Free Tax Filing Software

Free Tax Filing Software is available right now from the IRS. This is great news for those with Adjusted Gross incomes below $66,000 per year. The IRS estimates that 70% of all taxpayers are eligible to do their taxes for free. That’s 100 million people! Depending on your income, you are eligible for Free File’s brand-name software and free e-file. Even if you are not eligible for the software, there’s still an option: Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of paper forms.

The IRS website gives users a lookup tool to determine if they are eligible for the free software.

How Does It Work

What Do I Need

Benefits

If you are eligible, you’ll have numerous options of Free File software to use in filing your Federal and state income taxes. The IRS gives the following assurances on their website

Are these programs safe? Yes. Your information is protected from any unauthorized access while it is sent to the IRS. The companies may not disclose or use tax return information for purposes other than tax return preparation without your informed and voluntary consent. These companies are also subject to the Federal Trade Commission Privacy and Safeguards Rules and IRS e-file regulations.

What information will the IRS collect or retain about me using Free File? None. Our policy prohibits the use of permanent Internet cookies. We sometimes use “temporary” or “session” cookies to make sure you are the correct recipient of information you requested. These are deleted when your Internet visit ends.

What can I do if I am not able to get into a Free File company from IRS.gov? This problem may be due to your Internet service provider, your Internet security software and/or your IT department blocking expected information in the web request from your browser. This information is necessary to protect both you and IRS.gov systems from improper use such as phishing and other security threats. Unfortunately, due to the many differences between Internet browsers and individual computer configurations, we are unable to suggest Internet settings or configurations for you. Try selecting another company; use another computer or another browser.

How do I check the status of my refund?  Get up-to-date refund information using Where’s My Refund?

How do I get a copy of my return? Always remember to print your return after you successfully e-file. If you forget to print your return, order a free transcript from IRS. Depending on the type of transcript you request, you’ll get more or less of the information from your return.

What is Direct Pay? Use Direct Pay to pay your individual tax bill or estimated tax payment directly from your checking or savings account at no cost to you.

What happens if I access the Value Added button on the company’s Free File landing page? You will exit the IRS Free File Program and if you continue, you may be charged fees for various services.

About Free File Software

Free File Software provides free federal tax prep and e-file for taxpayers. Select a brand name software program, create an account and then the software guides you through return preparation.

Use free brand-name software to prepare and print.

The software guides you through return preparation.

Need Help with an error or the software? Contact the company for free customer service.

State return preparation and e-file is available for free but fees may apply.

Available if your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $66,000 or less in 2018.

Offers the most commonly used forms.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about this opportunity to save hundreds of dollars on tax preparation fees this year. I’m going to give this a try.

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Great Reasons For Early Retirement

This is the dream of many, taking early retirement. To some, it’s a status symbol and a bragging point and to others, it’s the relief of leaving that job behind and having a life again. No matter what your motive is, let’s take a look at great reasons for early retirement.

Your Health

I’ve seen coworkers who have stayed at work for too long. The lady I’m thinking of was dealing with a health issue, was 64 years old and could have retired early at 62 but went on working. In the end, she never had the chance to enjoy her retirement years. It was a sad situation for her husband and her children who were grown and gone but were all still broken hearted. Of course, it’s hard to deal with emotionally when any family member passes away but my friend could have taken early retirement and had a few years to spend with her husband who had already retired. They could have traveled and spent the last years of her life enjoying life together. I guess we all have to ask ourselves the question; When is enough, enough?

Sometimes it’s a good idea to step back and take a look at your life’s situation and ask if a few percentage points gained in yearly income is worth spending the end of your life working for. It wasn’t for my friend. If you have the means to retire early at 62 and can spend more time with your spouse, children, and grandchildren, why not do it? Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

Travel

Join the Navy and see the world. At this point in life, I don’t think the Navy will take me but if you are like me, you love to travel and see new places, meet new people, eat new food and have new adventures. What better reason to retire early? Can you imagine traveling the world with your spouse and visiting Rome, Paris, Tokyo or anyplace else you’ve dreamt of? Or if you are single, you owe it to yourself to make the most out of life and travel to those places you’ve always wanted to see. If you have your retirement finances in order and are hit by the wanderlust, take off and make the memories of a lifetime. You can still see most of Europe for the price of a train pass and if you don’t mind staying in hostels instead of hotels, you can travel pretty cheaply.

