How do I File a Free Tax Return Online?

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  • Written By: Katharine Swan
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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The easiest way to file a free tax return online in the United States is through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. The IRS offers a program called Free File, which allows individuals and married couples filing jointly to file their Federal tax returns online for free if their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is less than a certain amount. For 2008, the maximum AGI for free tax preparation online is $56,000. This amount is calculated using the prior year’s tax returns in order to ensure that 70 percent of all taxpayers have free online tax preparation available to them.

To file a free tax return online with Free File, the user must enter through the IRS Free File page. From this page, a user can browse a list of companies that have partnered with the IRS to provide free online tax preparation, or they can click the “Help Me Find A Company” button and the system will locate a company quickly and easily. Most of the companies on the list are offering free tax preparation only to people in a certain demographic group, so the online questionnaire will help the system narrow down which companies will apply to the specific user.


The website also enables all taxpayers to use fillable forms to prepare and print their Federal tax returns from the website for free, regardless of their income level. The system walks the user through filling out the forms, then provides a finished copy that can be printed and mailed.

Many state governments also enable residents to file a free tax return online. This information is usually contained on the individual state’s website. The user enters the information into the system as prompted, and submits their bank account information to make a payment or get a refund. These systems typically become very slow as Tax Day approaches, so it is recommended that taxpayers file their taxes online as early as possible.

There are other options for filing a free tax return online, but it is advisable to watch out for marketing ploys and scams. Searching online for “free tax return online” or similar phrases generates millions of search results, and most of these are not actually free. Tax preparation companies often tempt taxpayers with free tax advice, but once the user gets deep enough into the website they find they need to pay in order to continue. Companies are counting on people becoming committed, and not wanting to back out and start over again with another company and another website.



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Post 1

I just used an online tax filing service and I've completed my return, "signed" it electronically, and they notified me that I had to pay $27 for my return to be filed or printed.

Can I go to another website to file my return or am I stuck? Thanks

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