FactFinder: Most Missourians can file taxes for free

The April 15 deadline to file your income tax return is quickly approaching.

The IRS said about 70 percent of the population is eligible to prepare and file their taxes for free.

So why then are accountants and tax preparation software companies making millions of dollars each tax season?

Over a dozen tax prep companies, like Turbo Tax and H&R Block, let people use a simplified version of their step-by-step tax preparation software for free.

The companies do it in hopes you will come back to their company next year and pay for a fancier version.

It's part of the IRS' free file alliance.

Generally, anyone that earns less than $57,000 a year qualifies for the free version, though some companies have stricter guidelines.

The IRS expects to receive tax returns from 2.7 million people this year. And the IRS believes about a million of those people will pay someone else to do their taxes.

But IRS officials said paying a professional is not necessarily a bad idea.

The IRS reminds people an accountant's fee is cheaper than paying him or her to fix a problem after you file your return.

Follow the link below to see a list of tax prep companies that offer a free file option.

You can also find a volunteer agency in your community that offers free tax preparation assistance.

IRS officials also urge everyone to file a tax return, even if you are required to do so.

You may be eligible for the "Earned Income Tax Credit" or EITC.

About 470,000 Missourians qualified for the EITC last year and, on average, those people received a credit of over $2,000.

The links below include Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, VITA, sites and University of Missouri tax filing assistance programs