Free IRS Tax Prep: E-File

Whether you are eligible for a tax refund or have to pay at the end of the year, free tax prep will help you save money and will help you complete your returns. The following is a list of some of the best free tax preparation services available.

VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is your most reliable source to prepare taxes for free. If you have a gross income of $30,000 or less, you can bring your paperwork to the nearest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) office. A trained income tax preparer will prepare and e-file your federal income tax return at no charge.

TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly)

The IRS provides this tax preparation service for seniors, in partnership with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Trained volunteers prepare returns for Americans over age 60, and send them by e-file to the IRS for free.

Free Forms

A third free income tax filing service offered by the IRS is the Free File Forms that are available only on the IRS website, and can be used free of charge to e-file tax returns by households whose pre-tax income is under $56,000.  For the 2008 taxation year, the IRS will extend access to Free File Forms to families with incomes over $56,000.

Software purchases for Nominal Fees

  • H&R Block partnered with the IRS in 1986 to pioneer electronic filing of income tax returns. With the purchase of TaxCut Premium (TM) software for $49.95, you will be able to e-file up to 5 federal income tax returns free of charge. You can download the software for the next taxation year directly from the website. The step-by-step forms are up-to-date and easy to use, with built-in online help. In addition, you get one free "ask a tax consultant" session. If you are audited, audit support is also included with the software purchase. Visit the H&R Block website for more details.
  • TurboTax has become the leading free tax website for American taxpayers at all income levels. Their software can help you find every tax deduction and credit to which you are legally entitled. With TurboTax Online you can prepare federal tax returns at no charge. You can save your tax form in progress, and work on it to find every allowable claim when you have the time.  E-file with the 1040EZ Simple Return program free, or get a free printout.  With the Deluxe, Investments or the Combined Home and Business programs, you pay a filing fee only when you e-file or print out your return.

 State Income Tax Returns

You can also process your state income tax returns on free tax websites, but a fee of usually $50.00 or less is assessed.

 It is also very important to remember that the IRS requires that you submit an income tax return annually, even if you are getting a refund.