Free File can make taxes easier for seniors and retirees

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

COVID Tax Tip 2021-19, February 16, 2021

In times like these, every penny counts. This is especially true for taxpayers on a fixed income. Many of these are seniors and retirees who can file their taxes for free. Free File offers online tax preparation, direct deposit of refunds and electronic filing.

Here are some facts about Free File programs to help these taxpayers determine which one fits their needs.

  • The IRS urges all taxpayers to file electronically and choose direct deposit to get their refund faster and avoid pandemic-related paper delays.
  • IRS Free File is available on, and features brand-name tax software providers.
  • Free File offers the Form 1040-SR option for seniors over the age of 65.
  • Taxpayers can browse the offers or use the lookup tool to help them find the right product.
  • Each Free File partner sets its own eligibility standards. These are generally based on income, age and state residency. All taxpayers whose adjusted gross income was $72,000 or less will find at least one free product to use.
  • Some Free File products are available in Spanish.
  • MilTax online software is also available to certain veterans, regardless of income, and is offered through the Department of Defense.
  • Free File supports all the major forms that can be filed electronically. This means that even if someone's tax return is a bit more complex, they can usually still find a free offer.
  • Using Free File can help people find valuable credits and deductions including the recovery rebate credit. If someone is eligible for a recovery rebate credit – and either didn't receive Economic Impact Payments or received less than the full amounts – they must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit even if they don't usually file. Taxpayers should review the recovery rebate credit FAQs for more information.
  • Free File providers also offer state tax return preparation, some for free and some for a fee. Taxpayers can also use the lookup tool to find the right state product.
  • Taxpayers can use their computer, smartphone or tablet to do their taxes. They just need to go to the Free File page of on their device. All Free File products can be used on mobile devices.

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