As the calendar turns to a new year, taxes are top of mind for most Americans. As you’re gathering up all your paperwork to tackle your 2017 tax bill, consider this: You could get free federal and state tax filing from Credit Karma right now.
This totally free service is now into free tax prep
Each January, the Internal Revenue Service releases its list of what are called Free File services.
The Free File program allows people who have adjusted gross incomes of $66,000 or less to have their taxes prepared and e-filed through free tax software. (That income limit applies to about 75% of all taxpayers, according to the IRS website.)
But in 2018, there’s another way to go to get your taxes done for free and e-filed…and your income doesn’t matter!
Making a return again this year is Credit Karma’s free tax return prep software. This service debuted in 2017 and stands out from the IRS Free File offer because this one makes free prep software available to all regardless of income.
In case you’re not familiar with it, Credit Karma is a totally free service that makes money by recommending credit cards and loans that they believe would be suitable for you. It’s a service that’s long been recommended by money expert Clark Howard.
While the company is supporting a dizzying array of tax forms, there are some limitations to the Credit Karma free tax product for the time being.
Among other things, Credit Karma’s software does not support:
- Part-year state returns
- Multiple state returns
- Nonresident state returns
- Filing state taxes without filing federal taxes
- Schedule H – Household Employment Taxes
- Form 1116 – Foreign Tax Credit
- Form 2555 – Foreign Earned Income
- Form 8332 – Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent
So, now the big question on everyone’s mind: How can Credit Karma afford to do this for free and how are they being compensated?
“Our mission is to make financial progress possible for everyone. By understanding your credit and your taxes, Credit Karma can better assist you with your finances,” CEO Ken Lin writes online.
“We can monitor your finances, help you make good financial decisions and suggest better credit cards, loans and insurance products. If you like a recommendation and get approved for a product through Credit Karma, we usually get paid.”
As far as downsides, we should note that Credit Karma is a company that can be difficult to get in touch with over the phone. So if you like to have hand-holding during tax preparation, this might not be for you.
But if you don’t mind doing all your communication over email, you might want to give this free option a try.
One further warning: Did you recently freeze your credit? Then you won’t be able to sign up for a new Credit Karma account to take advantage of their free tax filing offer — unless you were already in their system prior to freezing your credit.
If you still really want to go this Credit Karma tax route, you’ll have to temporarily thaw your credit and then sign up with them.
You decide if the hassle is worth it!