI falls below the cap, the next step is to choose a free file company. I have used H&R Block Free File and TurboTax Freedom Edition. Both of these sites also allow users to electronically file the completed forms. I e-filed earlier this month and received my refund via direct deposit in less than a week.
I traditionally have not used the free file companies for my state income tax returns because of the fees. But according to the Virginia Department of Taxation, beginning this year eligible taxpayers can free file state income tax returns using these preparers.
Too bad I didn’t know that before I filed my federal return. I filed with pen and paper by snail mail and my state refund still was processed pretty quickly.
If you filed your returns and want a cool app to track your refund, check out my colleague Jenny Kincaid Boone’s post on the Storefront blog.
Jenny also asked readers to post tax filing tips there. What I want to know is: If you’re getting a refund, how do you plan to spend it?
Sadly, a chunk of my refund already went car repairs.