A crumpled tax form
A crumpled tax form - 
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Not to ruin your Friday, but it's never too early to think about doing your taxes. Beginning today, taxpayers with lower incomes can go on the IRS website and prepare and file federal tax forms for free.

From Washington, here's Marketplace's John Dimsdale.

JOHN DIMDALE : The IRS wants to encourage taxpayers to file electronically, and so, has partnered with 18 different companies to offer free online tax preparation. This year's Free File program is available only for filers, married or single, who earned $58,000 or less in 2010. However, some private tax software companies are also offering free federal tax preparation regardless of how much you make.

This year, early birds who like to get a jump on their taxes and who itemize deductions will have to wait until mid February for their refunds. Kiplinger editorial director Kevin McCormally says that's because Congress took a long time to finalize tax rules for 2010.

KEVIN MCCORMALLY: They didn't pass the bill until right before Christmas. So the IRS is scrambling now to reprogram their computers so they can actually handle returns from people who itemize deductions.

Which means this year, procrastinators have another excuse.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.