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The Northerner

Get free tax help with Free File system

Robyn Poynter

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Paying to get your taxes done could become a thing of the past for many taxpayers this year.

An agreement between the IRS and the tax software industry (i.e. Free File Alliance, LLC) has resulted in Free File.

Free File is free online tax preparation and electronic filing system for eligible taxpayers.

Free tax preparation will be available to at least 60 percent of taxpayers or about 78 million people.

There are many benefits that come with using these services such as reduced tax return preparation time, faster refunds, and the accuracy of your return.

Each of the 17 software companies that are participating has its own eligibility requirements.

Most of the requirements will be based on age, adjusted gross income, eligibility to file Form 1040EZ, eligibility to claim the Earned Income Credit, state residency, and active duty military status (if applicable).

Each individual company will decide the eligibility requirements. This free service is available now through April 15, 2003 through www.irs.gov. Some companies will also extend this service through October 15, 2003 for some taxpayers who may need an extension.

Getting started is relatively easy. Once you go to the web site www.irs.gov, you then click on to the Free File link and you can begin the process. To find out what companies you are eligible to use you can either browse all of the services or fill out a short questionnaire to find the qualifying companies for you.

After determining eligibility the taxpayer can link directly to the free service by clicking on the company’s “Start Now” link. The company’s software will prepare and e-file your income tax returns. These returns will then be transmitted by the company to the IRS through secure telephone lines and once the return is received an email from the company will notify you that your return has been accepted, or if something is wrong.

The software is approved by the IRS and is transmitted through the IRS e-file system.

Each company must comply with all federal rules on taxpayer privacy. This prohibits use of tax return data for purposes not authorized by the taxpayer. The companies will also provide helpful customer service to their users.

Taxpayers who do not have computers at home can still use the service.

“There are computers on campus with internet access that are available for students to use,” said Joe Geraci, NKU Director of Special Projects. “Before students spend money on getting their taxes done they should try this service and they will also get their money back faster.”

Filing returns this way will get refunds returned in half the time of paper returns.

Kentucky Senator Richard Roeding, President Pro Tem, had a large role in getting this project out to the public.

“This service is very useful for taxpayers that qualify, not only at colleges but libraries and senior citizen meetings as well,” Senator Roeding said. The software industry that puts out the software is trying to make sure that anyone that qualifies can use this service.”

Taxpayers who do not meet the qualifications can still buy the software online.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Get free tax help with Free File system