Free File: Frequently Asked Questions
Additional consumer information is available at www.freefile.irs.gov.
What is Free File?
Free File is a free, federal income tax prep and electronic filing program for eligible taxpayers, developed through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a group of private sector tax software companies. Taxpayers can do their federal income tax returns using commercial online software provided by the Free File Alliance companies. You must go to IRS.gov to access Free File. This year, you have until April 15, 2013, to file and pay your taxes or request an extension.
Who is eligible for Free File?
The Free File program is open only to taxpayers with a 2012 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $57,000 or less. Each participating company sets its own eligibility requirements and not all taxpayers will qualify for all companies. Individual company offers may be limited by AGI, geographic location, specific states and include other criteria, so it's important to review the criteria before you choose. Or use the "Help Me Find a Free File Company" tool to help you find a program that meets your needs.
If I am filing jointly with my spouse, does the $57,000 limit apply to both me and my spouse separately or combined?
If you are fling using the Married Filing Jointly filing status, the $57,000 AGI limitation applies to the AGI for both of you combined. This is the AGI that will appear on your return.
What if I don't have my prior year AGI or prior year self-select PIN which is needed to e-file?
To e-file your federal tax return, you must verify your identity with your Adjusted Gross Income or your self-select PIN from your 2011 tax return. If you don't have this information from your 2011 tax return, you may request an Electronic Filing PIN, a five digit number, from the IRS.
May I also file my state return for free?
Some participating Free File Alliance companies do offer free state tax return preparation and e-file. Check the company's Free File home page to learn if free state income tax return prep and e-file services are available for you.
Note: AK, FL, NV, NH, SD, TN, TX, WA and WY do not have a state income tax return filing requirement for reporting W2 wage income. Two of these, NH and TN, require taxpayers to file returns for individual interest and dividend income.
Do I have to download software?
No. All of the software remains at the Free File company website and your return is filed from there. All Free File company sites are equipped with the latest encryption programs to protect your privacy.
I bought tax prep software off the shelf. Can I use that to Free File?
No. Online returns must be prepared and filed through IRS.gov from the website provided by the company.
What forms and schedules can be use to Free File?
The Free File Alliance offers the most commonly filed forms and schedules. Refer to the list of most commonly filed forms. If a form or schedule is not listed, check the company's website for more information.
Can I get an extension of time to file if I use Free File?
Yes. Many Free File companies offer free electronic extensions. But don't forget to pay your taxes by the deadline. Otherwise, you will have to pay interest, and possibly penalties, on any tax you owe.
Where's my refund?
If it's been more than 21 days since the IRS accepted your electronic return and you have not received your refund, go the the IRS.gov website and access our online tool, "Where's My Refund?"
If I owe federal taxes, can I pay them through Free File? And if so, what are my payment options?
Yes. Free File offers the following payment options for paying federal taxes owed:
- Electronic Funds Withdrawal (direct debit),
- Credit or Debit Card and
- Check or Money Order.
For information on what types of taxes can be paid electronically, please visit the IRS Make a Payment page.
Is Customer Support Service Available for Free File?
Yes, the Free File companies provide customer service support to taxpayers. You should access the company's website and look for their customer support contact information. If you have questions or issues about the software product, then contact the company for help. The company will provide assistance free of charge.
If you cannot resolve the issue through the Free File company, you may want to select another company to e-file your tax return.. If you still need help, contact our help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where do I go now?
Get started at Free File by choosing a company or browsing the list of providers.
Get more info at our searchable Free File FAQs.
Go back to e-file for Individuals and e-file yourself or through a provider.