Facts to remember about ‘IRS Free File’
Special to the Tribune Chronicle
Millions of Americans use IRS Free File to file their federal taxes. It’s safe, secure and free. Taxpayers can use either name-brand software or the Free File Fillable Forms. Combining IRS Free File with direct deposit is the quickest and safest way to get a refund.
Here are five things to remember about IRS Free File:
• Access Free File at IRS.gov. IRS Free File is available only through IRS.gov. Taxpayers can choose a Free File company offer that they qualify for and then click on that link to prepare and e-file the return.
• Free File Can Find Tax Breaks. The tax software’s question-and-answer format helps eligible taxpayers find tax breaks. This could include tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. The software then selects the appropriate tax forms and does the calculations automatically.
• It is Free for Everyone. Taxpayers with income of $66,000 or less can use brand-name software. Taxpayers who earned more can use Free File Fillable Forms. This option allows taxpayers to complete IRS forms electronically. It is best for those who are familiar with doing their own taxes.
• File from personal devices. Taxpayers may use their smart phones or tablets to electronically prepare and file their tax returns with IRS Free File through the IRS2Go app for Android and iOS devices or by visiting www.IRS.gov/freefile from the device.
• Easy Online Extensions. For those who cannot finish their return by the April 17 deadline, it’s easy to use Free File to request a six-month extension. An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. If taxpayers owe federal taxes, they should estimate the amount they owe and pay it with the extension request. This helps avoid penalties and interest.
The IRS partners with the Free File Alliance and its member companies to provide a dozen brand-name tax software options at no cost. Many Free File alliance member companies also provide free state tax preparation software.
All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Taxpayers using a software product may need their Adjusted Gross Income amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.