Everyone's “favorite” time of the year is tax season. Hopefully, you don't have to pay in this year. No joke, this app lets you file any tax return for free in 2021.
Your tax prep fees can be as high as $160 when you have self-employment income to report and you have to file a state tax return to boot.
You can file all of these tax forms for free with Credit Karma Tax:
- Federal and state tax returns
- Self-employment income (1099-Misc/Schedule E)
- Sold investments (Schedule D)
- Rental property income (Schedule E)
Other well-known free tax filing programs like TurboTax and H&R Block have more restrictions with who can file for free. But these platforms can still be better if you want online assistance from a tax professional.
While TurboTax and H&R Block have more bells and whistles, why spend money when you can get the exact same refund with a free tax prep app?
File Taxes Free with CreditKarma Tax
I sometimes cringe when I see the phrase “100% free.” After all, paying a few extra bucks (if you can afford it) in life is usually worth it most of the time.
One exception to this rule is CreditKarma Tax. I use CreditKarma to monitor my free credit score so I was naturally intrigued when they rolled out their free tax tool a year or two ago.
Although my wife and I now use a local accountant for their extra set of eyes on our business tax return, several of our friends use CreditKarma Tax to file their taxes instead of paying TurboTax the $80 every year for one of these reasons:
- Sold at least one share of a stock or an index fund
- Earn self-employment income or side hustle income on a Form 1099 (instead of a W-2)
- Deducting student loan interest
- Filing an itemized return
Guess what. If any of the four tax situations apply to you, CreditKarma Tax lets you file for free!
Now, you can file taxes free if you currently pay for one of these services:
TaxAct (The “Aldi” of tax prep programs)
- Military (Federal return is free but the State return costs money)
CreditKarma Tax Perks (Besides Being Free!)
Other than letting you file your federal and state tax return free, you can enjoy these benefits that make filing easy:
- Auto-import of W-2 with a phone photo
- Max refund guarantee (CreditKarma Tax ensures they will have the same results as TurboTax and Block)
You get a gift card when there's a minimum $25 difference (up to $100)
- Free audit defense A tax expert will attend all meetings as your advocate
So if you need to report self-employment income, capital gains or less, or rental property income, consider filing with CreditKarma Tax this year.
I'm always looking for ways to spend less money. This is a legit way to save a few bucks in the new year.
Why Not Use CreditKarma Tax
The average filer will do just fine with CreditKarma Tax, but there are a few cases when paying to file your taxes is the better option if you have a complex return. Or, you don't fully trust a computer algorithm to accurately calculate your return.
- You want a real-life CPA or EA to review your tax return
- TurboTax and H&R Block offer a human review (conducted online) before you file
- You prefer meeting with a local accountant familiar with unique federal, state and local deductions
- Sometimes, face-to-face conversations are priceless
- Have to file a part-year resident return
- CreditKarmaTax handles many complex federal tax returns but less-common state returns are a different story
Will you file for free this year using CreditKarma Tax? Or do you still prefer filing with an in-person accountant or another premium online tax prep program?
Drop a comment on how you are filing your taxes in 2021.
Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.