The Free File Alliance is a group of industry-leading private-sector tax preparation companies that  provide free online tax preparation and electronic filing only through the IRS.gov website.  IRS Free File is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the IRS and the Free File Alliance.  This PPP requires joint responsibility and collaboration between the federal government and private industry to be successful.

What are the objectives of the Free File Agreement?

  • Provide greater access to free, online tax filing options with trusted partners only through IRS.gov
  • Make federal tax preparation and filing easier for and reduce burden on individual taxpayers, and
  • Continue to focus free governmental services for those least able to pay for tax preparation services

Why was the Free File Alliance formed?

In November of 2001, the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Quicksilver Task Force established 24 e-government initiatives that were a part of the President's Management Agenda. These initiatives were designed to improve government to government, government to business and government to citizen electronic capabilities.

One initiative, IRS Free File, instructed the IRS to provide free and secure online tax return preparation and filing services to taxpayers. In accordance with this OMB directive, the IRS worked in partnership with the tax software industry to develop a solution. The result was the formation of the Free File Alliance, LLC.

Why is IRS working in a partnership with private industry rather than providing its own software free to the public?

Private industry, with established expertise and experience in electronic tax preparation, has a proven track record in providing the best technology and services available. Utilizing a PPP brings the best of industry resources for government customers.

Some private sector firms have offered free e-filing to select taxpayer groups for several years; how is this approach different?

IRS Free File program is  a multi-year agreement between IRS and the Free File Alliance to provide free service(s) to more taxpayers. To be true ‘IRS Free File’, the services must be accessed through IRS.gov.  

With IRS Free File, taxpayers have easy access to IRS.gov/freefile, which offers a list of the participating free offerings on a single web page. Under our agreement, Free File Alliance companies offer both free preparation and free e-filing services. There is no cost for a federal tax return to qualifying taxpayers.

Note: The IRS does not endorse any individual Free File Alliance company. While the IRS manages the content of the IRS Free File pages accessible on IRS.gov/freefile, the IRS does not retain any taxpayer information entered on the Free File site.

Agreements

Memorandums of Understanding