Tax Time Guide: Use IRS Free File for Help with Your Tax Returns, Tax Extensions, and More
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Tax Time Guide: Use IRS Free File for Help with Your Tax Returns, Tax Extensions, and More

IRS Free File walks users through the tax preparation process and helps identify those tax changes that may affect their returns

March 14, 2020

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding taxpayers who haven't filed their federal income tax returns that IRS Free File remains available both online and through the IRS mobile app, IRS2Go. The IRS Free File service makes brand-name tax software products and electronic filing available to most taxpayers at no cost. And some products offer both free federal and state tax return preparation.

About Free File

Free File Software provides free federal tax prep and e-file for taxpayers. Select a brand name software program, create an account and then the software guides you through return preparation. File Fillable Forms is a free forms-based tool for taxpayers enabling you to select your income tax forms, enter your tax information, print and e-file your federal tax return. If you're not comfortable completing a paper return by hand, without software to guide you, you should consider another method of filing your tax return.

In short, IRS Free File does the hard work of walking you through the tax preparation process and helping to identify those tax changes that may affect your return.

What You May Need

You'll need a bit of personal information and financial information to get started. Here are some of the items you may need depending upon how you'll file and the benefits you received in 2019:

  • Copy of last year's tax return in order to access your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI);
  • Valid Social Security numbers for yourself and anyone else on your return;
  • Documentation of Social Security benefits;
  • Documentation of any unemployment compensation;
  • Business receipts;
  • Income receipts from rental, real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporation, trusts;
  • W-2s, showing your annual wages from all of your employers;
  • Forms 1099-INT, showing interest paid to you throughout the year;
  • Form 1099-G, showing any refund, credit or offset of state and local taxes;
  • Forms 1099-DIV and Forms 1099-R, showing dividends and distributions from retirement and other plans paid to you during the year;
  • Form 1095A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement; and
  • Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit.

Filing Deadline

Taxpayers have the option to prepare their tax returns anytime and schedule a tax payment as late as the April 15, 2020 deadline. Taxpayers who cannot meet the April tax filing deadline can also use IRS Free File to request an automatic six-month extension until October 15, 2020.

Free File Criteria

Anyone who earned $69,000 or less in 2019 qualifies to choose from among the software products to prepare a tax return. Those earning more than $69,000 can use IRS Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. The Fillable Forms option is best for people who are comfortable preparing their own tax returns. Active duty military personnel with incomes of $69,000 or less may use any IRS Free File software product of their choice without regard to the criteria.

IRS2Go

The IRS2Go mobile app is free and offers taxpayers the option to make a payment with Direct Pay for free, or by debit, credit card or digital wallet through an approved payment processor for a fee. Download IRS2Go free from Google Play, the Apple App Store or the Amazon App Store.

Keep Copies

All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identities. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identities and electronically sign tax returns at IRS.gov.