Earlier this year, all of the television stations were running ads screaming “FREE, FREE, FREE.” That screaming was followed by ads for online tax preparation companies where you could file your taxes for FREE. Please be aware, there are restrictions on filing for free. One site I found allowed free filing if you have W-2 income, dependents, and/or retirement income, this option does allow free filing for state returns. If you have a mortgage, child care expenses, property taxes, student loans or health savings accounts, the fee goes to $54.95 plus $54.95 to file the state return. If you have stock gains or losses, investment income, rental property, or foreign bank and financial accounts, the fee goes to $74.95 plus $54.95 to file the state return.  If you have miscellaneous income, business or farm income, or personalized deductions, the fee goes to $109.95 plus $54.95 to file the state return.  With these guidelines, very few people actually get to file for free.

A second site I found followed the same parameters and disclosed their fee for filing state returns as $44.95.

Advice from the Internal Revenue services says: Using a reputable tax preparer – including certified public accountants, enrolled agents or other knowledgeable tax professionals – can also help avoid errors. Mistakes can result in a processing delay, which can mean it takes more time to get a refund.

We are quickly approaching the end of May with a July 15 tax deadline. If you have not yet filed your taxes, feel free to call me at 317-989-2708 or schedule an appointment on my website. www.pedersonaccountingservices.com, click Schedule. Times listed are when I am available.

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