IRS Free File is exactly what the name says
This program provides the bottom 70% of U.S. earners with zero-cost tax-filing services for federal returns. The IRS says Free File has saved Americans well over $1.7 billion in filing fees since its launch in 2003.
Here's how it works: If your income is $73,000 or less, you can file using a free version of popular name-brand tax software, such as TaxAct.
Each provider sets its own eligibility rules — based on age, income and location — but you'll have at least one option if your income meets that threshold. You might even be able to score a free state return.
Earn too much? The free software isn't available to you, but if you're willing to try tackling an old-fashioned tax return on your own, you can use "Free File Fillable Forms." (Say that five times fast.)
Note that while Free File itself is free, there can be related charges, such as a credit card fee if you use plastic to pay any taxes you owe, or a charge to file your state taxes with the same commercial tax-prep service.
Meet Your Retirement Goals Effortlessly
The road to retirement may seem long, but with WiserAdvisor, you can find a trusted partner to guide you every step of the way
WiserAdvisor matches you with vetted financial advisors that offer personalized advice to help you to make the right choices, invest wisely, and secure the retirement you've always dreamed of. Start planning early, and get your retirement mapped out today.Get Started
Using Free File software
If your income qualifies you for Free File software, go to IRS.gov/freefile. Choose the option best for you, and you'll be directed to click through to the company's website. (You can also save a step and go directly to the site of a provider.)
You'll need to have a copy of your last tax return handy, along with your W-2 and any other documentation of your income and deductions.
Never used tax software before? It's incredibly easy and goes step-by-step through your return by asking a series of questions to fill in all of the blanks. At the end of the process, you file your return eletronically.
The IRS says you save time and will get your refund faster, particularly if you opt to have the money direct-deposited into your bank account.
For 2023, the following providers are participating:
- On-Line Taxes at OLT.com
Feel like something's missing? Two of the leading names in tax software have exited the program over the last couple years: TurboTax in 2022 and H&R Block in 2020.
Using 'Free File Fillable Forms'
The Free File version available to higher earners requires you to keep things somewhat lower-tech and fill in a tax return manually on your computer screen.
You'll also need to know what you're doing, including which additional forms and schedules to file with your 1040.
Fillable Forms won't make any recommendations, check for errors or allow you to make changes after filing. It also doesn't offer any state returns or federal returns for past years.
You still can file your return electronically and have any refund direct-deposited.
Taxes aren't getting any simpler, despite past promises that one day we'd all be filing on postcards. You're probably going to need help with your return — but don't pay for it if you don't have to.
Follow These Steps if you Want to Retire Early
Secure your financial future with a tailored plan to maximize investments, navigate taxes, and retire comfortably.
Zoe Financial is an online platform that can match you with a network of vetted fiduciary advisors who are evaluated based on their credentials, education, experience, and pricing. The best part? - there is no fee to find an advisor.