See How Much Americans Pay To File Their Taxes

How Much Americans Pay To File Their Taxes
See How Much Americans Pay To File Their Taxes.

Tax filing season is here, and there are expected to be on the brink of 100 million personal tax returns filed in America this year (remember – some returns might be for married couples, some for singles, some for head of households). And with tax returns comes tax prep. and that we wanted to understand how people are preparing their returns, and more importantly what proportion they’re paying.

The IRS estimates that 70% of individuals filing a income tax return could qualify for free of charge file. However, last year, only 4.2 million people used it. meaning , most Americans are paying to organize their taxes.

So, what proportion are Americans paying to file their taxes? And what services are they using? Does it vary supported what proportion you create or filing status?

We commissioned a survey of 1,200 Americans across tax brackets and filing status to seek out out. Here’s what we discovered.
Key Findings
The majority of usa citizens surveyed PAID to file their taxes. In fact, 58% paid $50 or more to file their federal income tax return .
Only 25% of these surveyed reported filing their federal income tax return for free of charge . And 32% of these requiring a state income tax return reported filing it for free of charge .
Filing status mattered quite income bracket when it involves what proportion Americans buy taxes. those that filed single were far more likely to file taxes for free of charge versus those that were married filing jointly or other tax filing status.
46% of usa citizens surveyed used tax software (like TurboTax) to file their taxes. A growing percentage (11%) used a full-service virtual tax service last year (such as Picnic Tax).
What Tax Preparation seems like In 2021
With those finding in mind, let’s take a glance at how people prepared their taxes. Then we will dive into the prices .

How Did Americans Prepare Their Taxes
Based on our survey, we found that 46% of usa citizens used tax software to file their taxes. 27% of usa citizens used a full-service in-person experience to file their taxes – typically a CPA or tax service.

Surprisingly, 16% of usa citizens still used pen and paper to file their return. And an up-and-coming trend of virtual tax preparation garnished 11% of respondents. We expect that number to grow this year.

Overall State Return Pricing
What Tax Software Did Americans Use?
Given the recognition of tax software, we had to ascertain which tax software Americans were using to file their tax returns. And by and enormous , TurboTax was the dominating winner – garnishing 51% of the entire . H&R Block was second, but pretty far behind at just 14%.

Given there are over a dozen major and minor tax software companies within the market, there have been quite few within the 4-5% range, and lots of within the 1% or less range which we bucketed under “other”.

What Tax Software Did you employ
It’s also interesting to notice that switching of tax software isn’t quite common . In fact, 84% of these surveyed said they might be using an equivalent tax software again. Only 4% said they might be needless to say switching tax software this year.

What Matters When Selecting Tax Software?
So, why did Americans choose the tax software they did? it isn’t almost price. In fact, the most important think about selecting tax software was simple use – which could add up on why TurboTax is consistently the leader. TurboTax has the simplest to use tax software, with H&R Block an in depth second.

Price was the second factor, followed by the tools and features a corporation had to form filing easy.

Tax Software Features
How Did Americans Receive Their Tax Refunds?
One of the more interesting aspects we checked out was how Americans receive their tax refunds. And while 66% of usa citizens opted for direct deposit, meaning one-third chose differently to receive their money from Uncle Sam .

Of that one-third, 14% opted for a paper check and 12% opted for a prepaid open-end credit .

How does one Receive Your Tax Refund
We asked that one-third why they didn’t want to urge an immediate deposit, and there have been some surprising answers.

54% of these surveyed simply preferred prepaid debit cards. Only 16% were unbanked and had no bank account .

But 19% said they didn’t know because their tax preparer didn’t tell them! That’s a touch shocking.

Why No Direct Deposit
How Much Americans Paid To File Their Federal income tax return
First, let’s check out the general picture of what proportion Americans paid to file their taxes. The hard spare taxes is that there’s simply no “one-size-fits-all” approach. With different filing status, income streams, and more, the value (and time) related to tax prep can vary enormously. it is also one among the explanations why we will not just choose one best tax software; instead, we’ve a bunch of categories supported your needs.

With that in mind, here’s what proportion Americans paid to file their taxes last year.

Overall Costs To File Taxes
Even though the IRS estimates 70% of individuals can file taxes for free of charge , our survey found that only 25% of individuals filed their taxes for free of charge .

In fact, 58% paid $50 or more to file their federal income tax return .

