Millions of Americans use IRS Free File to file their federal taxes every year. They can use either name-brand software or the Free File Fillable Forms. Combining IRS Free File with direct deposit is the quickest and safest way to get a tax refund.
Here are some facts to remember about IRS Free File:
- Start at IRS.gov. IRS Free File is available through IRS.gov: using IRS.gov/FreeFile assures taxpayers are at the official IRS program. Each Free File company has different criteria. Taxpayers can find out which company meets their needs and click on that company's link to prepare and e-file the return.
- Free File can find tax breaks. The tax software's question-and-answer format helps eligible taxpayers find tax breaks. This could include tax credits such as the earned income tax credit. The software then selects the appropriate tax forms and does the calculations automatically.
- Free for everyone. Taxpayers with income of $69,000 or less can use brand-name online software. Taxpayers who earned more than this can use Free File Fillable Forms. This option allows taxpayers to complete IRS forms electronically. It is best for those who are familiar with doing their own taxes.
- File from personal devices. Taxpayers may use their smart phones or tablets to electronically prepare and file their tax returns. They can do so with IRS Free File through the IRS2Go app or by visiting IRS.gov/freefile from their device.
- Easy online extensions. For those who cannot finish their return by the April 16 deadline, it's easy to use Free File to request a six-month extension. An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. If taxpayers owe federal taxes, they should estimate the amount they owe and pay it with the extension request. This helps avoid penalties and interest.
The IRS works with the Free File Alliance partners to provide 10 brand-name online tax software options at no cost. Many Free File alliance member companies also provide free online state tax preparation software. If taxpayers need help while on the company's website, they should use the company's free customer service options.
Taxpayers using an online product may need their adjusted gross income amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.