A Free Way to File Your Taxes This Year! (Federal + State)

by J. Money - Published January 31, 2018

tax guy

I know I know, taxes – ugh.

But I might have something for you that could save you hundreds of dollars this tax season, both in filing fees, as well as getting back the maximum refunds owed to you.

It’s a tool called MyFreeTaxes.com, and despite its somewhat spammy name I guarantee it’s legit ;)

Not only do I have a good friend who recently switched careers to work for its parent organization, but its parent organization is none other than mega charity United Way! I.e. the largest privately-funded charity in the entire world! (#TrueFact). MyFreeTaxes is one of their initiatives in fighting for “the financial stability of every person in our community,” and they’ve already helped close to 1 million people since launching in 2009, saving them $180+ million in fees in the process.

They also happen to be the only free, national, online tax filing product offered by a nonprofit, and is powered by H&R Block’s premium software making it even more robust and easy to file.

See – legit!

it's legit gif

But of course, there is a catch, however it’s a good one whichever way you look at it ;)

In order to qualify to use MyFreeTaxes, your total household income must not exceed $66,000 for the 2017 year, whether that’s W-2 income, freelance income, investment income, or a combination of all three. So if that’s you, great! Keep reading to learn more! And if not, great too! Congrats on making more than 70% of your fellow citizens!

But whether you qualify or not, I hope you’ll help me spread around the word so everyone else in our communities can learn about this great option too. Even a tweet or Facebook share can help, as we ALL know someone who makes less than $66k a year! And it covers *individuals* too, not just families, so it really does affect a ton of people.

Please help me share this around today!

Here are more details, and benefits, of the MyFreeTaxes program:

  • The average filing savings is about $200 using MyFreeTaxes
  • Most filers complete their taxes in under an hour
  • It’s powered by industry leader, H&R Block, which guarantees that tax returns are 100% accurate and uses the highest standards to safeguard taxpayer information
  • The software screens for refund and credit eligibility such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), to ensure filers receive their maximum tax refund
  • It’s easy to use; just upload a picture of your W-2 and MyFreeTaxes will automatically fill in your info
  • Filers can call, email or use the chat box to get assistance from IRS-certified professionals in real time (available from January 29th through April 30th, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, and between Noon and 9 p.m. EST on Saturdays)
  • Users can file federal taxes, and up to three state returns for free
  • There are specialized forms for self-employed filers
  • And they offer support in both English and Spanish

They also have an option for filing taxes in person, for those who prefer that instead. They’re called “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance” sites (VITAs), and the locations and other info can be found at MyFreeTaxes.com or by calling 1-855-My-TX-Help.

my free taxes banner

So yeah! A killer option for those who qualify! Please helps us get the word out as it can literally help millions of people in our country! 

Here’s the link again for anyone who wants to take advantage of this –> MyFreeTaxes.com

They’ve already saved people over $1 billion in refunds over the past 8 years, and they need our help in continuing it until we finally reach financial stability for all those around us. Which let’s be honest – is going to take a very long time :( So be thankful if you’re in the top 30% here who don’t qualify! What a luxury to be able to shoot for an early retirement!

UPDATE: I just got confirmation that the $66k is actually AGI (Adjusted Gross Income), so in actuality you can be earning much more than $66k and still qualify if you’ve got lots of deductions!! Making this even better!

*******
This post was in partnership with United Way and MyFreeTaxes.com, which as you know by now I’m a huge fan of ;) Programs like these are exactly what we need to be doing more of in our space, and I’m proud to be a part of supporting the mission.

Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lily | The Frugal Gene January 31, 2018 at 5:58 am

Love these free tax services! My husband and I shell out $50-80 dollars a year for those evil basta*ds at Turbo Tax who lobby to keep tax laws complicated so they can get more sales.

Sadly our situation is more complicated so we never qualify for free services…yet. Maybe some day. Great work spreading the word J!!!!

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2 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 6:33 am

Whaaaa? Do they really?

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3 Scott Shawcroft January 31, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Yes they do. The entire tax industry lobbies to keep taxes complicated so they can “innovate” to make it easier and charge you for it.

