Tax Time Guide: Use Free File for Help with Tax Returns, Extensions and More

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

Updated 3/1/18 to include correct link to the Tax Time Guide.

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IR-2017-45, Feb. 27, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded the millions of taxpayers who have yet to file their taxes that IRS Free File remains available either online at or through the mobile app, IRS2Go. The IRS2Go app is available for Android and iOS devices.

The IRS Free File service makes brand-name tax software products and electronic filing available to most taxpayers for free. Some products offer both free federal and free state return preparation.

The IRS has developed a series of tips, the Tax Time Guide, to help taxpayers navigate common tax issues as this year’s April 18 deadline approaches. This is the second in a series of 10 tips.

Taxpayers have the option to prepare their return at any time and schedule a tax payment as late as the April 18 deadline. Taxpayers who cannot meet the April tax filing deadline can also use IRS Free File to request an automatic six-month extension until Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.

Through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a group of 12 leading tax software companies make their branded products available for free. Since 2003, more than 49 million people have used IRS Free File, saving $1.4 billion based on a conservative $30 fee estimate.

Anyone who earned $64,000 or less last year qualifies to choose from among 12 software products. Those earning more than $64,000 can use IRS Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. The Fillable Forms option is best for people who are comfortable preparing their own tax returns.

More than 70 percent of all taxpayers — 107 million people plus — are eligible for the software products. Each of the 12 companies has its own special offers, generally based on age, income or state residency. Taxpayers can review each company offer or they can use a “Help Me” tool that will find the software for which they are eligible.

Active duty military personnel with incomes of $64,000 or less may use any IRS Free File software product of their choice without regard to the criteria. IRS Free File software does the hard work. It walks users through the tax preparation process, and helps identify those tax changes that may affect their return.

IRS Free File allows taxpayers to deposit all or part of their refunds into myRA, a free starter retirement savings account from the Treasury Department. Just use Form 8888 or follow the software product’s instructions.

IRS Free File will be available through Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, only through

All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

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