The IRS Provided, Easy-to-Use (If You Know Your 1040) ‘Free Fillable Forms’ For 2013 will NOT Be Available Until January 31, 2014.
by Anura Guruge
I have been using the IRS provided free, fillable forms for at least the last 4 years, possibly longer.
It is NOT tax preparation software per se. It is what it says, electronic FILLABLE version of the 1040 and associated forms. It does do some of the math, BUT you have to know you way around a 1040, be able to follow instructions in the 1040 INS (Instructions) and know how to use a calculator or Excel.
That the IRS, in 2014, has it under the above $58,000 income is a MISLEADING and unfair. It is basically trying to say that below that limit you can get access to FREE Tax software.
I do not like tax software. After 28 years diligently filling U.S. tax returns, 24 years of this in cahoots with expensive (but brilliant) tax experts I learned my way around a 1040 — because I like to learn how others do their magic. For the last 10 years or so that I was using my gifted tax preparer, I would first do my own taxes by hand before going to him. I would then compare what he did with what I had done. After about the first three years I realized that I was within 95% of him — and I knew what I could do to get the other 5%. But I continued going to him because he had the best repertoire of jokes ever. So I was kind of paying to hear the jokes more than for the taxes. He was a great guy. A laugh a minute. He did your taxes while you waited. That was great for me. I could see what he was doing and ask questions. I learned. He knew I was learning his trade but he didn’t mind. He liked me. It was a mutual attraction. We each found the other incredibly amusing, expect in his case it was invariably my appearance, and especially my face, that amused him. He used to call me all sorts of names, all derogatory.
So that is how I got hooked on FFF as I call them, fondly — free, fillable forms.
That they will not be available till January 31, 2014 does not bother me a jot. I can’t even start my taxes till LATE March. That is when I would finally get more or less ‘the final’ tax statements from Fidelity. So I wait.