First time tax filers: IRS Free File can make filing easier

IRS Tax Tip 2024-07, Feb. 14, 2024

If taxpayers are filing a tax return for the first time, IRS Free File can help. This program provides free tax preparation, free electronic filing and free direct deposit for eligible taxpayers.

The IRS Free File adjusted gross income (AGI) limit for tax year 2023 is $79,000 for families and individuals. Each provider sets its own eligibility rules based on age, state residency and income, and offers are available in English and Spanish. To find an offer that is right for them, taxpayers can use the Find Your Trusted Partner tool.

What taxpayers will need to prepare to file

To complete a tax return with IRS Free File, taxpayers need to gather the following information:

  • Social Security number. Taxpayers who don't have or aren't eligible for a Social Security number can use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
  • Wage and income information. This information is usually on forms from their employer or other payer, such as Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement and the Form 1099 series.
  • Their dependent status. They need to know if another taxpayer, such as a parent, plans to claim them on a separate tax return. If they’re claimed as a dependent on another tax return, they can’t claim themselves as a dependent on their own tax return.
  • Documentation for all tax credits and deductions. With the increased standard deduction, itemized deductions may not be necessary. All credits and deductions are subject to IRS verification and review.
  • Adjusted gross income (AGI) for the prior year or a self-selected PIN. They need this information to validate and sign an electronic tax return. First time filers over the age of 16 can enter "0" as their prior year income to sign their tax return. Taxpayers who have filed before should use the AGI from their prior year tax return.
  • Bank account and routing number. If taxpayers get a refund, they need this information to have their refund direct deposited. Direct deposit the fastest and safest way for them to get their money.

Benefits of IRS Free File

  • A free federal tax return. Taxpayers can choose an IRS Free File partner’s offer based on the offer qualifications on If they choose a program and qualify, there’s no charge for preparation and e-filing of a federal tax return.
  • Fees to file a federal return are prohibited. IRS Free File program participants can’t charge qualified taxpayers to file a federal tax return.
  • Protected tax information. IRS Free File partner companies may not disclose or use tax return information for purposes other than tax return preparation without the taxpayer’s informed and voluntary consent. These companies are also subject to the Federal Trade Commission Privacy and Safeguards Rules and IRS e-file regulations.

IRS Direct File

Taxpayers in 12 states may be eligible to file for free with the IRS Direct File pilot, a new tax filing service from the IRS.

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