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Top 5 Free Resources to Help on Tax Day

Procrastination is a way of life. Luckily there are some open source and free (as in free beer!) resources out there to help those of us in the United States that have to meet the deadline for filing taxes on April 15th.

Those of you not from the U.S — I can only imagine how crazy your tax procedures must also be.. 88|
As far as the American level of tax crazy, here are 5 places you can go for last-minute help:

5. Tax Calculator Spreadsheet – this spreadsheet is a US Federal Income Tax Form 1040 calculator/aide created by a gentleman by the name of Glenn Reeves. This spreadsheet has been released (I believe) every year since 1996. It is an Excel spreadsheet that looks exactly like the tax forms, and most calculations are done automatically. You can find the spreadsheet here.

4. TaxAct – this software is not open source, but does offer a free version with less features. Their website here states: “Everything that you need to file free online tax returns is included at no charge – prepare your federal return, print your return, and take advantage of free online tax filing with e-file for a refund in as few as 8 days. TaxACT is the pioneer of free online tax filing, with over a decade of experience.” Unfortunately there is no free state tax filing.

3. The Government – There is a way to file your taxes online free of charge for those making less than $50,000. Check out the IRS site here for information. As a side note, TaxAct allows you to file with the IRS online for free even with the free version of their software.

2. AARP has free resources available to help individuals prepare their taxes, and there does not appear to be an age or income requirement for this assistance. From the AARP site: “From February 1 through April 15th each year, the AARP Tax-Aide program offers free one-on-one counseling, as well as assistance on the telephone and internet to help individuals prepare basic tax forms, including the 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ and other standard schedules.”

1. Open Tax Solver – this project has released a free, open source program for both Windows and Linux to cover the US tax year 2008, for Federal taxes and also state tax filings for several different states. From their site here: “OpenTaxSolver (OTS) is a free program for calculating Tax Form entries and tax-owed or refund-due, such as Federal or State personal income taxes. The updates for the 2008 tax-year have been released for US 1040 with Schedules A, B, C, & D, and State-Taxes for California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virgina, New York, and Massachusetts.” There are plans for OpenTaxSolver to be released for other countries as well in the future.

Good luck and happy Tax Day! :p