I-CAN! is a web-based tax preparation tool that will file your tax return completely free of charge. I-CAN has no eligibility criteria or income restrictions and will eFile your state return for free if you live in California, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania or Montana. It almost sounds too good to be true. So why isn’t I-CAN! a member of the IRS’ Free File Alliance?
Unbelievably, the IRS’ Free File Alliance limits participation to commercial tax preparers who charge for their services. The poor private sector apparently can’t compete against non-profits. Alliance members make their money by limiting free eFile to people with an adjusted gross income of $54,000 or less, and by charging to file state tax returns.
By contrast, I-CAN! was created by the Legal Aid Society of Orange County to help people qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and is now supported by the Legal Service Corporation. They have no incentive to gouge their customers. Just look at our favorite part of their FAQ:
Can I get “instant cash” or a loan if I use I-CAN!™ E-File?
No. I-CAN!™ E-File does not support or promote any type of “same day loans”, “refund anticipation loans”, or “instant cash.” These loans can come with interest rates up to 700% APR. If you e-file and use direct deposit, you will receive your refund within 10 to 14 days without paying unnecessary and excessive fees.
Can you imagine H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt being so forthright?
We’ll be using I-CAN! to our file our tax returns this year and you should too.
I-CAN! (Thanks to Jeremy!)