Any free tax checking available?

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In previous years I've always used TaxAct.  I liked their software and the interface was friendly and easy to use.  Last year (for tax year 2015) when they moved everything to essentially a purchase only software if you have to file a standard 1040, I really didn't like coughing up $40 just to be able file one form and have it be able to calculate credits.

This year I figure I'll use the IRS fillable forms, but the onus is essentially on me to make sure everything is correct. I've never actually used this service before but I just don't see the value in coughing up $40 just to file a 1040.   Is there any software that you can at least enter your numbers on the forms and it can check to make sure everything looks good before I file?

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FrankDooley said:   Is there any software that you can at least enter your numbers on the forms and it can check to make sure everything looks good before I file?
 

  
Define "looks good"... just to check your math, IRS Free Fillable Forms.

You can put all your info into TaxAct/hrblock online without paying, and see what your return/payment should be. Then do the forms by hand, and make sure you come up with the same ending number.

CreditKarma has opened up their newly acquired tax service, at least for me having 'signed up' with them. They may be rolling it out in phases.

I've only spent a short time getting personal info entered, but it seems fine so far and is free. My understanding is it supports most forms and situations, and has no cost for any of them. It offered an option to 'sync' data with the creditkarma credit information service, basically in order to Target suitable ads. I declined, it was optional. It also shows a 'state' link that I haven't explored yet.

daw4888 said:   You can put all your info into TaxAct /hrblock online without paying, and see what your return/payment should be. Then do the forms by hand, and make sure you come up with the same ending number.
  
Right, this was my thought also however last year I just went ahead and bought the $40 TaxAct so I don't know if they did this last year.  But just this weekend I did download the free version.  While it is entering a lot of stuff correctly on the 1040, one thing they don't do with the free version is figuring up credits (deductions, yes) such as child tax credits.  So at this point even though I've got a lot of stuff filled out, I'm not entirely comfortable in trusting the free version now.

One often overlooked free Federal tax prep tool is based on Excel: https://sites.google.com/site/excel1040/
It includes most of the common forms/schedules.

It is not a commercial product --- does not come with "guarantees" or e-filing. There are no state tax forms at that site. 

Something for OP and folks in states where state returns are not necessary to consider.

fwuser12 said:   One often overlooked free Federal tax prep tool is based on Excel: https://sites.google.com/site/excel1040/
It includes most of the common forms/schedules.

It is not a commercial product --- does not come with "guarantees" or e-filing. There are no state tax forms at that site. 

Something for OP and folks in states where state returns are not necessary to consider.

  I have filed with this.  I like it

What's your AGI? You may be able to file for free using IRS free file (which I think includes state also). The AGI limit is around 60K I believe.

If you don't meet that, the common credits have pretty easy worksheets to use to figure your credit (it's all numbers you should have easy access to as you're filling out your return). They should be available in the 1040 instructions.

Alternatively, I also like Glenn's spreadsheet that others have referenced (although I wish he'd tell us what the password is so I can modify protected cells).

ETA: Also, you should change your post title to something like "free tax prep software."

If your situation has not changed much from last year, just pull out your 2015 return, and use it as a reference. Its not that complicated to do your taxes by hand, I have did them that way for a few people.

Just read the instructions in the 1040 book, and fill out the blanks as needed.

Why don't you just download the forms and instructions from the IRS website and use those?

This comes up every year. Anyone, regardless of AGI, can file their federal taxes directly with the IRS for free.

IRS Free Fillable Forms

This is not any sort of sophisticated tax preparation software, but it does do basic math, adding and subtracting numbers, carrying numbers over from one form to another, etc. You can file the forms for free, and pay/get refund electronically.

Unless your taxes are extremely complicated, I heartily recommend everyone do their own taxes so you understand how it all works. It's not really that hard, and the instructions guide you every step of the way. And it is all FREE.

UncaMikey said:   This comes up every year. Anyone, regardless of AGI, can file their federal taxes directly with the IRS for free.

IRS Free Fillable Forms 

This is not any sort of sophisticated tax preparation software, but it does do basic math, adding and subtracting numbers, carrying numbers over from one form to another, etc. You can file the forms for free, and pay/get refund electronically.

Unless your taxes are extremely complicated, I heartily recommend everyone do their own taxes so you understand how it all works. It's not really that hard, and the instructions guide you every step of the way. And it is all FREE.

  
I couldnt not agree more.  I try to do my taxes by hand every couple of years.  Its nice to understand how each of your deductions/credits/tax figures into the calculation.

This was mentioned in the CreditKarma thread.  Use taxhawk.com, it's free for federal and state this year if you're a new customer (or haven't been since Jan 1, 2013) and it doesn't appear to be as buggy as CreditKarma.  That's what I am doing after trying CreditKarma's system and finding it buggy and their support non-responsive.



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