Nonprofit partnership offers free tax returns

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Less than two weeks remain until the 2016 federal tax deadline of Monday April 18, and while many companies are more than happy to assist with tax filings for a fee, U.S. residents can also take advantage of a free resource offered Free File Alliance.

The Alliance is a nonprofit partnership that links the Internal Revenue Service with 13 tax software companies to assist both low-income and high-income earners file. Taxpayers with a 2015 adjusted gross income of $62,000 or less can access free, reliable tax software to prepare, complete and e-file their federal and state tax returns at no cost. For those with higher annual income, the the companies offer free filing or application for an extension.

“Every American taxpayer can and should take advantage of the Free File program,” said Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance. “Free File is also the only place where the industry’s best tax software is available at one place and at no cost.”

And with new complicated healthcare requirements, Free File also helps taxpayers by providing a list of options and one box to check in reporting health care coverage for the entire year.

The service is also available in Spanish.

Since 2003, the Free File program has provided the equivalent of nearly $1.4 billion in free tax software, completing over 46 million tax returns. The coalition of member tax software companies has worked with the IRS over the years to strengthen the Free File program.  

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. The Free File Alliance is committed to giving 70 percent of taxpayers free access to online tax preparation software.