Although the tax filing season officially opens Jan. 29, as of two days ago, taxpayers began preparing and e-filing their taxes for free with IRS Free File software.
Free File software will automatically submit returns as soon as the filing season begins.
A dozen brand-name Free File partners, acting through the Free File Alliance, offer their software free to eligible taxpayers. Each partner sets its own criteria, but any taxpayer earning $66,000 or less will find one or more software products available. Some providers offer both free federal and free state tax preparation, a seamless way to file taxes.
Active duty military personnel with incomes of $66,000 or less may use any Free File software product of their choice without regard to the criteria.
Use the Free File Software Lookup Tool at IRS.gov to find free federal and free state return options that match your situation.
Taxpayers now may use their smartphones or tablets to electronically prepare and file their federal and state tax returns through IRS Free File. Taxpayers may access the products using mobile devices in two ways: (1) Use the IRS2Go app, which has a link to the Free File Software Lookup Tool, or (2) use the device’s browser to go to IRS.gov/freefile. The IRS2Go app is available for Android and iOS devices.
The Internal Revenue Service and Free File Alliance mark their 16th year of providing free tax preparation products to taxpayers.
In those 16 years, taxpayers have filed 51.1 million free federal tax returns. This means a savings of $1.5 billion to taxpayers, using a conservative $30 per return preparation fee.
The IRS urges taxpayers to prepare and file their returns only when they have all the tax documents they need to support their claims on income, credits and deductions. Taxpayers who use a final pay stub instead of a Form W-2 could end up with errors on their returns.
Although taxpayers may complete and file their taxes now through Free File, the returns will not be submitted to the IRS for processing until Jan. 29. The fastest way to get a refund remains e-file and direct deposit. The IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, although some require additional time.
The IRS reminds taxpayers that if their refund includes the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, the agency by law must hold that refund until mid-February.