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7 Ways You Can File Your Taxes Free

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Most do-it-yourself filers prepare their own taxes for one and only one reason: They want to save money. But tax software isn’t cheap, and hidden costs can sometimes blindside you. You might be forced to upgrade to another product midway through your tax return or to pay extra to file your state tax return.

Fortunately, the tax software business is fiercely competitive, and in an effort to attract new customers, software providers have expanded their free offerings. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to prepare and e-file your federal and state tax return without paying a dime.

Make sure you read the fine print and disclaimers before you start plugging numbers into an online program. Otherwise, you could discover that you don’t qualify for the free product, forcing you to switch to a paid version or to abandon your tax return midway through a program. Neither option makes for a satisfying taxpaying experience.

And keep information security in mind throughout your tax prep and filing. Use a strong password for your software log-in (not "password" or your dog's name). Be wary of e-mails purporting to be from your software provider; so-called phishing e-mails are used by scammers to obtain your personal information. Don't click on links included in e-mails. If you need to communicate with the software provider, do it through the provider's website.

Get filing -- for free!

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