The Wise Latina Club Money: 4 Ways to File Your Taxes for Free

I have filed my taxes every which way: paper forms mailed when I was in college; a fancy tax attorney (hmmm...curious that my tax return almost matched his fee), a reasonable local accountant before he keeled over (he did and survived); and when my hospitalized tax preparer didn't call me back, I was left to my own devices, actually using tax software, right before Tax Day.


I'm passing along what I learned, including how to save money preparing taxes or even file for free (which is different than actually saving on your tax return through deductions which will be covered in a separate post). You can stash away this extra money into a future fund--reinvest in your skills or business, save for retirement, college, or buy a piece of property.  What's important for The Wise Latina Club Money is starting a savings habit, however small the dollar amount, because savings are a building block to create wealth.

4 Ways to Prepare Your Taxes for Free

  1. Free help: If you made less than $51,000 in 2012, you qualify for VITA--Volunteer Income Tax Assistance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)--where you can get free expert advice on an appointment or walk-in basis, even file federal forms at no cost, at schools, libraries, shopping malls, and recreation centers around the country. Click here for the VITA location nearest you.
  2. Over 60? And low to mid-income? You qualify for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program through AARP (without having to be an AARP member). Trained volunteers can help you navigate the ins and outs of retirement and pension plans. Click here to find a location near you.
  3. Younger and make $57,000 or less (that's about 70% of America)? Try IRS Free File tax software. Click here for information, including which program may be right for you.
  4. Free federal filing for everybody--no matter how old you are or how much you make. If you are comfortable with online versions of IRS paper forms and have the time, click here to access Free File forms.

Remember that unless you live in a state that doesn't have state individual income taxes such as Texas and Florida, you will have to pay a fee to file your state tax forms.

This is part of the original The Wise Latina Club Money series which I created because the time has come for Latinas to change our money mindset from just consuming products and enriching others to building wealth. We must think about investing to strengthen ourselves, our families, and communities through savings, buying a piece of property, or committing to a college or retirement savings plan. TWLC Money aims to get you thinking about and give you the tools to achieve financial literacy and independence. Click here to read more TWLC Money posts.

What have you done with the money saved filing your taxes?