Free 1040 Tax Return Review – Is it Really Free?
“Free” seems to have a number of different meanings in the world of the Internet. Sometimes it means “without charge” and sometimes it means something else. You may be in for a surprise if you attempt to use Free 1040 Tax Return to file your taxes. Even though the word “free” appears in the Free 1040 Tax Return name, chances are you will end up paying to use their tax preparation software. Read our full Free 1040 Tax Return review below.
Free 1040 Tax Return Overview
Like most online tax preparation software, Free 1040 Tax Return has several different versions of the software, tailored to your needs. Free 1040 Tax Return is part of the Free File Alliance, and you should be able to file your Federal taxes at the site without charge if you click on a link to Free 1040 Tax Return from the IRS Website. Some who have used the software in the past have disagreed, saying that Free 1040 Tax Return isn’t actually free, but we haven’t tried to file that way ourselves, since we don’t qualify.
Aside from the Free File version, Free 1040 Tax Return offers these versions of their software:
Free 1040 Tax Return Standard Return
The Free 1040 Tax Return Standard Return, currently priced at $19.95, is for basic filers who would likely use the 1040 EZ form to file their taxes. This version is for any income level, but not for anyone using itemized deductions, anyone with rental property or stock transactions or those who have businesses. This version does not state that electronic filing is free, so there is likely an extra fee for filing electronically with this version.
Free 1040 Tax Return Deluxe Return
The Free 1040 Tax Return Deluxe Return includes everything in the Standard Return, plus offers free e-filing of your return, free import of data from previous years (only if you have previously used Free 1040 Tax Return to file your taxes), and free audit insurance, where the company will assist you should you be audited by the IRS. This version of the Free 1040 Tax Return software is for those with investments, real estate, medical deductions and other itemized deductions. Current pricing is $24.95
Free 1040 Tax Return Premium Return
The Free 1040 Tax Return Premium Return offers everything in the above versions, plus a PDF copy of your finished return, a free error scan and free e-filing of your return. This version of the software is best for those with small businesses, rental property, or those with complicated tax situations. Current pricing for this version is $39.95.
With all versions of the Free 1040 Tax Return software, state filing is extra, and is priced between $9.95 and $19.95, depending on the state.
As with most current online tax preparation products, you create an account at a secure Website, enter your basic information, such as name, address, and Social Security number, and then answer a series of questions that will help determine which forms you will need. When you’re done, you pay and submit your return electronically. You can receive paper versions of the return for a fee, and you will have the option of purchasing audit insurance for both Federal ($29.95) and state ($19.95) returns that will help you in the event that you are audited.
Tech support is quite limited; there is no phone support and no online chat. There is also no support via email. You can only get tech support via their online support ticket center. If you’re the sort who needs frequent help when filing your returns, Free 1040 Tax Return may not be the best option for you.
Be aware that while you don’t have to file state returns when choosing to file Federal returns using Free 1040 Tax Return, they will try to steer you in that direction and you’ll automatically be led to file a state return when you’re done with your Federal return. You can avoid this by choosing “none of the above” on the state selection drop down menu.
We’ve read numerous reports about buggy software, error-prone returns and rejected returns from people who have used Free 1040 Tax Return, so we’re not sure that Free 1040 Tax Return would be the best choice for taxpayers at this time. The software is also somewhat pricy; using a Deluxe Federal return, a state return and audit insurance for both, you’ll end up spending more than $100 and you will likely find that there are less expensive options out there.
For most taxpayers, Free 1040 Tax Return can probably do the job. The software is designed to fill in blanks and make calculations based on information that you provide. In all likelihood, you’re not going to find any surprises in the results and you’re not going to find that your refund is any larger when you use Free 1040 Tax Return than if you use any other piece of tax preparation software. That’s not the fault of Free 1040 Tax Return; that’s a matter of failing to create a proper tax strategy.
The tax code is complex, and there are hundreds of ways that taxpayers could be saving money, even thousands of dollars, on their taxes if they only knew how to do it. There are many deductions that taxpayers could be taking on their taxes, legally, that they simply don’t know about. The code is complex, there are hundreds of changes every year, and most taxpayers can’t take the time to learn about the ways they could be saving money.
Fortunately, a good resource is available that will show you how to pay the lowest amount of taxes legally possible. It’s written in simple English and it’s easy for anyone to understand and put to use. Once you know how to save, you can enter your tax information into Free 1040 Tax Return or any other piece of tax software and you’ll get the largest refund possible. If you could be saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year on your taxes, why wouldn’t you do it?