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IRS Free File great for college students, first-time tax return filers

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DALLAS - Free File is a free, federal income tax preparation and electronic filing program for eligible taxpayers, developed through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a group of private sector tax software companies. Taxpayers can do their federal income tax returns using commercial online software provided by the Free File Alliance companies.

People with a 2010 Adjusted Gross Income of $58,000 or less qualify to use IRS Free File brand-name tax software. People who make more than $58,000 can use Free File Fillable Forms.Just go to www.IRS.gov/freefileto get started.

“Free File saves you money and time preparing and e-filing your federal tax returns,”said Clay Sanford, an IRS spokesman.“This is an ideal opportunity to file for free for college students who perhaps had a summer job in 2010 or who worked full or part-time last year.”

The best part: There’s no need to be a tax expert—the Free File software does all the hard work. It completes the forms, does the math and helps find tax breaks.

Sanford said Free File can be especially helpful to college students who generally have incomes related to scholarships or part-time work. Because college students sometimes can have unusual tax situations, the IRS, in addition to recommending Free File, offersthese suggestions:

  • Check with your parents:Depending upon the circumstances, they may still be eligible to claim you as adependent. Your parents can claim you or you can claim yourself, but not both.So, talk over your taxes before you start.
  • E-file and use direct deposit:When you combine e-file and direct deposit you can get your refund in as few as10 days.
  • Grants, scholarships, fellowships and ROTC payments: Some payments you receive are taxable and some are not; see Publication 970, Benefits for Education for details.
  • Explore education tax breaks.Again, Publication 970, available at IRS.gov, will have details.

Learn more about Free File.Visitwww.IRS.gov and click on the blue and green Free File icon.

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