Do-it-yourself online filers may need to ask for help this tax season

Personal Finance


Keep in mind that simple federal tax returns (and sometimes state returns) can be filled out and filed for free at some of these websites. And if your 2018 adjusted gross income is $66,000 or less, you might qualify for the IRS’ Free File program, a partnership involving the agency and a consortium of companies that includes H&R Block, Intuit, Liberty Tax and TaxSlayer.

In fact, roughly 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers — about 100 million people — are eligible, according to the IRS. However, not all of them take advantage of it: Just 2.5 million tax filers used it in 2017, according to IRS data.

The most popular way to file? Leaving it to the pros. In 2017, 78.6 million returns were filed via a professional tax preparer.

If you go that route, carefully choose who prepares your tax returns — because regardless of who does it for you, you are ultimately responsible for its contents. While a fraudulent tax preparer would be on the hook for illegal actions, you could owe back taxes, penalties and interest for filing an inaccurate return.

More from Personal Finance:
Here are two ways to turn your 2019 savings goals into reality
Time to check your withholding for 2019
How to buy a car, with less debt

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