How to File Taxes for Free

Gathering all the necessary documents and information necessary to file taxes is annoying enough, but paying to have your taxes done professionally can be even more frustrating.

Paying an accountant can make sense, especially if you have a complicated financial situation, but if your tax return is straightforward, consider these options to file for free.

[Read: How to File Taxes.]

Free File Programs

Anyone with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $73,000 is eligible to use either the IRS Free File software or the free fillable forms on its website to file on their own.

More than 70% of taxpayers — or about 100 million — qualify to file their federal taxes for free under that program, according to the Free File Alliance.

Seven companies participate in the IRS free file program, offering their software for free to qualifying taxpayers.


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There are also programs to file many state taxes for free, but the eligibility requirements and providers vary. You can find information about your state’s program on its finance or tax department website.

[READ: How to Avoid IRS Tax Delays in 2023.]

Free File Program Limitations

While the IRS Free File can be helpful, it has several limitations, which may be why only 2% of taxpayers take advantage of the program.

A 2022 report by the Taxpayer Advocate Service found that the lack of standardization on Free File software translates into some tax filers not having all of the forms and schedules they need to file.

In addition, taxpayers with complicated taxes may want to hire a tax pro, even if they qualify for free assistance, Eric Bronnenkant, head of tax for online financial advisory firm Betterment, says.

“For example, I would argue that the earned income tax credit, even though it’s designed for low-income people, is a complex area,” he says.

“Because of the many requirements you need to navigate, or if you have a unique living situation, then you might want a professional to help you navigate some of that complexity,” he says.

You might want to hire a tax pro if you own income-producing property, have to file in more than one state or own a business, Chelsea Monk, enrolled agent and client manager at Hamilton Tax & Accounting, says.

[Read: 10 Tax Credits You May Qualify for This Year]

Other Resources

In addition to the IRS Free File program, there are some other resources that provide free or reduced-cost assistance to taxpayers.

“The resources available for free filing will depend on where you are in your life and your financial circumstances,” Monk says.

You might find the following services at local at military bases, community centers, libraries or public schools.

— The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program aids those who earn less than $60,000, have disabilities or have limited English-speaking skills. (Find a location)

— The IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) helps those who are 60 and older and have questions about pensions or retirement-related issues. (Find a location)

Military OneSource provides free tax software and support to current military members.

— AARP’s Tax-Aide program focuses on assisting low-to-moderate-income taxpayers aged 50 and older. (Find a location)

While free tax filing resources are not right for everyone, they are an affordable and accessible option for many Americans.

Regardless of whether you’re paying to have your taxes done professionally or filing them for free, filing them as soon as possible is a good way to reduce some of the stress associated with the process.

More from U.S. News

A Guide to Tax Deductions for the Self-Employed

How to Claim the Saver’s Credit

Every 2023 Tax Deadline You Need to Know

How to File Taxes for Free originally appeared on

Update 02/10/23: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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