Free income tax filing opens with IRS software

Nobody wants to think about taxes before they have to, but now is a good time to get a jump on April madness.

The filing season officially opens Jan. 31 this year but the Internal Revenue Service site will let taxpayers download tax software for free beginning Thursday if your individual or household income is $58,000 or less.

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Users who fill out the forms now will have their return automatically submitted once the IRS system is open at the end of the month. A receipt will be e-mailed. Use direct deposit and the IRS says most returns should be processed within 21 days.

"The majority of people in Kentucky get refunds," said IRS spokesman Luis Garcia. "It's your money, why wait?"

In Kentucky, 44,857 returns were filed through Free File in 2013, about the same number as in 2012.

The effort is a public/private partnership between the IRS and new tax prep software companies (Turbo Tax, H&R Block, etc.) available to about 70 percent of all taxpayers.

The opening of tax filing was delayed by the government shutdown.