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Discount Diva: How to file your taxes for free

Congratulations, you get two extra days to file your taxes this year. But the clock is a ticking, and April 17 is getting closer.
• IRS FreeFile. If your household earned less than $66,000 last year, you can use the IRS’s tax prep software for free. If you earn more than $66,000, you can still use FreeFile to file your federal taxes for free, but you won’t get the tax prep help. Visit
• If your household earnings for 2017 were less than $66,000, you can get free tax prep and filing for both federal and state taxes at
• TurboTax military discount. Active-duty military in classes E1 through E5 can use the Free or Deluxe editions of the TurboTax Online software for free to file state and federal taxes. They also receive $5 off the Premier, Self-Employed or TurboTax Live editions of the federal tax software.
Active-duty military in Classes 6 and above are eligible for a $5 discount on all TurboTax software.
Start at The active military W-2 will be used to verify active-duty status and rank, and the discount will be applied when you file.
• Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. Those earning $54,000 or less, as well as people with disabilities and people speaking limited English can find free, in-person tax help from IRS-certified volunteers and free electronic filing through the VITA program.
To find VITA sites or for more information, call 800-906-9887 or visit
• Tax Counseling for the Elderly. Despite its name, the TCE program is open to all taxpayers. It is especially equipped to help those age 60 and older, and answer senior-specific questions about things such as retirement and pensions. TCE volunteers are IRS-certified and are often seniors themselves.
VITA and TCE sites are located throughout Western New York at community centers, libraries, schools and other community spaces.
To find a TCE site, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit
• If you use a VITA or TCE site, save yourself a giant headache and make sure you have everything with you that you need first. That will include your and your spouse’s photo ID, Social Security card for both spouses and all dependents (or Individual Taxpayer Identification numbers), birthdates for spouses and dependents, wage and earning statements from all employers, all interest and dividend statements from banks, health insurance statements, Affordable Health Care statements, last year’s state and federal tax returns, a blank check (or proof of bank account and routing numbers), total amount paid for day care and the provider’s tax ID or social security number, and copies of income transcripts.
Both spouses have to be present to e-file married-filing-joint tax returns.
• Where’s my money?
Maybe you’ve already filed (yay!), you’re owed a refund (double yay!), but you’re still waiting for that check to hit your bank account (boo!).
Most IRS refunds are returned within 21 days, but some can take longer. You can check the status of your refund at or on the mobile app IRS2Go.
In order to check your status, you’ll need your social security number or individual taxpayer identification number, your filing status and your exact refund amount.

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