The Free File software service from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) went live on Friday, meaning taxpayers can start using it in the run-up to the official start of tax season on January 29—which is when Americans can actually start filing their returns for the 2023 tax year.
The IRS Free File system allows taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $79,000 or less during 2023 to file and process a simple federal tax return for free. This year marks 22 years since Free File first went live—and today, it comprises a partnership between the IRS and eight private-sector tax-prep partners, including TaxAct and TaxSlayer.
Here’s the full list for 2024:
- Drake (1040.com)
- On-Line Taxes
- TaxHawk (FreeTaxUSA)
“The IRS continues its partnership with Free File Inc. to give taxpayers an opportunity to file their taxes electronically for free,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, in a statement. “Taxpayers will always have choices for how they file their taxes. They can file using tax software, a trusted tax professional, Free File, or free tax preparation services through IRS partners. Through the years, Free File has helped millions of taxpayers, and it remains an important option for people to consider using to quickly and easily file their taxes.”
Note, too, that Free File is different from the “Direct File” program, which is in the pilot stages for 2024, and similarly allows taxpayers to file their returns for free.
For taxpayers curious as to how to use Free File, the first step is to make sure you qualify. Taxpayers will need to choose a provider (one of the tax-prep partners), each of which set their own eligibility guidelines, but it’ll mostly boil down to income, age, and which state the taxpayer lives in.
But again, taxpayers will need to have an adjusted gross income of less than $79,000 for 2023 and ensure that their tax returns are fairly simple—they won’t be able to rope in or include any complicated tax matters or itemized deductions.
Taxpayers will need to gather their tax documents (W2s, 1099s, etc.), have their Social Security number, and a previous tax return on hand, and then go to the Free File website to find a “Trusted Partner.” Once there, they can go to the appropriate site and start working on their return.
For eligible taxpayers, it’s likely worth checking out, especially if you’re trying to save money—or anticipating a refund and would like to have it as soon as possible.
Last year, tax professionals increased tax-prep fees by 25%, according to data from the National Association of Tax Professionals. Accordingly, if you’re eligible, getting your return filed with Free File could save you hundreds of dollars.