Tax season is officially upon us, and the IRS has tools to make filing a little easier. IRS Free File is a free online tool that allows you to prepare and file your federal income taxes. The service is offered in two forms – either as actual guided tax preparation through partner sites or through Free File Fillable Forms.
Guided tax preparation is offered through the IRS to provide free online tax preparation and filing through IRS private partners. Some of these partners include FileYourTaxes.com, TaxAct,Free1040TaxReturn and FreeTaxUSA amongst others. You can access the offers page here to see a full list of providers. The service is offered to taxpayers whose Adjusted Gross Income is $73,000 or less.Adjusted gross income is your total income less specific deductions (such as children, other dependents, etc.) You will need to use Form 1040 (2021 version can be found here) in order to calculate your AGI. Follow the steps for line 1-10, and line 11 will give you your final AGI. You will also need a copy of last year’s tax return in order to access your AGI.
Guided tax preparation through the IRS is completely free of charge if you meet these income guidelines. Important to remember: this is only for your federal tax return. You will still need to file your state taxes on your own, and follow your state guidelines for filing state-specific taxes. Some state tax preparation services are free, and can be found through the IRS Free File system, but you will need to make sure that you check it is free of fees for your state before you sign up for anything.
The other option the IRS provides for filing is Free Fillable Forms. These are electronic federal tax forms which are the electronic equivalent to a paper 1040 form which you can fill out online for free. Very important to note here: you will need to prepare your own tax return if you use this option. This option is for people who make above the AGI income threshold for free filing, but is offered to still help people file their taxes on their own more easily. This is the only free help available to those who make an AGI of $73,000 or above, but taxpayers of any income level may use the forms to file their taxes.