The only thing in it for the companies now is goodwill, Hugo says, and the hope that if your income climbs at some point, perhaps you'll fondly remember the tax preparation company that helped you out and will use its services as a paying customer.
Laura Scherler, director of financial stability at United Way Worldwide, echoes the same sentiment about myfreetaxes.com, for those who decide to use that service, and says the site is free for eligible filers. "There are no hidden fees or other charges," she says.
Of the VITA and TCE programs out there, she adds: "The community-based tax preparation services offered by nonprofit organizations are also always free. The volunteer tax preparers that participate in these programs are certified by the IRS, and every return is subject to a quality review to ensure its accuracy."