Free simple tax prep available at Wal-Mart stores

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NEW YORK (AP) ? Free preparation of the simple tax forms is being offered at more than 3,000 Wal-Mart Stores nationwide.

Starting Monday, the nation’s largest retailer will open kiosks with tax preparers from H&R Block Inc. and Jackson-Hewitt Tax Service Inc.

H&R Block is also offering free preparation of 1040EZ forms at its own retail stores through Feb. 29. Jackson-Hewitt will provide free preparations at Wal-Mart throughout the tax season, and may offer a similar service at some of its own outlets.

About 39 percent of the133.8 million individual tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service in 2011 was submitted by late February. Early filers usually expect a refund. The average refund last year was $2,805.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is based in Bentonville, Ark.