It’s that time of year again. The IRS will begin accepting electronically filed federal returns on January 31st, kicking off the 2013 tax filing season. But instead of paying hundreds of dollars to have  your taxes professionally prepared, you may be eligible for free tax preparation and e-filing through the IRS Free File program, a public-private partnership between the IRS and commercial tax software companies.

If your 2013 income was $58,000 or less, then you qualify for free software that provides step-by-step guidance on your tax preparation and helps you get the tax credit and deductions you’re eligible for. You can then transmit your return electronically for free with IRS e-file. Best of all, if you use e-file and select direct deposit, you can get your refund fast.

Even if your income is greater than $58,000, you can still benefit from this program since everyone is eligible to use the Free File Fillable Forms, which are online versions of the IRS paper forms and are designed for people comfortable preparing their own tax returns. However, this option does not offer state tax returns and performs only basic calculations. It does not provide the guidance that the software offers.

It’s free and you can get your refund fast. What’s not to like? Join the over 40 million taxpayers who have already taken advantage of Free File and get started at