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Filing Your Taxes for Free

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Video Transcript

Welcome to Financial Literacy 1 - Saving Your Money.

Today you can learn how to file your taxes for free. Are you tired of giving your tax refund away? You can learn to do your own taxes. It's free, it's easy, it's quick and it's painless. You simply follow these easy steps.

Number one, start by gathering your most important papers. The tax return from the previous year, all W2s from last year, any Social Security payments you or one of your dependents may have received, unemployment payment forms, Social Security numbers for all family members and dependents, any taxable scholarships you've received, 1099s or other income forms.

Then, visit the website www.irs.gov. On the screen, find the Filing and Payments tab. Under that, find the Free File button. Now, you need to make a decision. How do you want to file your federal taxes? If you choose the traditional free file, you want tax software with step-by-step help. It's free tax preparation and e-filing if your adjusted gross income is a certain amount or less. It asks simple questions and puts your answers on the right forms. It does all the math for you, and then checks for accuracy. You get quick access to the most commonly filed federal tax forms and schedules for a traditional free file.   Some software companies may offer state tax preparation. However, be aware that fees may apply.

Step five: review the top frequently asked questions. What are the tax changes for this year? Is there an age limit on claiming my children as dependents? How much does an unmarried dependent student have to make before she or he has to file an income tax return? For head of household filing status, do you have to claim a child as a dependent to qualify? What should I do if I made a mistake on my federal return that's already been filed? What is a split refund? These are a few of the frequently asked questions that you can find answers to.

Number six: click on one of the buttons -- I will choose a company, or, help me find a company. Companies provide this service free to individuals meeting income guidelines. The Free File Alliance offers the most commonly filed forms and schedules for taxpayers. Important notice: Kentucky does not provide free e-filing for residents. So, when choosing a company, ask yourself, do I need to file a state tax return as well? Does the company you are choosing provide the state e-file? How much do they charge for state filing? What is the AGI for the company? What is the age limit for the company? Do you have all of the information and forms you need before you start?

Here are some companies that provide state e-filing after free federal filing. Be aware that different companies charge different rates. Also, you must understand that state filing fees must be paid by debit or credit card and cannot be deducted from tax refunds. Remember, if you have a bank account, it can make your tax refund faster, usually within 7 to 10 days. Without an account, it can take 3 to 4 weeks.

You can possibly save hundreds of dollars by e-filing yourself. Your student support services staff appreciates your participation in this workshop. We hope you learned something that will make your college career at MCTC more successful. Thank you.