I think clearly off-topic: "What's the best tax software to use?" (While many things here are opinion-based to some degree, this is a "shopping" question that's not really going to have a useful "correct" long-lived answer.)

I think clearly on-topic: "What are the filing methods $State allows for my state taxes?" (It's answerable, can likely use the state's web site or official form instructions as references, and will have as long-lived an answer as anything related to taxes can.)

The question that brings this up: Is there a “Free File Fillable Forms” equivalent for CA Form 540 for California Income tax?

My thinking is that it's much closer to my second example than my first. It's asking about filing directly with the questioner's state, and what options the state offers. A moderator closed the question as "seeking product or service recommendations". I can certainly understand where he's coming from, as it could be close to my first example, and could go in that direction if answerers aren't careful, but I think it's still on the "on-topic" side of the line. I submitted a flag for moderator review to re-open, and the moderator replied "I think those are still off-topic. Maybe open a question on meta?"

And thus, I'm opening a question on meta to discuss this. At what point does asking about how to file ones taxes turn into a "service recommendation"?


I closed it, in response, and agreement with a flag-to-close. And another mod agreed with me, rejecting your flag-to-reopen.

There are now 4 reopen votes, and one more will open it. My gut reaction is that nothing is free, and if the form isn't in-your-face on the state website, then it's a company that providing it 'free' in return for the State and IRS not entering into the tax software business. I agree, this is a gray area, and if voted to reopen, it will stay open.

Edit - I just saw the referenced question is now re-opened. I see the posted answer is basically 'no'. Either way, it will stay open.

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