As a taxpayer, you have the option to file your federal income taxes for free through the IRS Free File. Here we will explain how this taxpayer service works and how to request it to obtain a federal tax return for free.
What is Free File?
The IRS Free File Program is an alliance between the IRS and many tax preparation and filing software companies that provide their services to the United State taxpayers for free.
Currently, this IRS program offers two ways for taxpayers to prepare and file their tax return online for free:
- Free File Software.
- Free File Forms.
Let’s explore both options and their benefits to the taxpayer.
IRS Free File Software
The IRS has a partnership with certain online tax preparation and filing companies that provide their services at no cost to qualified taxpayers.
According to the IRS, to qualify for IRS Free File partner offers, the taxpayer must have an adjusted gross income (AGI) of 72,000$ or less. If you qualify for this option, here is a list of some of the providers who offer e-filing and preparation services for free:
- H&R Block
- 1040 Now
- Online Taxes at OLT.com
To get a free federal tax return, you must go to IRS.gov under the Free File section. Then you must select an IRS Free File provider from the “Browse All Offers” page or your online search tool results.
Once you have selected the provider, you will leave IRS.gov and land on the provider’s website. Immediately, you must create an account at the IRS Free File provider’s website accessed via Irs.gov to prepare and submit your tax return. Finally, the IRS will send you an email when it accepts your return.
It is important for you to access the Free File provider’s website as detailed above as an account created on the same provider’s business tax preparation website does not work with IRS Free File.
IRS Free File Forms
On the other hand, the IRS also offers fillable Free File forms as another way for taxpayers to prepare and file their federal income taxes for free. These are electronic federal tax forms that you can complete and file online at no cost, allowing you to:
- Choose the income tax form you need.
- Electronically enter your tax information.
- Sign and file your return online.
- Print your return to keep a record.
If you choose this option, you must know how to prepare your own tax return. Also, you must be aware of the following:
- It doesn’t give you guidance about which forms to use.
- It only performs basic calculations and does not provide an extensive error checking.
- It can only file your federal return for the current tax year.
- No state tax return option is available.
- You are not able to make changes once your return is accepted
Note that this is the only IRS Free File option available for taxpayers with gross income (AGI) over $ 72,000.