Filing Your Taxes Online for Free

Free File LogoReady to file your federal and state taxes? Start out by exploring some of the free options for filing your tax returns online that may make the process go a little bit easier. You can also check out the online offerings from commercial tax preparation companies. These companies will assist you to complete and file your state and federal tax returns for a fee. 

Both the IRS and the State of Michigan encourage online filing. They have indicated that filing tax returns online results in fewer mistakes and for those getting a refund, a faster turnaround on issuing your refund. Which free options you qualify for is determined by your adjusted gross income. Review each of the options below to determine which ones you are qualified to use.

Just looking for tax forms and instructions? See these resources

Federal Taxes

1. Traditional Free File - For those with adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less. This option directs you to a list of commercial tax preparation web sites where you can complete and file your federal tax return. There is no charge for completing your federal tax forms. Many of these companies offer the option to complete and file your state tax return for a fee but you are not required to do so. This option is best suited for those who have a hard time navigating the complex maze of federal forms and instructions. 

2. Free File Fillable Forms - Available to any income level. This option directs you to an IRS-approved web site where you can select and complete your tax forms online. Once you have created an account to access the web site, you can edit and save your online return multiple times before actually filing it. You can also print off your return before or after you have filed it with the IRS. This site only does basic checking of math and consistency of forms. It's best suited for those who are comfortable completing their own forms without the assistance provided by commercial tax preparation software. 

State Taxes

1. Michigan E-file - Options for all income levels. To e-file with the State of Michigan, you have to utilize a third party tax preparation web site. Some of these sites offer free e-filing depending on your income level. Most require that you complete and file your federal return through their web site in order to complete your state tax return. Unlike the federal Free Fillable Forms, the state does not have an option to complete and file your returns without going through a third-party tax preparation web site. 

Other resources

While you are completing your tax returns, check out these other resources. 

IRS - Checklist of Common Errors When Preparing Your Tax Return

TurboTax - The 10 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions

IRS - Tax Tips

Refunds

Once you've completed your return, you can check on the status of your federal refund and state refund online.