When I was ready to e-file my tax returns through TurboTax downloaded software, it said that federal e-file was free and I could pay another $25 to e-file the state tax return at the same time. Considering that I paid only $30 for the software that includes all the complex logic to prepare both the federal and the state tax returns, $25 for simply transmitting the data and only for the state portion seems outrageous.
It isn’t just TurboTax. H&R Block does the same. Federal e-file is free but you must pay extra if you also want to e-file the state return. Only New York bans tax software vendors from charging extra for e-filing the state return.
No doubt many people relent and just pay the $25. Tax software vendors know it, and they’re counting on this for their revenue. I can afford $25. I would have no problem with it if they included it in the price up front and sold the software for $55 as opposed to $30. I just hate this sneaky tactic.
Printing and mailing the state return isn’t necessarily the only alternative though. Many states accept e-filing directly on the state revenue agency’s website. E-filing a return on the state’s website only takes a few minutes when you already have the completed forms from the tax software.
The web form on my state’s website is just an interactive representation of the same paper form. Besides personal information, I basically entered two numbers from my federal tax return – the AGI and the standard deduction. All the rest were automatically calculated.
Here I collected the available direct e-file links for all 50 states and Washington, DC. Please let me know if I missed any.
If your state offers direct e-file, at least try it once. You can always go back to paying $25 if you don’t like e-filing directly. If your state doesn’t offer direct e-file, printing and mailing isn’t that bad either. States don’t have a big backlog of paper returns as the IRS does. When I lived in California, they didn’t allow direct e-file if you had an HSA. I had mailed my state tax return for many years and I never had any problems.
You save $25, and more importantly, you feel good about not falling prey to a big corporation’s pricing game. You get the better product when you use downloaded tax software and you pay nearly half the price than using the software online.
|State||Free Direct E-File|
|Alabama||My Alabama Taxes|
|Alaska||No state income tax|
|Arizona||No direct e-file|
|Arkansas||No direct e-file|
|Connecticut||Taxpayer Service Center|
|Delaware||Division of Revenue|
|District Of Columbia||MyTax DC|
|Florida||No state income tax|
|Georgia||No direct e-file|
|Hawaii||Hawaii Tax Online|
|Idaho||No direct e-file|
|Indiana||No direct e-file|
|Iowa||No direct e-file|
|Louisiana||Louisiana File and Pay Online|
|Michigan||No direct e-file|
|Minnesota||No direct e-file|
|Mississippi||No direct e-file|
|Missouri||No direct e-file|
|Nevada||No state income tax|
|New Hampshire||Granite Tax Connect|
|New Jersey||New Jersey Online Income Tax Filing|
|New Mexico||Taxpayer Access Point|
|New York||Software vendors can’t charge extra for e-file|
|North Carolina||No direct e-file|
|North Dakota||No direct e-file|
|Oregon||Oregon State Fillable Forms|
|Rhode Island||No direct e-file|
|South Carolina||No direct e-file|
|South Dakota||No state income tax|
|Tennessee||No state income tax|
|Texas||No state income tax|
|Utah||Taxpayer Access Point|
|Vermont||No direct e-file|
|Virginia||No direct e-file|
|Washington||No state income tax|
|West Virginia||No direct e-file|
|Wyoming||No state income tax|
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