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What is the Free File program?

The IRS Free File program offers free federal tax return preparation and e-filing services to taxpayers who meet certain income requirements. For tax year 2020, taxpayers who made $72,000 or less qualified for the program (i.e., approximately 104 million taxpayers). Background 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. Notably, in addition to the income threshold cap ($72,000 in 2020), each Free File Alliance member sets its own, unique eligibility criteria. To review a list of each member's criteria, see MyTaxRights's Free File Alliance Eligibility List. You may also use the IRS’s Free File Online Lookup Tool to quickly find a qualifying Free File offer. Some members also offer free state tax return preparation software. Note: Although Free File Alliance members must meet the IRS’s standards for security and privacy, the IRS does not endorse any individual Free File Alliance company. While the IRS manages the content of the Free File pages accessible on, it does not retain any taxpayer information entered on the Free File site.

Is my information safe with the Free File program?

Yes. Your information is protected from any unauthorized access while it is being sent to the IRS. The companies that participate in the Free File program may not disclose or use tax return information for purposes other than tax return preparation without your informed and voluntary consent. These companies are also subject to the Federal Trade Commission Privacy and Safeguards Rules and IRS e-file regulations.

Can I use the Free File program if I have never prepared my own tax returns before? What if I am afraid of making a mistake?

Yes! Most individuals who qualify for the Free File program have common tax siutations and can use one of the available do-it-youself tax software programs to easily prepare and e-file federal tax returns. Please know that you do not need any specialized tax preparation experience or tax law knowledge to use the Free File program. The commercial tax preparation software offered by Free File members meticulously guide you through each relevant section of your tax return, question-by-question. Many taxpayers are able to finish the entire tax preparation process in under 60 minutes using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Can I use the Free File program if I do not own a computer?

Yes! You can prepare and file your taxes through the Free File program using either a computer, a smartphone. or a tablet. The IRS Free File Lookup Tool provides a quick way for taxpayers to find a Free File member that meets their specific tax situation. For more information, see the IRS's Press Release: Use IRS Free File Software on Smart Phones or Tablets.

What information or documents will I need if I intend on using the Free File program to self-prepare and e-file my return?

You will need: (1) an e-mail address; (2) a copy of your last year's tax return; (3) and any records to support income, deduction, and tax credit amounts. Records include:

  • Receipts to support any expenses used to claim deductions;
  • Wage and earning statements (Forms W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, and 1099-Misc) from all employers;
  • All receipts pertaining to your small business, if applicable;
  • Income receipts from rental, real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporation, trusts;
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099);
  • Receipts to support amounts paid to a daycare provider, and the daycare provider's tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number; and
  • Forms 1095-A, B and C, Health Coverage Statements.
For more information, see, Free File: What You Need to get Started.

Why I am being charged a fee for my state tax return?

The Free File program only covers federal tax returns. Thus, tax preparation companies may charge fees for state tax returns, although some companies also offer free state tax return services for certain taxpayers. Remember, you are under no obligation to buy any additional products or services offered by a Free File member.

How do I get a copy of my tax return?

Remember to always print a copy of your return after you successfully e-file it. Every tax return preparation company with the Free File program should offer you the option of either printing or downloading a copy of your completed tax return. If you forget to print a copy of your tax return, you can request a copy of your tax transcript from the IRS by visiting the IRS's Get Transcript page.

Will I be liable for mistakes made on my return if I paid someone to do my taxes?

Yes. The IRS takes the position that if your tax return preparer makes a mistake on your return that causes you to pay additional tax, interest, or penalties, then YOU are responsible. If this happens to you, contact your return preparer immediately and carefully read over any contract you signed with the preparer. If you are lucky (and the mistake was no fault of yours), the preparer may offer to cover the costs associated with the mistake. Otherwise, consider filling a complaint with the IRS Return Preparer Office. For more information, visit IRS's Make a Complaint About a Tax Return Preparer page. You may also want to consider preparing your own taxes using online tax preparation software. And if you made $69,000 or less in 2019, you may qualify to file your taxes online for free through the IRS Free File program. The online tax preparation software guides you through each relevant section of the return, question-by-question. For simple returns, you can generally complete the process in about an hour from the comfort of your home.

Free Fillable Forms

What if my Adjusted Gross Income was more than $72,000 in 2020?

If your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) was more than $72,000 in 2020, then you do not qualify for the online tax preparation services available under the Free File program. However, you still have the option of using the IRS's Free Fillable Forms service to self-prepare and e-file your federal tax returns. Note, though, you will need to be comfortable with independently preparing your return because you will not have access to the software-assisted service that is otherwise available with the Free File program.

Free Tax Assistance

VITA: What is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program? And do I qualify for the program?

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax assistance to:

  1. People who generally make $56,000 or less;
  2. Persons with disabilities; and
  3. Limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.
IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. Find your nearest VITA site by using the IRS's VITA Site Locator Tool. Before going to a VITA site, review IRS Publication 3676-B to gain an understanding of the specific services provided. Also, be sure to check out the IRS's What to Bring page to ensure you have all the required documents and information that the VITA volunteers will need to assist you.

TCE: What is the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program?

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax assistance for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, and specializes in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS. Before going to a TCE site, review IRS Publication 3676-B to gain an understanding of the specific services provided. Also, be sure to check out the IRS's What to Bring page to ensure you have all the required documents and information that the TCE volunteers will need to assist you. TCE sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations across the country. To locate your nearest TCE site, use the IRS's TCE Locator Tool or call 800-906-9887. When looking for a TCE site, keep in mind that a majority of the TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide program. To locate the nearest AARP TCE Tax-Aide site, use the AARP Site Locator Tool or call 888-227-7669.

LITC: What is the Low Income Tax Clinic (LITC)? Do I qualify for assistance through the LITC?

A Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) is an organization that receives a matching grant from the IRS to represent low income individuals who have a tax dispute with the IRS, and to provide education and outreach to individuals who speak English as a second language (ESL). Qualified organizations include, among others, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S. that meet the goals of the program. LITC services are free or low cost for eligible taxpayers. Although LITCs receive partial funding from the IRS, the clinics, their employees, and their volunteers are completely independent of the IRS. You can find the location of the LITC nearest you by using the LITC Map Tool on the Taxpayer Advocate site. The city for the main office of each clinic is listed; however, some clinics have multiple locations. Please contact the clinic for the office nearest you. Note, each clinic determines whether prospective clients meet income guidelines and other criteria before agreeing to represent them or provide consultation services. If you have questions about the LITC Program or grant application process, please contact the LITC Program Office at 202-317-4700 (not a toll-free call) or by email at