Seniors and retirees whose income is under $69,000 a year should explore IRS Free File for free online tax preparation.
Seniors are one of the key constituents for Free File which has served 57 million taxpayers and saved them $1.7 billion since the online filing service debuted in 2003.
Free File – which features 10 brand-name tax software providers – also offers the new Form 1040-SR option for seniors over the age of 65.
“When you’re on a fixed income, every penny saved matters. With Free File, you can save lots of pennies. Free File also does all the hard work for you. It finds the right forms, benefits and does all the math,” said Ken Corbin, commissioner of IRS’ Wage and Investment division.
Free File supports all the major forms that can be filed electronically so even if your return is a bit more complex, you can still use a free service.
Here’s how Free File works:
- Go to IRS.gov/FreeFile to see all Free File options.
- Browse each of the 10 offers or use a “lookup” tool to help you find the right product. Each Free File partner sets its own eligibility standards generally based on income, age, and state residency. But if your adjusted gross income was $69,000 or less, you will find at least one free product to use. Two products are in Spanish.
- Select a provider and follow the links to their web page to begin your tax return.
- Complete and e-file your tax return only if you have all the income and deduction records you need. The fastest way to get a refund is by filing electronically and selecting direct deposit. If you owe, use direct pay or electronic options.
Free File providers also offer state tax return preparation, some for free and some for a fee. Again, use the “lookup” tool to find the right product. Here’s another plus for Free File: you can use your smartphone or tablet to do your taxes. Just go to IRS.gov/FreeFile on your device. All Free File products are enabled for mobile devices.
Seniors who are not comfortable preparing their own tax returns still have other free options. The IRS helps support the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and AARP supports the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. Volunteers will prepare your tax return for you for free. Use the VITA locator tool to find a VITA/TCE location near you.
Free File is available now through October to accommodate extension filers.