IRS Free File – online tax preparation products available at no charge – launched recently, giving taxpayers an early opportunity to claim credits like the Recovery Rebate Credit and other deductions, the Internal Revenue Service announced.
Leading tax software providers make their online products available for free as part of a 19-year partnership with the Internal Revenue Service. There are nine products in English and two in Spanish.
“As we continue to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, IRS Free File and certain other similar online tax preparation products such as MilTax – Tax Services for the Military offered through the Department of Defense − offers taxpayers a free way to do their taxes from the safety of their own home and claim the tax credits and deductions they are due,” said Chuck Rettig, IRS Commissioner in a news release. “We encourage eligible taxpayers to take a look at using Free File, MilTax, and similar free online tax preparation products this year, to follow the lead of over 4 million people who took advantage of these free services just last year. An IRS tax refund is often the single largest payment families receive during the year. We know how critical that refund is, especially this year.”
IRS Free File online products are available to any taxpayer or family who earned $72,000 or less in 2020. MilTax online software will be available on Jan. 19, 2021.
IRS Free File providers will accept completed tax returns and hold them until they can be filed electronically once the IRS begins processing returns. The Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, also will be available later when the filing season begins. This product is best for people comfortable preparing their own taxes and is safe and secure.
How IRS Free File Online works
Each IRS Free File provider sets its own eligibility rules for products based on age, income, and state residency. However, for those who make $72,000 or less, they will find at least one product that matches their needs, and usually more. Some providers also offer free state preparation. Active duty military can use any IRS Free File product if their income was $72,000 or less.
Here’s a step-by-step overview of how to find the right Free File product:
- Go to IRS.gov/freefile.
- Use the “Free File Online Lookup” tool for help in finding the right product, or
- Review each offer by a provider by using the ‘Browse All Offers’ tool.
- Select a product.
- Follow links to the provider’s website to begin.
No computer? No problem. IRS Free File products support mobile phone access.
Recovery Rebate Credit and Other benefits
IRS Free File is all taxpayers need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit and other tax benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
In 2020, the IRS issued two Economic Impact Payments as part of the economic stimulus efforts. The first payments were up to $1,200 person and $500 per qualifying child. The second payments were up to $600 per eligible person and $600 per qualifying child.
For 2021, eligible taxpayers who did not receive the full amount can claim it as the Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return. Use IRS Free File to file and claim this important benefit, the news release said.
IRS Free File also can be used by working families to claim EITC, which provides a refundable tax credit based on income and family size.
Taxpayers also are reminded that unemployment benefits paid by states are taxable income. States should send Forms 1099-G to those who received jobless benefits.
IRS Free File participants
For 2021, these providers are participating in IRS Free File:
- Intuit (TurboTax),
- On-Line Taxes (OLT.com),
- TaxHawk (FreeTaxUSA),
For 2021, the following providers have IRS Free File products in Spanish:
- ezTaxReturn.com, TaxSlayer (Available after Jan. 18)