How to File for Free Using Turbo Tax

Written By Scott Kessman
Last updated December 11, 2021

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Personal Finance
December 11, 2021

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

It will soon be time to file your taxes again. Have you been paying an accountant or tax filing services to handle the preparation and filing of your yearly taxes? You can save money by using Turbo Tax free file options. There are a few tax filing options offered by the tax prep software company that allows you to file free of charge.

However, it should be noted that Turbo Tax free file options only apply to certain situations. Still, over 50 million individuals and households filed their taxes for free with Turbo Tax last year, so you might be able to do the same! Here’s how you can file for free and see whether you meet the criteria of one of the Turbo Tax free file options.

Turbo Tax allows individuals to file their taxes for free using the Turbo Tax Free Edition. By filing on your own, and assuming you are filing a simple return only, you can file your taxes for free. A simple return encompasses the following:

  • W-2 income
  • Limited interest and dividend income reported on a 1099-INT or 1099-DIV
  • Claim the standard deduction
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC)
  • Child tax credits

You will need to pay for a different edition of Turbo Tax if your tax returns cover any of the following situations:

  • Itemized deductions (Schedule A)
  • Business or 1099-MISC income (Schedule C)
  • Stock sales (Schedule D)
  • Rental property income (Schedule E)
  • Credits, deductions and income reported on schedules 1-6, such as the Student Loan Interest Deduction

You can also take advantage of Turbo Tax free file offers for TurboTax Live Basic or TurboTax Live Full Service Basic, if you file a simple tax return by February 15, 2022.  If you wait to file after February 15, 2022, you will be charged the then-current list price for either of those packages. There may also be an additional fee for the state tax filing.

As part of a commitment to the US military members and veterans, Turbo Tax offers free federal and state tax preparation to all enlisted active duty and reservists E1-E9. Using any TurboTax Online (not CD/desktop or TurboTax Live) product, military members can file their taxes for free. They need simply verify their military and enter their W-2 information. The discount will be applied when you are ready to file.

Turbo Tax free file online products for military members include the Free Edition, Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed.

You may have heard of the Turbo Tax free file option for Americans earning $72,000 or less. This was a program created by a partnership between the IRS and Intuit, the software company that makes TurboTax. However, Intuit recently announced that they would no longer be a part of the IRS Free File Alliance, which was the name of the partnership.

New Ways to Make Filing Free

Intuit decided to no longer participate due to the limitations of the program. Instead, the company would continue to seek new ways to provide free tax preparation services. Anyone who previously participated in the Free File Alliance will affect existing Free File will need to visit the company’s website and request copies of personal data, change marketing preferences and delete your data from its servers.

And, thankfully, the Turbo Tax free file option of TurboTax’s Free Edition is still available. This edition was similar to the product offered by the IRS Free File delivered by TurboTax. However, it offers more features and services that will benefit taxpayers.

As mentioned above, the TurboTax free edition is for simple returns only. If you have other items that you want to include in your tax preparation, it would be wiser to choose and pay for a different package.

For example, if you want to deduct mortgage interest, add rental income, deduct student loan interest, report stock sales or report freelance income, you would choose TurboTax Premier or TurboTax Self-Employed.

Turbo Tax Free

You can also use the TurboTax Free version, but pay for additional help and features, such as live support. This is called the Live Basic, which provides on-demand video access to a tax pro for help, advice and a final review.

There is also the Deluxe version, which can be purchased with or without live support. This version offers the ability to itemize and claim several other tax deductions and tax credits. However, with this version, you still can’t report capital gains or rental income (Schedules D and E).

You can start using TurboTax Free at any time to file a simple return, regardless of which tax prep service you used in previous years. To make things easy, TurboTax enables you to import electronic PDFs of tax returns from H&R Block, Credit Karma, Liberty Tax, TaxAct and TaxSlayer.

Import W-2 Information

Additionally, you can automatically import W-2 information from your employer if it’s partnered with TurboTax. As an alternative, you can take a picture of your W-2 and upload it to transfer the data to your return. You can also import certain 1099s when using the Self-Employed version.

If you are worried about using the free version of TurboTax without paying for support, don’t worry. Intuit offers several informative documents, blog posts and other resources for guidance on the TurboTax website. These include a searchable knowledge base, forums and video tutorials that can usually answer any questions you might have. Additionally, all users have access to TurboTax Assistant, a chatbot or a contact form.

So, is it worth it to use the Turbo Tax free file option? If you only need to file a simple a return, then definitely. The online version or software package both make it easy to file a simple return, providing guidance along the way. But if you want to do more with your taxes and truly maximize your return, paying for a more feature-rich version might be the better choice.

About the Author

Scott Kessman

I possess a strong 20-year background in marketing, digital marketing, and advertising. However, writing has always been a true passion of mine, and after working in corporate offices for many years, I turned my passion for writing into a full-time job. As a contract content writer for the last 12 years, I can craft engaging and informative content about a wide variety of subjects. I have also written and published two fantasy novels and a collection of short stories.

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