You are trading “great” services like myfreetaxes.com in exchange for the IRS not simply asking you to confirm they did your taxes right (known as return-free filing) even though they already do your taxes. The free filing services are included in that because its part of a deal the “Free File Alliance” has made with the IRS in exchange for the IRS not competing with the industry.

The latest full deal is here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/2015-seventh-free-file-mou.pdf The key non compete clause is buried in the first paragraph of article 2: “In recognition of this commitment, the federal government has pledged to not enter the tax preparation software and e-filing services marketplace.” They’ve traded free filing for 70% of Americans in exchange for the IRS not providing an easier, simpler, free service. However, the agreement also includes provisions to prevent any one provider from providing the mandated free services in one place (4.1.3i) which is why you have to hunt for a free provider that allows you to file for free. In practice, according to a report by Sen Warren, only 3% of the eligible 70% actually filed for free. The full report is here: https://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/Tax_Maze_Report.pdf

I recommend doing your taxes using IRS resources. The instructions are well documented on the IRS’s website. (I tried to link but links imply spam apparently) Don’t buy tax software when its on sale or use a free file website. It all still supports an industry who wants taxes to scary and hard.

I’ve done my taxes with the IRS forms the last few years and have screwed it up. However, the IRS has provided very clear instructions how it could be fixed. (One year they sent me a check because I missed the exemptions box.) That experience made it very clear to me that they already do our taxes. They just don’t tell us. The agreement with the Free File Alliance allows the IRS to work with tax payers after the return has been filed (4.37.4) (and they’ve made their money). Don’t be afraid to use it.

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4 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 2:56 pm

I think I’ll just stick to my accountant until the taxes get easier/more streamlined ;) I don’t mind spending money knowing its done right and I don’t have to worry about it… Many years she ends up finding me more money than I probably would have on my own anyways, so it all pays for itself.

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5 Josh January 31, 2018 at 8:42 pm

And for people that earn JUST w-2 employer income for the year (which is most tax filers in the U.S.) there’s literally no need for them to file taxes. What they pay in taxes every year is reported on every pay stub throughout the year, and the employers keep track of it. So by the end of the year, it’s already known if a person under or over paid. We could literally do away with all of this nonsense, and just have the money or bill sent to us. It’s a huge waste of time and money. :/

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6 J. Money February 2, 2018 at 10:10 am

Does make sense in theory, but how would you know who has W-2 money vs those who have others as well? Even without 2nd jobs or side hustles there’s still rental income $$$ and investment returns and all kinds of other income streams that effect a lot of people… I’m all for a more simplified process as taxes is the one area of finance where I want to punch myself in the face, but so many variables out there and doesn’t seem like any one has the right answer yet :( (Or if they do, it’s being hidden/lobbied against apparently!)

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7 Nick January 31, 2018 at 4:44 pm

Hey Lily – Have you checked out CreditKarma?

Not sure what your situation is, but they offer quite a bit for free.

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8 Josh January 31, 2018 at 8:28 pm

Yeah, I did my taxes for free with CreditKarma last year as well.

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9 [HCF] January 31, 2018 at 6:57 am

I am always happy when seeing words like free, charity and software together and from their combination, a good thing arise. Don’t relevant to me, but just because I am curious, this $66k limit stands for gross or net income? And maybe a more important question: for those who do not qualify for free service why don’t they give the opportunity tied to a donation?

This will be my first year when I have to file my taxes “myself” because I earned more than three times the national average. Thus I have to pay extra (luxury) tax on the surplus. It would be good if we have a service like that, but I am pretty sure that I will end up to pay for someone to do it for me.

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10 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Just confirmed with them – the $66k is actually AGI (“adjusted gross income), so in actuality you can be earning a LOT more than just $66k and still qualify! Even better!

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11 Cubert January 31, 2018 at 7:17 am

Oh I remember the day when taxes were soooo much easier. Then a small business happened. Then a few rental properties happened. And now there’s this new Airbnb non-sense.

We pay $700-$800 to a fine accountant for handling our mess. Part of me misses that good ol days of $50-$80 on Turbo Tax, but I’m not complaining about what the businesses have meant to our early retirement goals.

