Free online filing of federal taxes

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of the tax software industry have banded together to form the "Free File Alliance," a non-profit organization that allows those who meet certain criteria to file their taxes file their taxes electronically for free. 

One criterion, for most of the free file participants is having an adjusted gross income of $52,000 or less. That is regular earned income, minus any tax excluded or exempt income listed on lines 23 through 36 on the Form 1040. Many of the Free File Alliance companies also have state residency restrictions as well. 

Both TurboTax Freedom Edition and Taxslayer.com offer free e-filing services to servicemembers. Be forewarned however, as everyone must enter these companies' free services by linking to them through the IRS free file Web site in order to ensure they receive the services for free. 

The IRS lists several points about the program on their Web site: 

-  The IRS doesn't promote or endorse any specific programs or products associated with the Free File Alliance program. 

-  By going directly to a company's Web site and not through IRS.gov, a fee may be charged 

-  No one is under obligation to buy any additional products and services from any of the companies listed on the Free File Alliance Web site. Buying additional products or services isn't a condition for preparing and e-filing federal income tax returns for free. 

-  Safeguarding taxpayer data is a top priority for the IRS. Tax return preparation is accomplished using proprietary software approved by the IRS; transmittal is through the established IRS e-file system. Each company must attain a third party privacy and security certification. Alliance companies must comply with all federal rules and regulations on taxpayer privacy for paying and free customers. 

For individuals who do not meet the requirements to use the free filing services, but don't wish to file their taxes without help, the Osan Tax Center is available. The center is staffed with qualified IRS volunteer income tax assistants who can help you with most of your individual tax filing needs. 

Unfortunately, since VITAs don't receive any training with regards to state taxes, the only help they can provide in that area is to print you the forms. 

The tax center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with walk-in hours from 8-10 a.m. for 1040-EZ filers. The tax center is located at the education annex, Bldg. 788, Room 26. For more information, call Tech. Sgt. Jerry Boyce at 784-4131.