Starting Friday, the IRS has opened its “Free File” program, which offers free preparation and e-filing of tax returns for those with incomes of $58,000 or less.
It’s “helping people to get a jump on their taxes before the January 31 filing season begins,” said IRS spokesman David Tucker in an email. Last year, nearly 230,000 Californians used the no-charge filing program, he said.
It’s available at www.irs.gov/freefile, where taxpayers can pick from 14 software companies offering free tax filing. Some are in Spanish.
For those with incomes above $58,000, the IRS offers a similar service, Free File Fillable Forms, which are electronic versions of paper forms. They’re designed for those who are comfortable preparing their own return.
The Free File program is linked to two IRS programs for moderate-income taxpayers: the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), which offer walk-in, free help with e-filing tax returns, especially for those who don’t have Internet access at home. Most VITA and TCE sites will be open starting in early February. They’re located in libraries, schools, churches and community centers. To find a VITA or TCE location near you, visit www.irs.gov.
Call The Bee’s Claudia Buck, (916) 321-1968.