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12 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 9:31 am

Haha yup – with more hustle comes more responsibility :)

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13 Ms. Frugal Asian Finance January 31, 2018 at 7:44 am

I was excited for 2 seconds before I see the eligibility requirement. But it’s totally understandable. Thanks for spreading the word!

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14 Krystal @ Simple Finance Mom January 31, 2018 at 7:49 am

Wow! I love that people have this as an option. United Way is the bomb dot com. Hopefully people take advantage of this great resource!! Thanks for helping get the word out there. Sharing this post on FB!

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15 Mr Frugalcrib January 31, 2018 at 7:52 am

LOL, I guess I’m one of the few who actually enjoys doing taxes!

Although I’ve never tried MyFreeTaxes specifically, it looks like the 66k income limit is for AGI (Adjusted Gross Income), meaning that a LOT of people are eligible. You could get below $66,000 on a >$100,000 income with retirement deductions.

In our household we max out 2 401(k)’s and 2 IRA’s, which is already a 47k reduction in AGI.

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16 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 2:55 pm

Yes! You’re right!

Just confirmed it with them and will update the post here – good catch!! (And even better of course! :))

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17 Mike @ Balanced Dividends January 31, 2018 at 7:53 am

It’s nice to see a platform offer its services for free – thanks for sharing.

Similar to Lily’s comment above, we’re also consumed with either Turbo Tax or HR Block’s filing platform.

It kind of reminds me of cable companies…they’re the established, go-to’s now, but each year there will be more “streaming” competitors!

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18 Leo T. Ly January 31, 2018 at 8:03 am

I am a huge fan of filing my own taxes. I think that everyone should have basic knowledge of the basic deductions and income sources that are taxed preferentially. The more you know, the more money will stay in your pocket.

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19 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 9:36 am

I think that would be ideal, yes, but would be a lot less scarier if there were less penalties and crazy rules popping up trying to slip you up, haha… It would certainly be the gift that kept giving every year though if you did spend the time to work it all out.

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20 G January 31, 2018 at 8:33 am

I think as a condition of doing e-filing, online tax preparers have to offer a free basic version. TurboTax has a free offering. You have to pay the $30 if you want to import all your data automatically.

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21 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 9:37 am

I know that other places offer it too, but usually it’s just Federal right? Not state too?

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22 G January 31, 2018 at 9:50 am

I have no idea. I live in Florida, land of the free and home of no state income tax.

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23 Debbie January 31, 2018 at 8:38 am

We already filed our Federal & State taxes FREE thru Credit Karma with NO income requirements. It took less than an hour. You can join this service for free & they email your credit score free each month. They emailed me on Monday confirming that our filing was accepted by the IRS/State & refunds should hit our bank account in 3-4 weeks.

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24 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 9:38 am

Oh wow, really?? That’s pretty cool! I like those guys over there – I use them to monitor my credit as well.

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25 Debbie January 31, 2018 at 10:07 am

I found out last month about Credit Karma’s FREE Federal/State tax filings as it was mentioned on TV. It said 1 million people filed free last year so I gave it a try & it was easy & quick. Paid H&R Block $300 last year. Never again paying that fee! YAHOO!

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26 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Nice work!

Here’s an update from MyFreeTaxes on this too, in case it helps others:

“While Credit Karma does offer free tax prep with no income requirements, the forms and number of states they allow are limited. H&R Block provides its premium online tax filing software through MyFreeTaxes and always offers filing of federal and up to three state taxes for free. In addition, MyFreeTaxes provides more forms and guidance than any other free product on the market. The 2017 version includes beyond basic forms for your complex filing situations.”

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27 Debbie February 3, 2018 at 5:13 am

Just googled IRS “Where’s my refund” for the status of our refund. Credit Karma sent it to the IRS on the 1st day the IRS was accepting efiling last week. Our refund has been processed & approved & will hit our bank account on 2/7. Easy peasy & FAST! We didn’t even have to send pics of W2’s. Thank you Credit Karma! PS haven’t checked state refund status yet. They’re always slower.

