If you made less than $69,000 in 2019, you are one of approximately 100 million taxpayers (70 percent) who are eligible to file their federal taxes for free through the IRS Free File program. MilTax, a similar program offered by the Department of Defense, provides free online tax preparation for servicemembers regardless of income.
The Free File program is made possible through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance---a coalition of individual private-sector tax preparation companies. Participating Free File members provide brand-name online tax software options at no cost to qualifying taxpayers. According to the IRS, combining IRS Free File with direct deposit is the quickest and safest way to get a tax refund. Here are a few important facts to remember about IRS Free File:
Start at IRS.gov.
Access the IRS Free File program through IRS.gov to ensure you reach the official IRS program. Note, each Free File member has different eligibility criteria so be sure to locate the appropriate one(s) for your specific circumstances. Use the IRS Free File Lookup Tool to quickly sort through companies to find the one that best suits your needs.
Free File can find tax breaks.
The online software provided by Free File members uses a question-and-answer preparation format that helps eligible taxpayers find tax breaks, including tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. The software also selects the appropriate tax forms and does the tax calculations automatically.
Free for everyone.
If you made $69,000 or less in 2019, then you qualify for the Free File program and have access to brand-name online software offered by participating members. However, if you earned more than $69,000, then you do not have access to the free file online software, but you can still use the IRS's Free File Fillable Forms to self-prepare your return.
File using smart phones and tablets.
Easy online extensions.
If you cannot finish your tax return by the April 16th deadline (now July 15th), it is easy to use Free File to request a six-month extension. Remember, though, an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. If you owe federal taxes, you should estimate the amount owed and pay it with your extension request. This helps you avoid any penalties and interest 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.
Tax Tip 2020-22 #IRSTaxTip