Tax time often stirs a blend of feelings among individuals. While some look forward to significant refunds, others delay dealing with their tax returns due to its complexity or fears of owing money. Thankfully, several free resources are available to help guide you through the process. A great place to start is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They offer free guided tax preparation and fillable forms, enabling you to file your taxes at no extra cost.
Take advantage of the IRS Free File program to file your taxes at no charge. This program provides two methods for preparing and filing your federal income tax online for free. If you’re eligible, you can use guided software for help with filing online. The program also offers fillable forms, allowing all taxpayers to file for free, even if they don’t qualify for the guided preparation.
Learn how to file your taxes for free with these helpful tips
The eligibility for IRS Free File depends on specific criteria. Taxpayers who qualify can use the free guided tax preparation software, while others can opt for the free electronic forms to file independently. To be eligible for the guided preparation, your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be $73,000 or less.
The IRS Free File program’s guided preparation is an online tax filing service available through an IRS partner website. Eligible taxpayers can use this service for free, getting help with basic questions, automated calculations, and even free filing options for certain state taxes.
To use IRS Free File for the 2024 tax season, follow these steps once the service opens:
- Visit IRS.gov.
- Choose either guided tax preparation or Free File Fillable Forms.
- You’ll be directed to an IRS partner website to create an account or log in.
- Prepare and file your tax return electronically through the partner’s site.
- Wait for an email confirmation from the IRS upon acceptance of your return.
IRS partners in the Free File program include major tax preparation software companies, part of the Free File Alliance. They offer free electronic tax preparation and filing services for federal returns. Some of these companies are 1040NOW Corp., ezTaxReturn.com, FileYourTaxes, OnLine Taxes, TaxACT, TaxHawk, and TaxSlayer.
Before starting with IRS Free File, make sure you have the following:
- Personal Information: Have your personal details, last year’s AGI, and Social Security numbers for yourself, your spouse, and dependents, if any.
- Income and Receipts: Gather documents for Social Security benefits, unemployment compensation, small business receipts, and income from rentals, real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations, and trusts.
- Other Income: Collect W-2s, Forms 1099-INT, 1099-G, 1099-DIV, and 1099-R.
- ACA Filers: Get Form 1095-A and Form 8962 for ACA provisions.
File Electronically: Sign and validate your electronic return using last year’s AGI or a self-selected PIN. If you don’t have this information, access it online or request a tax return transcript by mail. Contact Information: Provide a valid email address for notifications from the Free File software company about your return’s status with the IRS.