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Free File is now open for business

Have you been champing at the bit to get your tax return into Uncle Sam electronically? Well today is your lucky day.

This morning the IRS began accepting e-filed returns. This includes 1040s that you do on your computer using tax software, as well as online tax preparation and filing options offered by various companies.

Free_file_logo_borders And if your adjusted gross income last year was $56,000 or less, you also now can use Free File. This is the partnership between the IRS and tax software companies to help folks complete their taxes and e-file them at no cost.

Once at the Free File site -- and do make sure you get to it by first going to the IRS home page at and then clicking the Free File icon there; any other links, either that you find by surfing or that are sent to your e-mail box, could be con artists looking to steal your identity via cleverly designed fake Free File sites -- you can peruse the 20 participating companies and pick one.

Or you can use the "help me find a company" interactive option that will take the info you enter and show you which companies should fit your filing bill.

Free filing option expanded: Of course, as I previously blogged (most recently here), the major private industry players are already making 2009 the free e-filing season.

The e-file-for-free option has been a part of various online tax prep and filing packages for years. But now, the two big tax dogs, TurboTax and TaxCut, will let their customers who buy the software packages off store shelves have the same no-cost e-filing perk.

Then there's the new fillable tax forms component of Free File 2009, which I talked about last week. Here folks who don't need tax software can e-file for free by filling in online IRS forms and sending them on their way to Uncle Sam. This option is shown as a "Choose Tax Forms" box at the official Free File page.

The bottom line is that now you have myriad ways to hit the "send" button and get your return on its way, at no charge,  to the IRS for processing and refund issuance.

Who wants TurboTax? If you'd like to use tax software to prepare and e-file your 2008 taxes but haven't gotten around to picking a package yet, I can help.

The folks at Intuit are sending me some copies of TurboTax Online Premier 2008. As soon as I get them, I'll announce how you could win one. 

Stay tuned!


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