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28 Debbie February 8, 2018 at 2:44 am

Federal tax refund deposited into our bank account yesterday! Never got it this fast before. Will use Credit Karma again if it continues to offer tax filing for free.

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29 J. Money February 8, 2018 at 6:22 am

Nice!!

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30 Sean @ Frugal Money Man January 31, 2018 at 8:43 am

Its always nice to see financial services that actually CARE and WANT to benefit their customers first, instead of their own wallets.

Thanks for the share!

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31 Budget on a Stick January 31, 2018 at 8:49 am

In Bloomington MN and some other cities in Minneapolis/St Paul you can get free tax prep and assistance if you meet certain requirements like that.

I wish every state offered Return Free Filing. Darn you tax software companies!!!

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32 Dave @ Married with Money January 31, 2018 at 9:24 am

Where in Bloomington? It’d be a good resource for me to direct some people to.

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33 OMGF January 31, 2018 at 9:25 am

I do my taxes by hand just to avoid paying filing fees for online services. This is awesome. I’ll definitely share.

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34 Rocky January 31, 2018 at 9:31 am

Just shared this with some of my friends! Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop J! It’s awesome that you haven’t forgot the little guys now that you’re rich and famous haha.

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35 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 9:40 am

Hah! I still very much feel like a little guy, believe me…. I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of the “college” mindset ;)

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36 Joe January 31, 2018 at 9:35 am

Very cool. I will check it out. We don’t qualify, but my parents do.
Is this an online thing? I like to do taxes locally in my computer. Doing taxes online is just add another way to lose your identity. Is that being paranoid?

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37 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 9:44 am

Yup – it’s an online thing. Well actually, they do have local places you can visit too, but I’m pretty sure all the filing is still done electronically there too. I’ve just stopped worrying about all the hacking and what not because unless you go completely off the grid it’s always going to be a possibility the way technology works these days… And the pros still very much override the (possible) cons, at least for me :)

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38 Bernz JP @Moneylogue.com January 31, 2018 at 10:07 am

I used this free tax options myself when I file my kids’ taxes. They only work part time so this is perfect for both of them. I do use FreeTaxUSA. This free tax service is really easy to use and they just keep getting better. We’re definitely in the electronic age.

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39 FullTimeFinance January 31, 2018 at 10:42 am

Very important message there J.

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40 Erin | Reaching for FI January 31, 2018 at 11:42 am

!!! This is me! I was sad that I’d have to pay to file with Tax Act this year because I have a 1099 for my side hustle, but I’m well under $66k so I can use this service instead! Thanks so much for sharing this information!

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41 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 3:04 pm

BOOM!!! Glad to hear!

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42 Gary @ Super Saving Tips January 31, 2018 at 12:02 pm

What a great resource! Thanks for sharing this info. I’m sure it will help a lot of people. It’s enough to have to pay the taxes…you shouldn’t have to pay fees just to file them.

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43 JoeHx January 31, 2018 at 12:03 pm

I’m ineligible do to income – a good problem to have. Instead I use free file fillable forms – https://www.freefilefillableforms.com. It’s more hands-on than other services as your filling out the actual tax forms online instead of having a computer do it for you. And it’s Federal only, you’ll have to figure out state and local separately.

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44 J. Money January 31, 2018 at 3:04 pm

Cool – thx for the resource :)

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45 Frankie January 31, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Tax time is definitely one of my favourite times of the year – in particular receiving those juicy Australian Fully-Franked dividend credits :)

Definitely converted to the DIY approach now, they’ve finally developed a decent, free tool here as well. Can’t believe I used to pay hundreds of dollars back in the day for someone else to do this….

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46 J. Money February 2, 2018 at 10:18 am

Yeah Australia!

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47 O January 31, 2018 at 7:39 pm

I used FreeTaxUSA last year and it has the same qualification criteria as far as I’m aware. Are there any caveats with MyFreeTaxes – such as not allowing certain Schedules A through whatever, or 1099MISC, for ‘weird’ (or investment, or etc.) forms of income, even if you’re still under the limit? The issues I had with TurboTax and H&R Block and so on was that they would only allow you to file for free if you were 1) poor and 2) only needed a 1040 or 1040EZ (and no other extra forms allowed). This wasn’t a problem with FreeTaxUSA. Is it an issue for MyFreeTaxes?
Thanks for the tip.

