Free File is a partnership between the IRS and 13 well-known and respected brand-name tax software companies that provides free use of their tax software products to eligible taxpayers. Taxpayers can review all their options and choose the free offer that best meets their needs. This year, families with an adjusted gross income of $66,000 or less qualify to use one of the free software products. Last year, nearly three million taxpayers were able to use free tax software products through this partnership. Since its debut in 2003, the Free File program has helped save taxpayers more than $1.3 billion in tax preparation costs, thanks to the more than 50 million returns that have been filed through the program.
Free File is provided at no cost — no strings attached.
The software products available through Free File help taxpayers determine whether they are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit and other important tax credits. It also saves them the cost of tax preparation, letting them keep their full refund.
Free File is a consumer safety zone. The products do not include advertisements, cross-sells or up-sells, and refund anticipation loans are banned.
There are no costs to the government to run this program or to taxpayers who are eligible to use the services. Electronically filed tax returns allow the IRS to process returns and refunds faster.
Free File services are available online 24/7, starting January 12th 2018, at https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free. Taxpayers can use Free File anywhere they feel comfortable using the Internet; there is nothing to download or buy.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and 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.
In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing 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.
VITA and TCE sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations across the country. To locate the nearest VITA or TCE site near you, use the VITA 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 between January and April use the AARP Site Locator Tool or call 888-227-7669.
At select tax sites, taxpayers also have an option to prepare their own basic federal and state tax return for free using Free File with an IRS-certified volunteer to help guide you through the process. This option is only available at locations that list “Self-Prep” in the site listing.