Free tax return e-filing? You could end up paying

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If you earn less than $60,000 a year you are should be able to file your  taxes free. But caution: many people who think they are free filing end up getting charged in the end.

To file your taxes free of charge, go to the IRS web site and click on the Free File section.  You will see more than a dozen tax preparers, from H&R Block to Jackson Hewitt and other companies, offering free filing in 2015.

But one problem is many people don't do that.  They file through TurboTax.com, H&R Block.com even low-cost provider TaxAct.com, and they end up getting hit with processing  fees, state filing fees, or other charges.

It's a simple mistake to make, but it can cost you $40 or more. You need to enter through the IRS portal to be sure you have the free service.

There are other catches as well.

  1. You may still have to pay as much as $30 to file your state return with some programs, even through the IRS free file system. Solution?  Try filing your state taxes directly through the state's tax website.  In many cases, that is easy....and free.
  2. A second catch: lower income limits that can trigger fees. If you choose TurboTax -- the #1 program -- the income limit for 2015 is not $60,000 but rather just $31,000 for most people. So, before you begin the process, look at the income limits, which are listed on the IRS Free File page.
  3. A third catch: Age limits. Free filing from H&R Block requires you to be age 53 or younger.  At Jackson Hewitt you must be 49 or younger. If you are in your 50s, even if you look as young as Madonna, you may say, "Doesn't That Stink?"

The good newis that there are enough options that you should be able to find another service that will take you, no matter your age.

Bottom line:  Watch for traps when free filing.

And remember to enter through the IRS's free filing portal at http://www.irs.gov so you Don't Waste Your Money.

 

 

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17 comments

  • Dave Francis (@DaveFrancis8)

    Unknown to most Americans is some of the ramifications of Obama’s ‘Free-for-All’ of the abhorrent amnesty program for the 5 million illegal aliens. How many Americans have spent their working life, trying to collect enough credits for their Social Security retirement? Some people will get the maximum, while others through sickness or other medical problems will have to rely on such programs as SSI. But what to me is nauseous, if illegal aliens are granted amnesty they will be able to collect Earned Income Credits (EITC) and as a report indicates that even if they never paid a cent into the system, they can still receive your tax money,

    Although the Liberal Press stays silent and this administration disavowals any knowledge of it, unknown numbers of the 5 million illegal aliens are receiving food stamps, and also Obamacare including chits for federal housing. With the President placing restrictions on US Border Patrol only to detain, process and release leaving agents dumbfounded and unable to control the low morale within the ranks.

    This is nothing new as the IRS, not only issued ITIN numbers to foreign nationals, but have completely disregarded the massive fraudulent appropriation of illegal aliens stealing your tax money using Child Tax credits. Democrat now minority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) had been informed about the $4-7 Billion dollar thefts, but refused to do anything about it. The IRS recognized that were using bogus IRS forms and also aware of it, but still forwarded checks to not only a millions dollars to one address in Dallas, Texas, but even to suspected recipients in foreign countries.

    We are now in the final phase of the Obama plan. Despite the Republicans taking control of the House and Senate there is growing concern that the lure of power has consumed them. Too many politicians are drunk of power, high on a power trip that makes them believe they can do anything they want. That’s why it is absolute mission critical that we stay on top of them. Even today the border is badly enforced and our laws dumped by the Obama administration. Nor should we trust either the top Democrat and GOP elitists, because they are both the marionettes in abeyance of big business and special interests. Only the moderate Conservatives want to fight off the illegal alien invasion. We, the American people cannot count out that their might be trickery in the works between Obama and Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio)

    Three House committees held separate hearings yesterday on the curtailment in interior immigration enforcement, legislation to crack down on asylum fraud, and the potential for amnestied illegal aliens to access the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), even if they never paid income taxes. The hearings took place as Senate Democrats continued to filibuster legislation (H.R. 240) that would fund the Department of Homeland Security for the rest of the fiscal year while preventing implementation of the president’s executive amnesties.

    Dan Cadman, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on interior immigration enforcement and emphasized the links between effective immigration enforcement, public safety, and the plight of the middle class. Cadman said, “We are on the verge of having created a de facto ‘go-free-zone’ wherein almost everyone who manages to get past the first defenses of the Border Patrol directly at the border lives and works unlawfully, with almost nothing to fear in the way of consequences for their actions.” .

    Cadman also addressed Administration policies that have severely damaged law enforcement’s ability to find, hold, and deport criminal aliens, including the prosecutorial discretion abuse, ending detainer’s for criminal aliens, and the termination of the Secure Communities program.

    The House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee held a hearing on several enforcement bills from the last Congress, including the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, U-Utah. The bill would tighten the standard for “credible fear,” which the vast majority of border surge aliens used to remain in the U.S. after illegal entry. It also would restrict the rules governing release from detention under parole authority, which the Administration has used to release detainees before their claims are adjudicated.

    Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., said it is too easy to game the system now. He noted that most border surge aliens have been released into the population with orders to appear before judges but many will never show up. “In the end, it doesn’t matter how many aliens are apprehended along the border, if apprehension itself becomes a golden ticket into the country,” Goodlatte said.

    The House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing to focus on a variety of issues facing the Internal Revenue Service, including payments to illegal aliens. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the subcommittee that illegal aliens who receive a Social Security Number under President Obama’s executive amnesty will be able to claim the EITC, as well as back refunds, even if they didn’t pay taxes while working illegally. They will just have to show they were employed. Testifying in the Senate last week, Koskinen said that only those who had paid taxes while working illegally would be eligible.

    Kosinen said about 700,000 illegal aliens now pay taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, but the president’s unilateral actions would expand the number eligible for the EITC and back refunds by at least 4 million. The maximum annual credit is between $500 and $600 for an individual.

    It is time for GOP hierarchy—not the Tea Party Republicans who fight against their own, to put an end to the destruction on American families that Obama’s cheap labor policy national impact or Obama’s call for voters, legal and unlawful. Get ready for battle. We need to march all over Washington. Plaster our messages all over the offices of our elected officials. Get in their faces. We urge you to call your Representative and Senators (the Capitol Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044) and demand that they vote to defund Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty and protect American jobs for American workers. Do not suppress the pressure in fact increase it on Washington as it your nation, your employment and the shrinkage of your pay check.

    Are you ready to help us stop him and end amnesty for illegal aliens once and for all—before the true and final destruction begins? You the American people, have ALL the power of your vote. If the Southern border stays open, with this President directives to overrun this country with foreign nationals the citizens will suffer dearly, including massive tax increases to financially support the 5 million already here and those waiting to escape poverty from around the world.