For the last decade, the Internal Revenue Service has offered most taxpayers access to Free File, a way to prepare tax returns online and e-file them without charge.
The services is a public-private partnership with around 20 software companies participating each year.
For the 2011 filing season, taxpayers who in 2010 had adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less, regardless of filing status, can use Free File. It will be available not just through the upcoming April 18 filing deadline, but also through the Oct. 17 extended filing due date.
The IRS says that the current income threshold (it's adjusted each year for inflation) will allow approximately 70 percent of all U.S. taxpayers to use the free service.
In fiscal year 2010 (Oct. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2010), more than 2.9 million taxpayers took advantage of Free File.
Those almost 3 million tax-filing bargain hunters are this week's By the Numbers figure:
Texas led the FY10 Free File parade with 230,323 returns submitted via the official IRS website.
The popularity in the Lone State State could be in part because we don't have to file state tax returns, so many of us might not feel compelled to buy tax software. Or it could just be that we Texans really love freebies.
California came in second, with 210,089 Free File users.
Other states with more than 100,000 Free Filers last fiscal year were:
- Florida 191,205
- Ohio 158,107
- New York 146,771
- Pennsylvania 131,052
- Illinois 117,924
- Georgia 113,649
- Michigan 110,987
The state with the fewest File File users? Wyoming. The IRS reports only 5,398 users from that Western state took advantage of the no-cost tax prep/electronic filing service.
- Free File is open for 2011 tax business
- E-file, Free File 2011 are now available
- Free File lawsuit dismissed
- Free tax help
- Free File now open to taxpayers abroad
- Viva VITA!
- By the Numbers (2011 fun tax stats)
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