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The IRS wants to help you do your taxes for free: Here’s how

Free services are available from the IRS based on filers’ income levels.

Tax professional and tax preparation firm owner Alicia

Tax professional and tax preparation firm owner Alicia Utley reaches for tax forms on Jan. 14, 2017 in Boulder, Colo. Photo Credit: AP / Brennan Linsley

Filing taxes isn’t just a pain in the neck, it’s also usually a pain in the wallet.

Trying to remember complex tax laws and math skills that haven’t been used since high school leads many each year to either turn to a tax professional or costly software.

Fulfilling this annual duty doesn’t have to be costly, however. The IRS itself provides filers with different levels of free assistance to prepare and submit their federal tax returns based on their annual income.

Before beginning, filers will want to ensure that they have all of their tax documents together, along with their previous year’s tax return to serve as a reference.

Income below $66,000

Those with annual income below $66,000 will have an easier time completing their returns for free, as the IRS provides various software options to complete the process through its Free File Software Lookup Tool.

The IRS partners with services such as 1040.com, FreeTaxUSA and H&R Block to offer the free filing service, and those in New York state will be able to use the same process to file their state tax returns.

Income above $66,000

Things get a little trickier for anyone making more than $66,000, although it is still possible to file returns for free. In this instance, filers will need to use the IRS’s Free File Fillable Forms. This process involves doing math with only basic guidance from the IRS and doesn’t offer any assistance with state tax returns.

For those who have a basic knowledge of how tax forms work though, this solution could be the key to holding on to more of that refund — or having to pay less.

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