Time Together

Still working 60 hours a week, burning the candle at both ends and you never have enough time with your wife to enjoy life together? You feel like you missed the kids growing up but you’d like to enjoy the grandchildren? It may be a good reason to think about retiring early. While being at work all the time does have some financial rewards they can’t stand up next to the joy and pleasure of being with your family and the memories you’ll be building for yourselves and the kids. Take the grandkids and see the Grand Canyon or just spend time making day trips or going fishing at the lake with a picnic lunch. You’ll need to examine what your retirement income can bear before making the jump.

Care For A Family Member

I cannot imagine anything more loving than giving your time to care for a family member who cannot care for themselves. It could be a parent who sacrificed to raise you, a spouse who has a terminal illness or a child with a severe handicap. In any case, it’s a sacrifice of love and taking early retirement may not be a choice you want to make, but a choice you have to make.

Financially Able

You’d love to retire at 62 but are having doubts you can make it financially. It may be a good idea to take a second look. It’s a matter of doing a budget to see if your estimated expenses are less than your estimated income. If they are not then you can’t take early retirement unless you can lower those expenses or increase your retirement income. You can lower expenses by making some changes that may help you reach your goal. Here are a few ideas.

  1. Downsize to a smaller house. You can sell a larger house that you really don’t need any longer and pay off the mortgage and still have enough money to purchase a smaller home for cash or a significantly lower monthly payment.
  2. Don’t purchase that new car every year or two. You can save a lot of money by not driving a new car all the time. There are plenty of great used cars out there that you can buy for cash that will last for years and help lower your monthly expenses.
  3. Cut the cable. A lot of people are lowering their monthly expenses by stopping their cable TV subscription. A good antenna that costs $50.00 can bring in all the digital and HD digital channels in your local area for free. If you already have Internet and cannot get TV channels in your area using an antenna, there are very inexpensive services that will give you access over your internet connection.
  4. Phone services is another area where savings can be found. Cell phone providers are everywhere and you can save quite a bit by doing a little research. You can cut expenses by not having the latest phone on the market. The cell phone technology is so good now that it is easy to find a great phone for a couple hundred dollars that you can purchase and use for years. Unless you are a doctor on call or a corporate executive, you probably don’t need an unlimited monthly cell phone plan, there are plenty of prepaid plans available that will give you the service you need for much less of a monthly hit on your bank account. Check out Tracfone, People’s Celular or a host of others. If you need a home phone, look into Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology. I recommend Magic Jack with a yearly cost of about $50, you can have your home phone and make calls to any phone in the US and Canada for no extra charge. You can also call anyone who has a Magic Jack anywhere in the world for free.

Partial Or Semi-Retirement

This may be an option you could consider if you are not financially able to retire early. If you are 62, you can start to receive social security at a lower monthly payout than you would if you wait until your full retirement age. You will receive that reduced payout for the remainder of your retirement years, so it’s good to keep that in mind. If you want to semi-retire, you could work two or three days a week or half days just to supplement your income enough to have the finances you need until your able to retire fully with the added income from your personal retirement plans like a 401k, pension plan or other retirement plans you may have. Just remember to take a look and see how much you can earn monthly by working before your monthly social security check will start to be reduced.

Emotionally Ready

How will you know if you are emotionally ready to retire early?  But wait, I won’t have any daily responsibilities, no lousy alarm to wake up to, no one to tell me what to do and when to do it (except for your spouse, of course) and the money to do what I want to. Sounds like paradise, so how could I not be emotionally ready? But what happens when that paradise starts to get old? Hey, let’s face it, 20 or more years of doing anything will start to get old.

Paradise lost. After a few years in paradise, you may start looking for something to do. That is where you can find a little more structure in your daily life that will help you find the stability that you used to have with a daily job. You could look for volunteer positions in a hospital, daycare, your church, an animal rescue center and the list goes on. The point is to keep you active and occupied and keep you happy in your retirement. You are still retired so if you want to take the time to travel, you still can.

If you find yourself with a little more month than there is money, you can also find a part-time job with flexible hours to supplement your retirement income. Check out my earlier blog posts for some good ideas on retirement jobs.

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