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Free help to file income taxes

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Most of us dread seeing a letter from the Internal Revenue Service, unless it's a refund check. But the IRS sent me some information recently that is good news for taxpayers -- free help filing income taxes, and I wanted to pass it on to my fellow Nebraskans.

It's called IRS Free File IRS Free File which provides free access to brand-name tax preparation software--offering taxpayers step-by-step help to prepare and e-file their federal taxes online. With April 15 approaching, this tax-filing help may be useful.

Through IRS Free File, all taxpayers who made $57,000 or less in 2011 are eligible to use this site to prepare and e-file their federal tax returns. About 100 million Americans--or 70 percent of taxpayers--are eligible.

Public -- Private Partnership

IRS Free File is made possible through a public-private partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a coalition of tax software companies.

Since its inception in 2003, IRS Free File has offered 70 percent of taxpayers free access to leading commercial tax preparation software.

To begin, taxpayers should visit the IRS Free File website--www.IRS.gov--and click on the "Free File" icon on the right side of the screen. Users can access a list of Free File Alliance members and either choose the one that fits their needs, or utilize the "help me find a company" tool. After selecting a tax software company, users will be transferred to the company's website to prepare, complete and electronically file their federal income tax returns. The service is also available in Spanish.

Free File Alliance members have worked with the IRS to strengthen the Free File program, and taxpayers have reported that it is user-friendly and efficient. Responding to a 2009 IRS survey, 96 percent of users said they found Free File easy to use, while 98 percent said they would recommend the program to others.

About the Free File Alliance

The Free File Alliance, a coalition of 14 key tax software companies, has partnered with the IRS since 2003 to help low- and middle-income Americans prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns online. The Free File Alliance says it is committed to giving 70 percent of Americans free access to the industry's top online tax preparation software. More than 33 million returns have been filed through IRS Free File since its inception.

As long as we have to pay taxes, the government should make it as quick, easy and painless as possible. Free File does that, and I applaud the IRS for taking this initiative by partnering with private industry. I hope by providing this information, Nebraskans will be able to take advantage of the program.

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