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IRS offers Free File program

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ATLANTA -

Tax filing season is officially open for business, and this year there are a couple of things you should know: Your refund will take longer to get back to you, and you can file for free.

Because of the fiscal cliff debate that ran so late last year, the IRS says it got behind in programming their computers which delayed forms and instructions. The system is about eight days behind.  The earlier you start the better.

But here is some good news, the IRS's free electronic tax filing program is now open.

The File Free Program is part of a partnership with 20 software companies. They're offering their services through the IRS. Here are the guidelines:

  • Adjusted Gross Income $57,000 or less
  • For individual not businesses
  • Sole proprietors who file Schedule C with Form 1040
  • IRS.GOV "File Free" Icon

Your adjusted gross income last year has to be $57,000 or less. Free File is not for businesses, just individuals; however, a sole proprietor who files Schedule C with Form 1040 can use Free File.
    
You do not download anything. What you do is pick a Free File company that suits your needs and your information stays on their encrypted site. They file it from there for you.

To find out more about Free File, it is recommended you go to www.irs.gov and click on the File Free icon.  There is a fear that outside groups offering that link will take you to their own sites, then steal your identity.  

If you don't have access to a computer, some retailers have kiosks where you can be helped through an in-person file free program. Look for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program - or VITA - to know that you are in the right place.

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