Recommendations for the best AND cheapest online tax preparation site ??

  • Extraterrestrial_Zoologist
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2 years 1 week ago #1 by Extraterrestrial_Zoologist
We've used esmarttax.com for a couple of years & also checked out taxact.com & freetaxusa.com .

Trouble is - the ones which up front claim to be free - aren't.

Esmarttax starts out with low charges, but when you do the most minimal simple stuff (no owned properties or investments...), then add state forms - suddenly it goes to $60-70.
Of course by then you are mostly done so they've got you hooked.

Would the good folks here kindly recommend what you use and possibly also say what they cost, please ??

(No desire to install any s/w for this BTW, as that is excessive to do for each year.)

Thanks.

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  • Isamorph
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2 years 1 week ago - 2 years 1 week ago #2 by Isamorph
The below site was recommended by a friend who used it and was pleased with it. I noticed the website says 2018, which is a bit odd that it hasn't been updated to 2019 yet. Anyway, might be worth a try.

"When we say 100% free online tax filing, we mean it! File federal and state taxes for free and pay nothing — zero, zip, zilch. We don’t even have a way to take a payment!

Unlike “the others,” we do not “bait and switch” or “upsell” you. No matter what tax forms you need, preparing and e-filing your tax return online with DIY Tax is 100% free!

www.freetax.com/
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2 years 1 week ago #3 by Extraterrestrial_Zoologist
Replied by Extraterrestrial_Zoologist on topic Recommendations for the best AND cheapest online tax preparation site ??
As to the 2018 there - it may be that they quit because their big start button along with most all their links redirect to efile.libertytax.com/1040/signup - which ain't free a'tall...

Another one rides the bus ??
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2 years 1 week ago - 2 years 1 week ago #4 by Isamorph
I should have noticed that snafu before posting. Free doesn't succeed for long, which we all should know by now.

Maybe this site has some useable info.

thecollegeinvestor.com/17356/free-tax-software/
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2 years 1 week ago - 2 years 1 week ago #5 by redrotors
They all are *supposed* to be free if your income is under $69k for 2019. Problem is that is federal only and then they want to charge for state filing or as you note, add the wrong form and all of the sudden that form is not free. Some states have their own online free file set ups. Also, you can use fillable forms, print them, mail in.
www.irs.gov/e-file-providers/about-the-free-file-program

Credit Karma is free regardless of income, state & federal, there is a long thread on slickdeals re their offering (that SD thread is worth a read if you can put up with the signal to noise ratio). No catches, either free or they don't support it.
support.creditkarma.com/s/article/Things-to-know-before-you-start-with-Credit-Karma-Tax-US
support.creditkarma.com/s/article/Forms-and-situations-Credit-Karma-Tax-supports-US
support.creditkarma.com/s/article/Forms-and-situations-Credit-Karma-Tax-does-not-support-US

Check with local united way / VITA / AARP etc. they offer free tax preparation services via in person appointments with volunteer preparers. In my area appointment booking opens up today, Jan 15. AFAIK they are currently using taxslayer software, at least in my area.
www.aarp.org/money/taxes/info-2018/aarp-tax-help-fd.html
Good luck!!
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2 years 1 week ago #6 by Extraterrestrial_Zoologist
Replied by Extraterrestrial_Zoologist on topic Recommendations for the best AND cheapest online tax preparation site ??
From what I've seen so far, the Credit Karma is some s/w that needs to be installed on your system or other device.
Sadly, their site is not at all forthright about what they are offering - and:
Upon hitting the big button it pretends to sign one up UNTIL the email is given - then it demands LOTS more of very personal info WITHOUT telling the potential user even the tiniest scrap of info - so I'll pass on that, thanks.

We live in a rural area that puts us ~1 hour drive from most anything - we despise AARP & are not members, and this all is why I've asked about good online options here.

We can just use the esmart site again & pay their heavy 'taxes' for the little that we need if nothing better is around anymore...?
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2 years 1 week ago #7 by Extraterrestrial_Zoologist
Replied by Extraterrestrial_Zoologist on topic Recommendations for the best AND cheapest online tax preparation site ??
Had a look at that site - Thanks Isamorph !!
They are sneaky buggers too - their links look like review links but are cloaked affiliate links instead...woof.

Anyhow, it begins to look like the best deal is via freetaxusa.com with their state e-filing for only 12.95 .

Not in a huge rush here & maybe someone willchime in yet with something even better ??

Thanks.
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2 years 1 week ago - 2 years 1 week ago #8 by redrotors
Look again.
Credit Karma does not need to be downloaded / installed. They do ask for more info. than strictly needed for filing, they fully disclose all of this if you bother to read around the FAQ. If it is free you are the product does apply to some degree here but as I said a read through of the SD thread compares CK sharing/marketing vs. others like h&r and turbo which are more cloaked and in some aspects more draconian in invasion and sharing permissions you are consenting to.

AARP is just one of the organizations facilitating VITA program, if you decide to drive (combine with a night out?) you may still want to check it out. You don't need to be a member of any organization to use this program.

Seems you may be best off just using fillable forms and USPS.

Don't wait to the last few weeks, most of the programs jump their prices or go from free state file to paid. CK doesn't do that.

The article linked to pretty much covers what is out there for 2019 taxes. They don't mention the AARP/United Way/VITA program because there is no refferral $ in it for them. The IRS link covers the free file program participants.

Once again
Good luck!
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2 years 1 week ago #9 by Extraterrestrial_Zoologist
Replied by Extraterrestrial_Zoologist on topic Recommendations for the best AND cheapest online tax preparation site ??
Thanks Redrotors.
Your persistence is admirable - but neither do I wish to navigate CK nor the immense SD thread about it - and NO - we are not doing the USPS thing when for a mere 12.95 we can e-file.

If you have some other & simpler suggestion that'll be great - but the 10 minutes I spent on your prior info is now done & over with, thanks.

Using most of these online things I can do the entire process in ~30 minutes tops - with great care & making sure that all is just right - and that is worth the ~$13 vs. using the USPS, etc...
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2 years 1 week ago - 2 years 1 week ago #10 by redrotors
If that is the case then you and I probably have spent WAY more time on this than needed. ;)
Hopefully some others will find it useful.

I am curious though, if you can do it on line in 30 min. with much care how much longer do you think fillable forms would take?

I still use fillable forms to issue K-1's and it is faster than any (paid) program I have used.
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