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FREE State e-file options for 2012 Tax Return (CA shown as example - All eligble States linked within)

jackc6900 444 January 4, 2013 at 08:28 AM in Finance (5)
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This post will require some collaboration but a few of the other threads got me thinking that there are several states that allow free e-file, that some of you likely don't know about. Most tax return software will often leave free state e-file off the table and will either make you pay $20 to e-file or make you snail mail it in, costing you postage, delivery confirmation, a trip to the post office and a slow refund, if applicable. Since I live in CA I will do a quick run through of what I have done in the past. The process will be the same but if you know your state has a similar free e-file option - add a link to the wiki!

1. Do your fed + state return in your tax software (H&R Block, Turbo Tax, etc)
2. Print or create a PDF version of your state tax return as if you're going to mail it.
3. Go to your state's free e-filing website, for CA it is... https://www.ftb.ca.gov/individual...ware.shtml
4. There is certain criteria to e-file through the website but unless you make over $300k and have some crazy tax credits you likely qualify.
5. Literally copy over the information from the H&R Block Tax forms into the state tax forms - they make it pretty easy to do.
6. Submit and get confirmation number - process takes maybe 10 mins it's so quick and without the added cost of paying your tax software to submit it. hug

Edit: All states will have their own criteria on who does and does not qualify, feel free to add a quick snipet in the wiki but to avoid mucking up the wiki to much it might justbe easier to take a peek at your states filing website and see if you meet the criteria. Most states set these sites up though with the general populous in mind - they tend to want to disqualify the top earners which I imagine varies by state.

Edit2: Full listing here - we'll keep adding to wiki to save on some clicks!! Thanks for everyones help, i've been repping like crazy!

Quote from deldem View Post :
States Participating in the Federal/State e-File Program
http://www.irs.gov/uac/States-Par...le-Program

States Processing State Only Returns
http://www.irs.gov/uac/States-Pro...ly-Returns

86 Comments

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#46
Thanks for sharing
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#47
Yeah, none of these apply to me cuz I am filthy rich and they make us pay.
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#48
Added PA - Although not active yet. I believe it says the 15th or so.
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#49
If you don't mind pay a little, alternatively,

TaxACT 2012 Ultimate Bundle (fed+state) $11.90 online version (include FREE e-file for BOTH Fed and State)
http://slickdeals.net/f/5602766-TaxACT-2012-Ultimate-Bundle-fed-state-11-90-online-version?v=1
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#50
Quote from jackc6900 View Post :
Be careful with HSA though because I had an HSA last year and still qualified because the plan was sponsered by my employer so the money came out of my check before taxes were calculated so there was no "HSA deductions" even though I had an HSA account. So if you have an account don't get discouraged.
Could you please explain this a little more? Even I have a HSA which saves me from paying more tax by per paycheck deductions.

But when I saw the guidelines for CA, the biggest bummer was HSA.
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#51
Quote from jackc6900 View Post :
Nice thanks - I imagine most of the general populous will fall into the qualify category. I consider myself normal... married, with a house and a kid, same job all year as did the wife and we make under $340k. No capital gains/losses or bonds or anything like that.
You're in the high income tax bracket. Why you even need freebies?
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#52
Quote from esquire415 View Post :
You're in the high income tax bracket. Why you even need freebies?
I don't make that much - that is CA's threhold for free e-file for married filling jointly. I make less than half $340k. Rather not get more specific than that lol.
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#53
Iowa, though it won't be available until January 22

http://www.iowa.gov/tax/elf/elfchoic.html
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#54
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#55
Quote from kart9051 View Post :
Could you please explain this a little more? Even I have a HSA which saves me from paying more tax by per paycheck deductions.

But when I saw the guidelines for CA, the biggest bummer was HSA.
Honestly I'm not a tax expert so I don't know for sure but I can tell you last year I had an HSA and was able to use CalFile just fine. I've actually been taking some tax courses and my intial thought was based more on the employer contributions being non deductible (because their exclusions by definition) where as employee contributions apparently are deductible. So I could be wrong... not sure why it didn't effect my state refund though - what H&R block calculated as my refund was my refund with state - maybe this HSA thing is new this year? See below for clarafication on how HSA effects your taxable income calculation.

This is how you calculate your taxable income:

Income (broadly conceived)
Less: Exclusions <--- this is where employer contributions to the HSA plan get removed
Gross Income
Less: Deductions FOR AGI <--- this is where employee contributions to the HSA get removed
AGI
Less: Deductions FROM AGI (this will either bethe greater of itemized or the standard deduction)
Taxable income
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#56
North Carolina:

http://www.dor.state.nc.us/electr...-file.html

They will post e-file options soon.....
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#57
Quote from jackc6900 View Post :
Honestly I'm not a tax expert so I don't know for sure but I can tell you last year I had an HSA and was able to use CalFile just fine. I've actually been taking some tax courses and my intial thought was based more on the employer contributions being non deductible (because their exclusions by definition) where as employee contributions apparently are deductible. So I could be wrong... not sure why it didn't effect my state refund though - what H&R block calculated as my refund was my refund with state - maybe this HSA thing is new this year? See below for clarafication on how HSA effects your taxable income calculation.

This is how you calculate your taxable income:

Income (broadly conceived)
Less: Exclusions <--- this is where employer contributions to the HSA plan get removed
Gross Income
Less: Deductions FOR AGI <--- this is where employee contributions to the HSA get removed
AGI
Less: Deductions FROM AGI (this will either bethe greater of itemized or the standard deduction)
Taxable income
Thanks for the explanation. I could make something out of this. But I will stay with HRBlock to be safe with numbers when it comes to IRSSmilie
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#58
Added Iowa
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#59
Quote from DVDBob View Post :
Just checked for GA, and unless I'm missing something, $57K AGI is the limit for free e-File.
Yeah some states can have kinda ridiculously low AGI criteria I'm coming to notice. Things like 401k and HSA contributions are deductions FOR AGI (which decreases your AGI). Don't know if I would go all out and up my contributions but if you're close to the threshold there are certain things you can do to lower your AGi and your taxabale income... which dictates your tax bracket... this is why tax planning can be very important. But again for a free e-file nothing to sweat about.
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#60
There are some amazing free tax software sites, where if your income is less than $57k, you won't get charged for using their software.
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