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File Taxes for Free With I-CAN!, But is it Accurate?

This article was written by in Taxes. 4 comments.


The popularity of filing tax returns online has risen in the past few years thanks to online programs that make it incredibly easy. Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t let you file your taxes online directly, you have to go through third parties like H&R Block or Intuit to do so. My third part of choice over the past couple of years has been TaxAct.

The fees that we pay to file taxes online allow the IRS to do less manual work. It seems they should offer the service for free, but the government partners with software vendors who are willing to offer the service for profit, although some service do offer federal filing for free if your income is below a certain limit.

I-CAN! is a new service from a non-profit organization that offers free tax filing for everyone. Well, almost everyone:

You can generally use I-CAN!™ E-file unless you own a business, are a church employee or clergy member, sold real estate in 2007 or you or your employer have a non-US address. If you are in the military or you are disabled you may be eligible for tax credits that are not included in I-CAN!™ E-file.

I-CAN! is proud of the fact they don’t offer instant loans or cash based on anticipated refunds, like the bg guys. These are strong moneymakers, but are often viewed as a little unethical. The fee for these loans, when represented as an interest rate, border on predatory.

I would have liked to try I-CAN!’s software for comparison with the calculations presented by other software. I’ve read at least one complaint that I-CAN! has made significant errors in calculation; one commenter on Consumerist noted his 1099-MISC was not included when determining the final tax bill. Since I will require a Schedule C, I will unfortunately not qualify to use the I-CAN! software.

If you are able to use the software to file your taxes and would like to compare the results with those from other calculations or software, feel free to check back in and let us know.

Updated June 20, 2014 and originally published February 11, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Stephanie @ PoorerThanYou

Ran my info through both ICAN and TurboTax’s Freedom Edition. TurboTax was easier to use, and they got different results, and I just trust the result from TurboTax a lot more, especially since it comes with a guarantee. I have no idea how ICAN did it differently than TurboTax, but I’m just not going to recommend that people use it this first year that ICAN is available. Perhaps next year it will have the kinks worked out?

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avatar Eric Toya

I used to use Turbo Tax, but started using a CPA whom I was referred to a couple of years ago. I am very satisfied with the result. He does a great job, and I feel a greater peace of mind that it is done right rather than fumbling through it myself.

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avatar ChristianPF

It is good to see that there are not-for-profits getting involved in this industry… There is a real power in a not-for-profit, it is a shame that so many of them are mediocre (i.e. credit unions) but occasionally when you find a great one they can really stand out and offer a much better product or service than the corporations…

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avatar Matt

I filed with I-CAN this year after using TaxCut the past couple of years. I-CAN gave me the same exact return that TaxCut did this year after using both online calculators. I have pretty simple taxes–just a W-2 and 1098-E for student loan interest and I think that was a big deal in why it was as accurate.

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