Here’s how it had been broken down:

In fact, 58% paid $50 or more to file their federal income tax return .
Do Tax Brackets And Filing Status Matter For Filing Costs?
We wanted to understand what proportion a task tax brackets played within the cost to file taxes. Without watching the numbers, you would possibly assume that those in lower income brackets would pay less to file taxes, and people in higher tax brackets would pay more.

We also wanted to ascertain what proportion of a task tax filing status played within the cost to file federal taxes. for instance , would one person pay but a marriage filing jointly?

So, here is what proportion people paid at each bracket supported filing status:

Single Filers Pay
As you’ll see, at lower brackets, more filers are filing their taxes for free of charge . At the ten and 12% tax brackets, 50% of single filers are paying $0 to file their federal income tax return . By the time you get to the highest income bracket , you’re right down to 16% of individuals filing for free of charge .

Remember, tax software like Credit Karma Tax allows free filing in the least income levels – so it is sensible that some filers should file for free of charge at top tax brackets.

For taxpayers who file Married Filing Jointly, here’s how it breaks down:

Married Filing Jointly Filers Pay
What’s interesting here is that for couples within the lowest tax brackets, only 23% file their taxes for free of charge . we expect this has got to do with the very fact tons of|that several”> that a lot of tax companies that publicize free tax software even have a lot of “gotchas”, like making you progress up to deluxe versions surely tax credits or deductions.

We break down these “gotchas” in our list of the simplest free tax software. Married couples don’t got to be paying more for his or her taxes, especially at lower income levels.

How Much Do Income Sources Matter?
Finally, we wanted to look at what proportion income sources matter for tax filing costs. for instance , does someone who only earns W2 wages pay less in taxes than someone who is self-employed.

The answer is yes, income sources matter an excellent deal in what proportion you pay. this is often the first way that tax software sets their pricing structure. As such, what income sources you’ve got can dramatically change the worth .

For example, 24% of these with only W2 income filed for free of charge , with 18% paying between $51 and $100.

W2 Wage Tax Filing Costs
When you add investment income to your income tax return , the value Americans are paying to file goes up dramatically. With investment income, only 18% filed their income tax return for free of charge .

Incredibly, 23% of usa citizens with investment income paid over $300 to file their federal income tax return .

Investment tax Filing Costs
And those with self-employment income paid the foremost in taxes. Sadly, self-employment income also refers to people that add the gig economy, which may result into surprises for those that are filing taxes as a gig worker for the primary time.

Only 14% of these with self-employment income filed for free of charge .

Meanwhile, 22% of usa citizens who skilled our survey as self-employed paid over $300 to file their federal income tax return . And 30% paid between $101 and $300 to file their federal return.

Self-Employment tax Filing Costs
It’s statistics like this that make tax software companies like TaxSlayer a compelling offer, where they provide all self-employment forms and assistance for low prices.

How Much Americans Paid To File Their State income tax return
Finally, we wanted to ascertain what proportion Americans paid to file their state income tax return . 43 states require you to file a state income tax return . And there are two states which will require you to file a income tax return (hello Tennessee and New Hampshire, who only have taxes on investment income, but not earned income).

And while most of those states that do require you to file a income tax return have free file programs, most tax payers still find yourself paying to file their taxes.

On the state level, 32% of tax filers filed their taxes for free of charge . it is vital to notice , though, that this also includes taxpayers that “bundled’ their federal and state returns – essentially making the state free.

83% of taxpayers on the state-level paid but $100 to file their taxes in 2020. 51% paid between $1 and $99.

Here’s how it had been broken down:

Overall State Return Pricing
Final Thoughts
I was shocked that only 25% of usa citizens reported filing taxes for free of charge in our survey, especially given the expansion of strong free file tax software options.

I was also shocked by the gap in married filing jointly couples that are not filing their taxes for free of charge versus other cohorts. This tells me that they’re definitely falling into “gotcha” traps setup by tax filing companies who force you to upgrade once you begin the method .

There also appears to be a stimulating gap in pricing, with not many of us paying under $25 to file, when companies like FreeTaxUSA fall under that range. It seems to reflect the adoption of those services compared to the behemoth that’s TurboTax.

I was also shocked by the results of how people prefer to receive their refund. as long as some people do not have checking accounts and lots of prefer direct debit, i feel there’s an enormous opportunity to focus on these unbanked people with free checking accounts. i might expect to ascertain more banking partnerships from tax software companies within the future.


The College Investor commissioned Pollfish to conduct a web survey of 1,200 Americans. The survey was fielded February 4, 2021.



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