The simplest way to prepare and file a tax return for free, download tax forms, check refund status, and more is to use the IRS website. The IRS encourages taxpayers to use their various online services to get free tax help and avoid scammers. The important services the IRS provides on irs.gov are:

‘Do You Need to File a Return?’

You can find out if you are required to file a return by taking a short 12-minute questionaire, using this service. You will also need your filing status, the amount of federal income tax withheld, and basic information to help you to determine your gross income.

‘What is My Filing Status?’

If you can use more than one filing status, this five-minute questionnaire will help you to determine the filing status that will give you the lowest amount of taxes. For the questionnaire, you need your marital status (and spouse’s year of death, if applicable) and the percentage of the costs your household members paid towards keeping a home.

IRS Withholding Calculator

If you are an employee, you can calculate your withholding and see if you need to give your employer a new Form W4. To use this service, you need your most recent pay stubs, and your most recent income tax return.

Who Can I Claim as a Dependent?

By participating in a standard 15-minute questionnaire, you can know who you can claim as a dependent on your return. For the questionnaire, you need your marital status, relationship to the dependent and the amount of support provided. You also need your basic income information.

Free File

If your income is below $62,000, you can choose free file software at irs.gov to prepare and file your tax return for free. There are a variety of tax software from reputed brands to choose from. If your income is above $62,000 and you can do your own taxes, you may try free file fillable forms.

e-File Providers

There is an online database of authorized IRS e-file providers. You simply need to enter your ZIP code to locate an authorized IRS e-file provider near you.

‘Where’s My Refund?’

You can use this service to check the expected arrival date of your tax refund. To check the status of your refund, you need your Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number, filing status, and the exact amount of your refund.

‘Where’s My Amended Return?’

This tool provides the status of Form 1040X Amended Tax Return for the current year and for the past three years. Usually, the IRS takes up to 16 weeks to process an amended return. You may check the status of your amended return three weeks after you mail it to the IRS. To get the status, you need your SSN, date of birth and zip code.