Decoding your W-2
6 reasons to wait to file your taxes

States also offer online (& free for some) tax filing options

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If you live in one of the 43 states or the nation's capital, then in addition to filing your federal tax return you probably also must send a form (or two) to your state's tax collector.

In most cases, states use at least some federal tax return information as the basis for their returns. So if you do your taxes yourself, you're probably looking for a tax software option that can handle both.

The Internal Revenue Service and Free File Inc. say that their joint tax prep and e-filing venture Free File has some tax software company participants that can do that combination filing for you. If you qualify to use Free File this year — you generally do if your adjusted gross income is $69,000 or less — then definitely check out the free state filing possibilities there.

But you also might want to look at filing options directly with your state's tax department. Several of them, including Connecticut and North Carolina (for business returns), are already accepting tax returns.

Online filing options at state websites: The 43 states and District of Columbia that collect some type of individual income tax offer their residents online filing of tax returns, many at no cost.

Nineteen state have their own state tax return direct file websites. They are Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.

Another 20 jurisdictions offer free return filing in partnership with private software manufacturers. They are Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Four states have both their own direct state return websites and also offer select free file options through vendors. They are Alabama, California, New York and Pennsylvania.

No individual income tax, but other levies online: Seven states — Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming — have no individual state income tax at all, but they do collect other taxes from some of their residents.

To facilitate this, six of them (all but South Dakota) have online sites to take care of these tax transactions, such as payment of excise and sales taxes or franchise tax fees on the business side.

Even some more local jurisdictions within states, like my local county tax assessor-collector who gets my property tax payments each year, allow and even encourage taxpayers to go online to those sites to take care of those obligations.

The Texas Comptroller's website has general property tax info and, after a bit of searching, a link to my county tax office. Check your state's tax site to see if it has similar information about your local tax collectors' online accessibility.  

State tax data and payment options: Below are links to the various state tax filing and payment websites. Thanks to the Federation of Tax Administrators for doing the heaving lifting here.

While it's probably easier to go with a tax return preparation and electronic filing option that consolidates your state and federal tax responsibilities, it doesn't hurt to check out all possibilities, especially if you don't meet the federal free filing requirements.

Alaska

Revenue Online

Alaska

Tax Division Online Services

Alabama

Free WebFiling

Alabama

Free File Alliance Participants

Arkansas

WebFiling Options

Arkansas

Other Electronic Filing Options

Arizona

WebFiling Options

California

Electronic Filing Options — CalFile Free Web Filing

California

Other Electronic Filing Options [income taxes]

Colorado

Free WebFiling

Connecticut

Free WebFiling

Connecticut

Other Electronic Filing Options

District of Columbia          

WebFiling Options

District of Columbia

Other Electronic Filing Options

District of Columbia

Business E-Filing Options

Delaware

WebFiling Options

Florida

Electronic Filing/Payment Options

Georgia

Online Filing Options

Georgia

Georgia Tax Center

Hawaii

Free WebFiling

Hawaii

Other Electronic Filing Options

Iowa

Online Filing Options

Idaho

Online Filing Options

Illinois

Free WebFiling

Illinois

Other Electronic Filing Options [Individuals]

Illinois

Other Electronic Filing Options [Businesses]

Indiana

Online Filing Options

Kansas

Free WebFiling

Kansas

Other Electronic Filing Options

Kentucky

Online Filing Options

Louisiana

Free WebFiling [not available on mobile devices]

Louisiana

Other Electronic Filing Options

Massachusetts

Free WebFiling

Maryland

Free WebFiling

Maryland

Other Electronic Filing Options

Maine

Free WebFiling

Maine

Other Electronic Filing Options

Michigan

Online Filing Options

Michigan

Other Electronic Filing Options

Minnesota

Online WebFiling

Minnesota

Business e-Services

Missouri

Online WebFiling

Missouri

Other Electronic Services

Montana

Free Online WebFiling

Montana

Other Electronic Services

North Carolina

Electronic Filing Options

North Carolina

Other Electronic Services

North Dakota

Online WebFiling

North Dakota

Taxpayer Access Point [TAP] WebFiling System

Nebraska

Free WebFiling [not available on mobile devices]

Nebraska

Other Electronic Services

New Hampshire

Free WebFiling

New Jersey

Free WebFiling

New Jersey

Other Electronic Services

New Mexico

Free WebFiling

New Mexico

Other Electronic Services

Nevada

Online Electronic Filing Options

New York

Free WebFiling

New York

Other Electronic Services

Ohio

Free WebFiling

Ohio

Other Electronic Services

Oklahoma

Free WebFiling

Oklahoma

Other Electronic Services

Oregon

Online WebFiling

Oregon

Other Electronic Services

Pennsylvania

Free WebFiling

Pennsylvania

Other Electronic Services

Pennsylvania

Payments & E-File

Rhode Island

Online WebFiling

Rhode Island

Other Electronic Services

South Carolina

Online WebFiling

South Carolina

Other Electronic Services

Tennessee

Free WebFiling

Texas

Free WebFiling Options

Texas

Other Electronic Services

Utah

Free WebFiling

Virginia

Online WebFiling

Virginia

Business Electronic Filing

Virginia

Online Fillable Forms

Vermont

Online WebFiling

Washington

Online Business Tax Resources

Wisconsin

Free WebFiling

West Virginia

Online WebFiling

Wyoming

Online Services

If you just want other tax information for your state, this state tax department directory has links to those home pages.

You also might find these items of interest:

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