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Published:   |   Last Updated: March 12, 2024

Free File, Free File Fillable Forms, and Direct File 

Filing electronically is the safest, fastest, and most accurate way to file your tax return. If you choose to prepare and file your own tax return, depending on your circumstances, the IRS may offer you three ways to electronically file (e-file) your tax return for free.

Helpful Hint:  To speed up your refund process, it’s recommended to complete your return and enter your bank routing information so that any refund can be quickly and securely deposited directly into your bank account.

What is Free File?

The IRS Free File Program is a public-private partnership between the IRS and a number of tax preparation and filing software industry companies who provide their online tax preparation and filing for free.  If your income is below the threshold, Free File software allows you to use trusted brand-name software to prepare and e-file your federal tax return for free. You can use this option for 2023 tax returns if your income is below $79,000. Learn more about Free File on the IRS.gov website.  You can also watch YouTube videos on “What to know about IRS Free File guided tax software” and “How to use the Find Your Trusted Partner Tool.”

What are Free File Fillable Forms?

No matter your income level, you can use Free File Fillable Forms for your federal tax return. These are identical to IRS paper forms, so this option is like the old “pencil and calculator” method of filing. However, the fillable forms don’t come with any additional guidance. If you plan to use this option, you should be comfortable with the process of completing a tax return. Visit Free File Fillable Forms for more information.

What is Direct File Pilot?

Direct File is a new tax tool to file your federal tax return directly with the IRS. The pilot is rolling out in phases throughout the filing season. Initial access is limited but will be increased with each phase.

Direct File is made for people with relatively simple tax needs who live in participating states.  To find out if you qualify, visit the IRS Direct File website.

For more information on Free File options, visit the TAS Get Help page.

No matter which way you choose to file, TAS is here to help you make this filing season a success. Learn more about how we can help and see if you qualify for TAS assistance.