In Tax Tip 2011-11, the IRS explains that taxpayers who earn $58,000 or less are eligible to file their federal income taxes for free using brand-name software. The IRS estimates that approximately 70% of US taxpayers are eligible to use this service. The IRS has entered into partnerships with many of the most well known tax preparation companies to offer the free file service. Under the program, the individual companies are allowed to set their own requirements for an individual to be eligible to file their federal income tax return for free using its product.
These requirements are generally based on an individual’s income, age or state residency. However, the IRS guarantees that if you earn $58,000 or less there is at least one software product that will allow you to file your return for free. The IRS provides a tool to help match taxpayers up with potential software providers. Taxpayers access the free file system through the following URL: http://www.irs.gov/freefile. Taxpayers will then be able to access the software selection tool that will collect some general information about the taxpayer that is used to guide them to the software products that they are eligible to use. Once the taxpayer selects a software product the IRS website will redirect the taxpayer to the website of the software company.
There are many software providers that participate in the federal free file program including H&R Block, TurboTax, Tax Slayer, and TaxACT to name a few. For a complete list of participating companies click here. The IRS also provides the answers to some frequently asked questions about the program.