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How to File Your Federal Taxes Online For Free

by Ryan Guina

IRS Logo Free File TaxesTax season is open! If you still haven’t filed your taxes yet, you may be able to do so for free by using the tips in this article. I highly recommend using e-file when you file your taxes because your tax return is processed at least twice as quickly as a paper tax return. You may receive your refund in as little as 8 days via e-file and select direct deposit as your payment method for your tax refund. On the other hand, it can take a month or more to receive a refund if you file paper forms. Receiving your refund can also take longer if you choose a paper check as your refund method. Keep in mind, the sooner you complete your return, the sooner you will receive a refund!

With that in mind, let’s look at how you can file your taxes online for free. This is the safest, fastest, and most accurate method for filing your taxes. Filing online reduces errors, since paper returns must be manually entered into the IRS computers which can cause delays, and sometimes transcription errors. When possible, efile your tax return.

File Your Tax Return for Free Online

free_file_logoFree File with the IRS. There are several places you can e-file your taxes for free. The IRS recently began offering Free File Fillable Forms to everyone, regardless of income (previously, free file options were limited to lower income individuals). The Free File Fillable Forms are online versions of the paper forms, however, they are designed for people who are comfortable and skilled at dong their own taxes, as they only offer basic calculations. The other downside is that the IRS only offers the Federal versions of these forms – it is up to you to track down your state tax forms if required by your state.

Free File with a private company. The IRS also contracts with multiple private companies to provide free tax software to taxpayers under a certain Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Taxpayers with an AGI less than $58,000 are qualified to file their federal taxes free through a participating company. Again, state taxes are not included in the Free File offer. Companies that offer Free File may have different eligibility requirements for their Free File program, and the available forms and services may vary – be sure to read the details.

IRS Free File Program vs. Free E-file

irs-efileIt’s also essential to clear up some confusion regarding the IRS FreeFile program, and free e-filing. The basic difference is that Free File is sponsored by the IRS through the two methods mentioned above. E-file is a method of filing your taxes via the internet and is offered free of charge by all the major tax software and tax preparation companies. Processing tax returns submitted via e-file is cheaper, faster, and more accurate than filing paper returns.

When searching for a place to file your taxes for free, be sure that you are signing up for the Free File program if you qualify, and always ensure the tax preparation company or software you use offers free e-file so you can receive your tax refund more quickly

Where to File Your Taxes for Free

There are many online tax preparation companies and various software programs. Here are a few of the major programs that offer software support, guarantee their tax preparations, and offer Free File and free e-file. Remember that there may be different Free File eligibility rules (you generally must have an AGI under $58,000 to qualify) and there may be an additional charge to file your state taxes.

Turbo Tax Free FileFree File with TurboTax: TurboTax is the company I used for about 5 years or so, and I am most familiar with their product (I now use an accountant due to my business income and more complicated tax situation). The TurboTax software is intuitive and walks you through each stage of the tax return, including income, deductions, tax credits, etc. The TurboTax Free file program supports IRS forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ.

  • File your federal tax return free with TurboTax.

H&R Block at Home Free File Free File with H&R Block At Home: H&R Block At Home is the software program owned by H&R Block. Their software is fully guaranteed and easy to use. The H&R Block At Home Free File Online program guides you through a simple, federal tax return to help ensure your taxes are done right. The form is pre-selected and there are no forms to select.

FreeTax USA Free FileFree File with FreeTaxUSA: FreeTaxUSA provides free federal tax returns for anyone, regardless of income. There is also a Deluxe Edition which only runs $5.95 per return. The Deluxe version include audit assist, the ability to amend your tax return, and priority customer support. There is a charge of $12.95 to file state taxes. FreeTaxUSA’s Free File program covers all simple forms of income, deductions, and credits. Check out the FreeTaxUSA site for more details.

  • File your federal tax return free with FreeTaxUSA.

Whichever company you use to file your taxes, I hope your tax return is a good one and you receive it quickly! Good luck!

Note: If you are in the military, you are also eligible for free tax preparation. Check out this article: Free Tax Preparation for Military Members.


Published or updated January 31, 2014.
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen

I never stress about my taxes or how to file them. I am lucky to have an uncle who is an accountant. I hand everything to him, and all I have to do is sign a few things and drop it in the mail. He even addresses the envelops for me. :)

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2 Ryan

No fair! That’s cheating! ;)

Just kidding. I’d love to have that option! I usually just buy a copy of TurboTax because I don’t qualify for Free File. It works well enough for me and is easy to use. I won’t be starting my taxes for a couple weeks because I haven’t yet received my income statement from many of the companies I deal with for my small business… fun!

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3 Tom

I’ve been using TaxAct, and it’s been really easy. It also saves your information from past years so it’s been very easy for me.

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4 Ryan

Tom, Thanks for the info – that’s great to know! I know that TurboTax and TaxCut offer the same feature when you use their online version.

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5 Sam

If only there was somewhere to have your taxes filled out for free too.

I may have the solution, my sis is soon to be a CPA. Hopefully she will do my taxes. I’ll probably have to do them for myself this year. She still don’t know what she doing yet.

Great post, good info, thx.

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6 Ryan

Ha! Sam, I know what you mean!

Actually, if you are in the military, you probably can get your taxes done for free: Free Tax Preparation for Military Members. Of course, that only applies to a small percentage of US citizens. :)

As for me, I’ll probably be going with TurboTax again this year. It’s what I know best. Good luck on your taxes this year!

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7 earl

This doesn’t make any sense. The first date to File 2009 taxes was Jan 15 2009
Article title ” how to file your federal taxes for free

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8 Ors

I’m lucky my parents have a business and their accountant does mine for free. So I’m lucky too..lol

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