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New Member

Why am i being asked to pay for my return when its a simple return which is supposed to be free?

2 Replies
New Member

Why am i being asked to pay for my return when its a simple return which is supposed to be free?

I guess TurboTax is charging for e-filing, though the simple form software is free. Well, print it out and mail in to avoid e-filing charge.

Level 15

Why am i being asked to pay for my return when its a simple return which is supposed to be free?

TurboTax has 2 free products, and I'll tell you about both of them below.  However, you appear to be using Live Deluxe, which is a paid version--currently $120 for Federal and $60 for state (if applicable), and if you choose to pay the fees out of your Federal refund, there is an additional $40 service fee ($45 for California filers.)   I'll tell you about both free products below.


Live Deluxe is an even higher level than regular Deluxe.   You are paying extra for the Live portion, which includes live help on-demand from a CPA/EA tax expert during return preparation and a review of your return prior to filing.     That Live portion can be removed, if not wanted, but that will still leave you in regular Deluxe ($60 for Federal and $50 for state), unless you can use one of the free products that I'll explain lower down in this posting..

FAQ:  How do I remove TurboTax Live?


The regular Free Edition is for very simple returns and not everyone can use it.  Certain forms are not available in Free Edition and require an upgrade to Deluxe or higher, such as one of Schedules 1-3, itemized deductions, education credits, student loan interest, retirement savers credit, Child and Dependent Care credit, etc.  

For more info on regular Free Edition, see this FAQ:

FAQ:  Is Free Edition right for me?


Did you start in Free Edition and had to upgrade?    If you haven't already paid or registered, and if you are sure you don't need Deluxe, you can use the "Clear and Start Over" feature to choose Free Edition, but depending on the complexity of your return you may not be able to use regular Free Edition.  If you need to itemize deductions, for instance, or have one of the Schedules 1-3, etc., you won't be able to use it.   See this FAQ on some situations where one cannot use Free Edition:

FAQ:  Why do I have to upgrade from Free Edition?


If you have a very simple return, don't need Schedules 1-3, and are sure you don't otherwise need Deluxe, here's how to start over and choose regular Free Edition:

FAQ:  How do I clear and start over in Online TurboTax?


The other free product (TurboTax IRS Free File Program)  is fully-featured and can prepare all the usual forms and schedules.  It is even more powerful than Deluxe, if you qualify.  For example, in addition to Schedules 1-3 it can prepare Schedule C, D, E, F, etc., and enter K-1. But one has to meet one of the qualifications to use.  See below:


To qualify for free 2020 federal and state tax returns through the IRS Free File Program delivered by TurboTax, you just need to meet one of these requirements:


  • Your 2020 AGI is $39,000 or less (if filing jointly MFJ, this figure is for the AGI of both spouses combined.)  ; or
  • You qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); or
  • In 2020, you served as active duty military (including Reservists and National Guard) with a maximum AGI of $72,000, and you have a military-issued W-2.

If you meet one of those qualifications and want to use it, it is at this special website

but see these 2 FAQs first, including how to switch without starting over:


FAQ:  What is the TurboTax IRS Free File Program?


FAQ:  How do I switch to the TurboTax IRS Free File Program?


There are also other free file options that may have different requirements at the IRS website:

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