Apr

16

Bwog Finance: Do Your Taxes For Free

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The official logo of the IRS (Internal Revenue Service)

Now that you’re saving/earning so much money budgeting, using your student checking account, and investing, Bwog Finance is going to teach you how to pay your taxes! Yep, that’s right, you don’t want the federal government auditing you for not paying taxes on all your earnings. You may owe the feds some money, but at least we can tell you how to file your taxes for free (bye, Turbo Tax). Remember: send any questions to finance@bwog.com for our next column!

Doing your taxes is notoriously hard, and you never know if you’re doing it right. Like, somehow, this year, instead of getting a tax return I owe the federal government money? Unreal.

Tomorrow is Tax Day. This column might be coming a little late, but I just learned about a hush-hush government-contracted nonprofit that will literally do your federal taxes for you for free (shoutout to fellow Bwogger Zack Abrams for listening to NPR and keeping me posted on the latest finance info).

If you still haven’t prepared your taxes for tomorrow, this nonprofit could help you out. It’s called Free File Alliance. It’s a coalition of 13 private tax prep companies (like the makers of Turbo Tax and H&R Block) with a contract with the federal government. It’s available to 70% of tax-paying Americans, or anyone making under $66,000. Even though it’s contracted with the government (or, maybe, because it’s contracted with the government) it’s not well-known: the IRS’ advertising/marketing budget is literally zero dollars, thanks to lobbyists. And the for-profit companies that make up the Free File Alliance have no incentive to offer their products for free, so they don’t. But they’re still there!

You can read more about the nitty-gritty details/politics behind the Free File Alliance here, thanks NPR. You can also learn more about the Free File Alliance from the reputable source howtogeek.com. Here’s how to use the service:

  1. Go to this .gov link to see all the free tax software available.
  2. Choose one of the software.
  3. Make sure you have all the necessary documents handy (social security #s, last year’s tax return, income forms, receipts).
  4. You will need to create an account in order to download/use the tax software. And then you can do your taxes for free! I’m not gonna do that part, because my taxes are done, so I’m finishing the how-to list off here. Plus, I feel like from there things are pretty self-explanatory. Good luck!

IRS logo via Wikimedia Commons.

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