If cost is a concern when it comes to your taxes, there are several free federal tax-filing options to consider.
The IRS provides its Free File program through several partners that offer in-person, drop-off, or virtual meetings for tax preparation. The agency also partners with certain online tax preparation companies that electronically file federal returns at no cost, with some offering free filing for state returns, too.
Some name-brand tax prep providers offer free online filing for simple tax returns outside of the IRS Free File program.
To qualify for Free File, you must meet certain income requirements. Some partners also have their own age and income restrictions.
The IRS Free File program opened Jan. 13 for taxpayers to use to prepare their returns. But the program doesn’t accept tax returns for processing until Jan. 23 when the tax-filing season officially opens this year.
Here’s where you can get free tax services.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is managed by the IRS, but operated by IRS partners and staffed with volunteers.
VITA offers free tax preparation for moderate- to low-income individuals who make $60,000 or less, disabled individuals, senior citizens, or those who have a language barrier.
Last year, the AGI was $58,000 or less. Although a federal government benefits website states the AGI for VITA is $54,000 this year, the IRS website states the following regarding eligibility for VITA: “People who generally make $60,000 or less.”
Depending on location, VITA offers in-person meetings, drop-offs, and virtual meetings. Locations are found at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, or shopping malls. To find a VITA location near you, use the VITA site locator tool.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
Like VITA the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program is managed by the IRS, but is operated by IRS partners and staffed with volunteers.
TCE offers free tax help for taxpayers 60 years and older, specializing in pensions and retirement issues unique to seniors.
AARP Foundation Tax Aide
The AARP Tax Aide Program also offers free tax preparation to anyone, with a focus on taxpayers 50 and older who have low to moderate income.
Services can be in-person, drop-off, or virtual appointments. To find a location near you, use AARP’s tax aide locator.
IRS Free File program partners
If you don’t meet the qualifications for VITA or TCE, you may be eligible for free online federal filing with IRS partners if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $73,000 or less.
The IRS Free File Program is a partnership between the IRS and tax-filing software companies that provide their online tax-prep and filing at no cost. You can file using your computer, smartphone, or tablet.
This year, there are seven IRS Free File partners:
Eligibility varies depending on your AGI and age. You can use the IRS lookup tool to see if you qualify and which partner suits your needs. This year, ezTaxReturn.com is providing IRS Free File in Spanish as well.
H&R Block and TurboTax
Although H&R Block and TurboTax no longer participate in the IRS Free File Program, they do offer free federal filing for simple tax returns — meaning Form 1040 with no additional forms.
H&R Block’s free filing includes the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), interest on tuition, payments, and student loans, and retirement income. H&R Block will help prep a state return at no additional fee.
TurboTax, which the Federal Trade Commission sued last year for “its deceptive ‘free’ filing campaign,” is also offering free federal and state filing on simple returns. TurboTax’s free filing includes W-2 income (no unemployment income), limited interest and dividend income reported on a 1099-INT or 1099-DIV, the standard deduction, EITC, and CTC.
Ronda is a personal finance senior reporter for Yahoo Finance and attorney with experience in law, insurance, education, and government. Follow her on Twitter @writesronda