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

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

Tax Time Guide: Use Free File for Help with Tax Returns, Extensions, and More
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February 28, 2017

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding the millions of taxpayers who have yet to file their taxes that IRS Free File remains available both online at IRS.gov/FreeFile and through the IRS mobile app, IRS2Go. The IRS2Go app is available for Android and iOS devices.

The IRS Free File service makes brand-name tax software products and electronic filing available to most taxpayers for free. Some products offer both free federal and state return preparation.

In short, IRS Free File software does the hard work. It walks users through the tax preparation process and helps identify those tax changes that may affect their return.

Taxpayers have the option to prepare their tax return at any time and schedule a tax payment as late as the April 18 deadline. Taxpayers who cannot meet the April tax filing deadline can also use IRS Free File to request an automatic six-month extension until Monday, October 16, 2017.

Through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance—12 leading tax software companies have made their branded tax preparation products available for free to taxpayers. Since 2003, the IRS says that more than 49 million people have used IRS Free File, saving a whopping $1.4 billion based on a conservative $30 fee estimate.

Anyone who earned $64,000 or less in 2016 qualifies to choose from among the 12 software products to prepare their tax return. Those earning more than $64,000 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 $64,000 or less may use any IRS Free File software product of their choice without regard to the criteria.

According to the IRS, more than 70 percent of all taxpayers—more than 107 million people—are eligible for the software products. Each of the 12 companies has its own special offers, generally based on age, income or state residency. Taxpayers can review each company offer or they can use a "Help Me" tool that will find the software for which they are eligible.

IRS Free File will be available through Monday, October 16, 2017, only at IRS.gov/FreeFile.

REMINDER: All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, 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 identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at IRS.gov.

For more information on filing your taxes, visit the IRS Tax Time Guide.