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How to File for Free This Year

January 21, 2016

Filing tax returns electronically is fast and secure, and generally makes the processing of your return faster. There are a variety of ways to file your return electronically. Individual taxpayers can file their tax return and tax forms electronically for free by using the following online IRS tools:

IRS Free File

If your adjusted gross income is $62,000 or less, you can use Free File software to prepare and file your return for free. The IRS offers 13 software programs from different companies to choose from. You may review each company’s qualifying restrictions to ensure that you are eligible for free return preparation and filing.

Some companies support and do not charge for state tax returns. Some offer free state returns only for some states. You may visit this IRS page to review each offer. You may also use ‘Help Me Find Free File Software’ to select the right software for your needs.

Free File Fillable Forms

If your adjusted gross income is above $62,000, and you can do your own taxes, you may use Free File Fillable Forms. This service does your math and offers basic guidance on return preparation. State tax preparation is not available on this service.

You will need to create a new account each year to access Free File Fillable Forms. For security reasons, the IRS deletes all accounts after October 20 of a year.

E-File with Commercial Software

If you use commercial software to prepare your taxes and want to e-file your return electronically, you need to sign in to e-file using the Self-Select PIN or the Electronic Filing PIN. Once your filing is complete, your return will be securely transmitted through an IRS-approved electronic channel. The IRS does not use e-mail for the transmittal of returns because it is not as secure as IRS channels.

The IRS computers will automatically check the return for errors. In the case of simple mistakes such as math errors or incorrect social security number, the IRS immediately sends back the return for corrections. The filer can correct the mistakes and send the return back. This prevents the taxpayer from having to file an amended return.

Finding an e-file Provider

If you need an authorized e-file provider to file your tax return electronically, you may use the ‘Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Individuals’ to find one. By simply entering your ZIP code, you can find a professional e-file provider. This service is available on the IRS website, IRS.gov.

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