If you laid off your tax returns for the last minute, this does not mean you have to pay handsomely for some agency services to file your taxes. The changes in Tax Cuts and Jobs Act do not kick in until the 2018 taxes are prepared. It means that the old code will be applicable only until 2017-meaning this is the last time you will pay as per the old laws. A few tax breaks get expired as well after 2017.
According to National Society of Accountants, the median expense of professional services to prepare a completed Form 1040 with all Schedule A and the state tax return comes to approximately $273. This pricing goes north if the returns get complicated.
However, if you do not want to spend money, then there is a way. Filers can do all the tax preparation by using e-file forms provided by the IRS. State tax departments also make their own forms available online. A number of software companies provide help sans any kind of fees as well. One of them is Credit Karma. In 2017, they announced the free tax preparation service Credit Karma Tax. It includes 1040 and is excellent for simple returns. You have to do everything yourself.
Another excellent free tax resource is More Zero by H&R Block. It was also released in early 2017. This software provides completely free filing for the federal 1040. 1040A and 1040EZ complete with the Schedule A returns. State returns are also available. Yet another free service is provided by Turbo Tax. The latter developed its proprietary Absolute Zero product. It is a popular one and is tailor-made for taxpayers who file 1040A returns or the 1040EZ returns.
According to Kenneth Lin, the CEO, and founder of Credit Karma, individuals with trust or any farm subsidies or multiple state filings should take the services of an accountant. Even then, many taxpayers used the free service.
The IRS also has a Free File program. However, it is more complicated to use. It also cannot be utilized for multi-state returns. The software is managed via Free File Alliance. The latter is a non-profit of a number of preparation service providers. As per Free File estimates, about 50 million returns were filed via this tax program from the time it was started in 2003. The software saved approximately $1.5 billion in tax preparation fees.
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