If you made $72,000 or less in 2020, then you may be eligible to file your taxes for free through the Free File program. Each year, more than 100 million taxpayers qualify for the program, but less than 3% take advantage of the free service. MyTaxRights encourages all eligible individuals to strongly consider using the Free File program to prepare and file their taxes. The program is easy, safe, and best of all, free!
Members of the U.S. Armed Forces have access to a separate special tax preparation service sponsored by the Department of Defense---MilTax---which offers free tax preparation software to all servicemembers regardless of one's income. Visit our Military informational page to learn more.
What is the Free File Program?
In 2003, the IRS launched the Free File program to provide free online federal tax preparation and e-filing services to 70% of the taxpaying population (i.e., approximately 100 million taxpayers). The program is made possible through a public-private partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance---a group of industry-leading private-sector tax preparation companies.
How do I access the Free File program?
MyTaxRights makes it easy for individuals to access the Free File program.
Click on the "File Taxes for FREE Here" button;
Then click on the "Free File Program Lookup Tool" to enter some basic information to quickly locate an available free file offer. Alternatively, you can click on the "Free File Program" and then browse through the specific free file offerings (but this method is more time consuming);
After you select a Free File company, complete the step-by-step online tax preparation process---a very simple question-and-answer format to ensure you do not miss anything;
Enter your bank account and routing numbers to receive your refund through direct deposit;
Download or save a copy of your completed tax return; and
Pat yourself on the back, you're all set!
All Free File-related links may also be found on our Tax Tools page.
Free File can find tax benefits
The online software provided by Free File members uses a question-and-answer preparation format that helps users easily find overlooked tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. The software also selects the appropriate tax forms, filing status, and performs tax calculations automatically.
Free fillable forms
If you made more than $72,000 then you are not eligible to use the online tax preparation software. However, you do have access to Free File Fillable Forms---a free service that enables you to complete tax forms electronically. Note, though, it is recommended that only individuals who know how to complete paper tax returns use this service.
File using smart phones and tablets
Easy online extensions
If you are unable to complete your tax return by the April 15th deadline, it is easy to use Free File to request a six-month extension. Remember, though, an extension request only applies to the deadline to file your taxes, it does not extend the time you have to pay your taxes---this is still due by April 15th. If you owe (or think you may owe) federal taxes, you should estimate the amount owed and pay it at the time you submit your extension request. This may help lower or avoid any penalties and interest that may be imposed for failing to pay on time.
Lastly, to verify your identity through the Free File program, you made need your adjusted gross income figure from your prior year's return. To learn more about identity and electronic signature verification, visit the IRS's Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.
About the Author
Attorney Jordan D. Howlette is the President of MyTaxRights, LLC and the managing-member of JD Howlette Law, LLC, a civil litigation firm that represents individuals and businesses involved in tax disputes with the IRS, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), and various state departments of revenue. A former trial attorney with the DOJ’s Tax Division, Jordan leverages his extensive background in tax litigation to educate others about their federal tax rights and responsibilities. Each tax season, Jordan also volunteers as a tax coach with the Center for the Advancement of Tax Equity, where he teaches others how to self-prepare and file their taxes through the non-profit's free tax clinics.