More People are Filing Their Tax Return for Free

March 17, 2019, 1:30 PM HST (Updated March 14, 2019, 12:31 PM)
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More people are using the improved IRS Free File option to prepare and electronically file their returns for free, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

As of March 8, 2019, about 1.4 million taxpayers had already used Free File to file their 2018 return, a 5 percent increase over last year at this time. Now in its 17th year, more than 55 million returns have been filed this way since the program began.

Available only through IRS.gov and the IRS2Go mobile app, a dozen private-sector partners offer brand-name software designed to help taxpayers successfully navigate the new tax reform landscape and file their federal returns quickly, accurately and at no charge. Some Free File providers also offer free state return assistance.

Brand-name software is available to anyone whose 2018 adjusted gross income is $66,000 or less. Seven out of 10 taxpayers qualify. This means that most people will qualify for a Free File offer from at least one Free File partner. Many will qualify for multiple offers. Workers, families with children, first-time filers, seniors and members of the military who meet the income requirement are eligible.

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This year’s edition of Free File offers taxpayers some important new features:

  • People can now easily return to the IRS Free File page from a partner page if they don’t qualify for that partner’s offer. This gives people an easy way to explore offers from other Free File partners.
  • Returning taxpayers’ first option must be Free File. This means that if a taxpayer returns to a Free File member’s website this year, after using the free program last year, the first option after logging into their account will be the Free File option
  • Follow-up emails to taxpayers who used Free File last year will welcome them back to the Free File service. This serves as a great reminder to past users and is also designed to boost participation in the Free File program.

For any interested taxpayer, the speed and convenience of Free File is just one click away.  To get started, simply go to IRS.gov and look for File Your Taxes for Free on the top right. Use the “Help Me” tool to enter information such as age, income and state residency. The tool will match the user with the available software products.

Those who choose not to use this tool can still use IRS Free File to review all the offers made by each of the 12 partners. Once a product is selected, the user will be redirected to the partner’s Free File web page.

Those whose incomes are more than $66,000 can choose Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms.

Free File will be available through the mid-October extension deadline. This means that taxpayers who get tax-filing extensions can still use Free File to file their returns. In addition, anyone, regardless of income, can use Free File to request a tax-filing extension. That means there’s no reason for anyone to use a paper form to get more time.

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