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


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IR-2016-64, April 15, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded the millions of taxpayers who have yet to file their taxes that Free File remains available exclusively at

The Free File service makes brand-name tax software products and electronic filing available to most taxpayers for free.

This is the 9th in a series of 10 IRS tips called the Tax Time Guide. These tips are designed to help taxpayers navigate common tax issues as this year’s April 18 deadline approaches. 

Taxpayers have the option to prepare their return at any time and schedule a tax payment as late as the April 18deadline. Taxpayers who cannot meet the April tax filing deadline can also use Free File to request an automatic six-month extension until Oct. 17, 2016.

For taxpayers who need additional assistance, the IRS will keep its toll-free telephone service lines open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time on Saturday, April 16, to assist taxpayers.

Through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a consortium of 13 leading tax software companies makes their branded products available for free. Since 2003, more than 43 million people have used Free File, saving $1.3 billion based on a conservative $30-fee estimate.

Anyone who earned $62,000 or less last year qualifies to choose from among 13 software products. Those who earned more than $62,000 are still eligible for Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. This more basic Free File option is best for people who are comfortable preparing their own tax returns.

More than 70 percent of all taxpayers — 100 million people — are eligible for the software products. Each of the 13 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.

Wondering How to Use Free File?PDF Free File offers easy-to-use products that ask questions and the taxpayer supplies the answers. The software will find the right forms, find the right tax credits and deductions and even do the math. Some companies also offer free state tax return preparation.

Free File can help taxpayers with myRA, a new free starter retirement savings account from the Treasury Department.  Taxpayers who have a myRA account may use Free File to deposit part or all of their tax refund into their myRA account. Just use Form 8888 or follow the software product’s instructions.

Free File also can help taxpayers with health carePDF requirements. Most people will simply have to check a box to report health care coverage for the entire year. Learn more at

Free File will be available through October 2016 only through


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