How to file your tax return for free online this year —  and get your tax refund even faster

Filing your tax return can be super easy — and free. Luba Kozorezova/Strelka Institute/Flickr
  • Tax Day falls on April 17 this year.
  • Free tax filing is offered by many online tax services, like H&R Block and TurboTax.
  • You can file your taxes for free if you made less than $US66,000 in 2017.

Tax season shouldn’t scare you.

Filing your tax return can be super easy – and even free.

If your income was less than $US66,000 in 2017, many online tax services, like H&R Block and TurboTax, offer the option to file for your federal taxes – and sometimes state taxes – at no cost. You can check your options using the IRS Free File Lookup tool.

You can still file for free if you make more than $US66,000, but to do so you’ll need to use the Free File Fillable Forms. The IRS recommends using those forms only if you have experience preparing tax returns on your own.

Most tax-related documents must be submitted by your employer or other institution by January 31, and the statements must be postmarked by that date as well. That means you should have everything you need by early February.

If you’re an employee, that means your W-2; if you’re a freelancer, you may have multiple 1099 forms. In some cases, you may have other statements, such as income earned from an interest-bearing savings account or interest paid on a loan, or even taxable bitcoin gains.

If you haven’t received these documents yet, it’s worth following up in case your forms were lost in the mail. The IRS began accepting tax returns on Monday, January 29, but Tax Day falls on April 17 this year, so there’s no need to scramble yet.

Once you’re ready to file your taxes, the IRS recommends electronically filing and requesting direct deposit for your refund. You’ll typically get your tax refund within three weeks, rather than the standard six weeks.

Although President Donald Trump signed the Republican tax bill into law at the end of December, new tax brackets will only affect income earned starting January 1, 2018. In other words, you’ll see those changes when you file your 2018 taxes next year.