Doing your taxes yourself?

Doing your taxes yourself?

Get some help

Last updated: February 2013

Take advantage of inexpensive tax-prep resources.

If you're gutsy enough to prepare your own tax return, take advantage of all the help available. Here are some good places to start:

  • The IRS. Its website contains instructions, forms, tax tips, and calculators. It might not be the friendliest site to navigate, but you'll find tons of information.
  • Software. In addition to their online offerings, the major tax-prep software programs for individuals and home businesses—TurboTax ($30 to $100 for federal editions), H&R Block At Home ($20 to $80 for federal), and TaxACT (free to $55 for federal)—are available on CDs or can be downloaded from the companies' sites.
  • Books. "J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2013" (Wiley, 2012) is a handy resource.
  • Click around. Look for discounts at retailers like Amazon and Costco, as well as at your bank, credit union, investment company, or labor union.
  • FreeFile. If your 2012 household adjusted gross income was no more than $57,000, you're eligible to use FreeFile from the IRS. FreeFile lets you electronically prepare and file your federal return free using software from one of several online tax-prep services. It might cost something to prepare and file state returns.
  • Online services. If you don't meet FreeFile eligibility, online services such as Express1040, FreetaxUSA, TaxACT, and TurboTax Federal Free Edition also offer free preparation and filing for relatively straightforward federal returns.

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