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48 J. Money February 2, 2018 at 10:25 am

Here’s a note they sent me over in response :)

“Great question, no caveats to MyFreeTaxes, we include Schedule A, C, 1099, etc. You can see a list of these forms here: https://www.hrblock.com/pdf/HRB-Online-Fed-Forms/TS18_HRB_Online_Fed_Forms_Self-Employed.pdf

And here is a list of our FAQs: https://www.myfreetaxes.com/faq.”

That link to the forms is two pages long, single-spaced :)

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49 Chris @ Duke of Dollars January 31, 2018 at 8:32 pm

Wonderful man! Thank you for sharing, will definitely pass it to anyone I can.

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50 J. Money February 2, 2018 at 10:25 am

Thank you, sir!

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51 Ben February 1, 2018 at 3:44 pm

I’ve used H&R Block for a handful of years now and been quite pleased – they also offer a federal & state free file (for those with what I’d term reasonably straightforward returns), with the stipulation you must be between the ages of 17-50, and have an AGI of <$64k.

For the first several years of filing taxes (from the time I was 16 to 22-23), I used paper and pencil :)

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52 J. Money February 2, 2018 at 10:26 am

hah – nice! old school!

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53 Menard Solve February 1, 2018 at 9:42 pm

Thanks for the tip. I’m kinda stuck with TurboTax. Well, I made it sound like it’s a bad thing, but I’m actually very satisfied with their service. It’s also convenient that I can carry over all the previous year’s information. I’ve been using it since I got audited 13 years ago. BTW, your taxes must be more complicated than usual this year having sold Rockstar.

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54 J. Money February 2, 2018 at 10:28 am

haha yeah – there’s always something that’s making my taxes wonky, but can’t complain too much :) I agree sticking with something you’re used to and like a lot is key. I pay more to use my accountant but it’s well worth every penny each year!

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55 [email protected] February 6, 2018 at 6:39 pm

Thanks for linking to this — I was planning to use H&R anyway, but though my income is low, my situation is complicated enough that I wouldn’t have qualified for their FreeFile. But I do qualify for this! Super useful.

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56 J. Money February 7, 2018 at 6:17 am

Great!! They have a lot of forms too for more complicated stuff, so hopefully you get exactly what you need with them :) Then you should blog about it for all you readers too!

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57 ZJ Thorne February 9, 2018 at 8:50 pm

This is great to know. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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58 Angela February 24, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Just wanted to say, thanks! long time lurker first time commenter… your post on free tax help – whaaaatt! I had no idea that is a thing, mostly because my sister is an accountant and has done my taxes every year. Of course, I pay her because honestly I don’t want to take advantage of family (plus the money goes to her adorable four kids, my nieces and nephews). However, it’s gotten more complicated since I moved out of state and have a few crazier regulations in my state. So all this to say, your post on free tax help was super helpful! And thanks to my high IRA contributions, my AGI is still low enough to qualify. (The goal is to quickly surpass that some time very soon though :))
Love the blog!!

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59 J. Money February 26, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Woo!!! So glad to hear it – thanks for letting me know! :)

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60 OceanGirl2233 February 25, 2018 at 11:02 am

I just finished my taxes using MyFreeTaxes.com – It was so easy to do. I truly appreciate you letting us know about this great service. I will definitely pass this information along to others (although most of my friends make more than $66k and I hope to join them very soon). :)

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61 J. Money February 26, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Yay!! Double win this weekend haha, love it. Way to take advantage of it, and thanks for passing on the word!

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62 Nancy March 10, 2018 at 1:49 pm

I just used myfreetaxes.com – I loved it. Just have all your pdf’s ready to drag and drop, also your last years tax return. It was very easy. I have used a lot of different vendors for this, and this one is my favorite! Thanks J. Money for the tip!

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63 J. Money March 12, 2018 at 7:04 am

very cool!! so glad to hear that!! :)

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