The official opening of tax filing season is almost here. And if you're planning to use your tax refund as a down payment on a new or used vehicle, you may be counting down the days. Luckily, most eager filers can start preparing their returns right now.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has already opened their Free File program for 2017. If you qualify to participate in the program, you can submit your information now and it will be held until January 23rd. This is the date on which the IRS will start accepting tax returns.

The Benefits of Using Free File when Doing Your Tax Return

Free Federal Tax Return

The IRS introduced Free File in 2003. Since then, more than 49 million tax-payers have used the program. And based on a $30 estimate per person (what it might cost to pay for a tax prep service), more than $1.4 billion has been saved.

When eligible filers enroll in the Free File program, they gain access to dozens of brand-name tax prep products. In order to qualify for Free File, your adjusted gross income for 2016 must be $64,000 or less. This represents more than 70% of U.S. taxpayers.

Preparing your tax return doesn't have to be a stressful experience. The kind of tax prep software that Free File offers will walk you through the entire process, step by step. You can then e-file your return and have your refund deposited directly into your account. There's no paper involved or time wasted.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using Free File to do your tax return:

  • Those who qualify to use Free File won't meet the criteria to use every product offered. But there will be at least one product available for all eligible filers. The Free File Software Lookup tool will help you find the one that is right for you.
  • Some of the companies that participate in the program offer state tax return services for free, but not all. With certain products offered through Free File, a fee is required for state tax return prep.
  • If you are claiming an Earned Income Tax Credit or an Additional Child Tax credit, your refund may not be deposited until the week of February 27th.

For those who aren't as eager to jump into tax prep right away, the Free File program will be available throughout the filing season.

How to Buy a Car Once You've Received Your Tax Refund

For a lot of consumers, the annual tax refund that they receive is the best windfall of cash that they'll see all year. It makes sense that tax season is a popular time in which to purchase a vehicle. Of course, it may be tempting to use this cash to buy an inexpensive car from a private seller outright. But there is a better option.

There are definite perks that come with purchasing a vehicle with an auto loan. Here are just a few of them:

  • Using a portion of your tax refund as a down payment on a car will allow you to put some cash into savings. This money can be used later to make a car payment or to cover an emergency repair.
  • Speaking of repairs, an inexpensive car that's purchased with cash from a private seller may need a lot of them. After several trips to a service center, your "bargain" vehicle may not seem like such a good deal. On the other hand, if you finance a car, you'll likely be able to buy a more recent model with fewer issues.
  • If you have bad credit, buying a car with cash will do nothing to improve your situation. However, if you purchase your vehicle with a car loan, you'll get an opportunity to repair your credit. By making all of your payments on time, you should see a gradual improvement in your credit score.

Are you concerned that getting approved for vehicle financing with bad credit will be too difficult? Don't worry. Help is available.

Auto Loan Assistance for Bad Credit Car Buyers

Whether it's tax season or any other time of the year, Auto Credit Express can make it easier to get approved for a bad credit car loan. We can match you with a dealership in your area that can work with your situation.

With the service we provide, you'll get a fair shot at financing approval, and it won't cost you anything. Applying with us is also obligation-free. So go ahead and fill out our simple and secure online application to get started today.