7 Ways to Get Your Taxes Done for Free

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Many Americans pay someone to help them prepare and file a return. That may be a worthwhile expense for some. But “free” is the best price for most of us, many of whom may not realize that’s an option.

Before you go out and throw down possibly hundreds of dollars, check out these gratis alternatives. Many national programs charge nothing to help taxpayers prepare and file taxes.

See whether your tax situation and income meet qualifications for the following free programs.

1. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

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The free IRS-sponsored program VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) uses trained volunteers to help taxpayers complete basic state and federal tax returns.

Who’s eligible: Generally, taxpayers earning $64,000 a year or less, those with disabilities and people with limited English-language abilities, according to the IRS.


2. Tax Counseling for the Elderly

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IRS-certified volunteers provide free tax preparation to older taxpayers through the TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) program. Many volunteers are retired people associated with nonprofit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

Who’s eligible: The IRS says the program “offers free tax help to individuals who are age 60 or older.”


3. MilTax

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The U.S. Department of Defense offers e-filing software called MilTax for service members that covers federal filing and up to three state income tax returns for free.

For those eligible, MilTax may provide an advantage over other free filing options because it was “developed specifically to address the realities and tax scenarios of military life so that you don’t miss a deduction or allowance.”

Who’s eligible: Certain veterans, military retirees and military survivors, the IRS says


  • Learn more about MilTax eligibility, how to speak with one-on-one military tax consultants for free and find tax tips specific to military families at Military OneSource.

4. AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide service

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This is the best discount AARP has to offer: 100% off your tax filing. The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program is staffed by IRS-certified volunteers and available across the U.S. Help is available in person or online, either to prepare your return or coach you through the process.

Who’s eligible: “Although the program is aimed toward older, low-income taxpayers, anyone can use Tax-Aide regardless of age,” AARP says. You don’t even need to be a member.


5. MyFreeTaxes.com

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MyFreeTaxes.com is a United Way program that offers free tax help using Tax Slayer software. Help is free with both state and federal tax forms. Support is available in English and Spanish.

Who’s eligible: Individuals who earned less than $60,000 in 2023 may have their taxes prepared for them, while anyone with income under $79,000 can use the free Tax Slayer software provided through this program.

Resources: The MyFreeTaxes FAQ page answers many common questions about using the software.

6. IRS Free File

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Free File is a partnership between the IRS and makers of commercial tax-preparation software participating in the IRS Free File program. Depending on your level of income, eligible taxpayers get free use of one of the following:

  • Free File: Provides secure, free brand-name tax preparation software that may include help with state returns.
  • Free File fillable forms: State tax preparation not included.

Who’s eligible: If your income is at or below a specific level — for the 2023 tax year, an adjusted gross income of $79,000 — you qualify to use the Free File tax preparation software.

If your income is above that mark, you are limited to using the free, fillable, electronic versions of paper tax forms. These forms will do some tax math for you, but you only receive basic guidance.

Resources: The IRS offers an infographic showing how Free File works.

7. Tax preparation companies’ free services

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Several commercial tax-preparation companies offer free, basic online versions of their software. These include TaxAct Free, TaxSlayer Simply Free and H&R Block Free Online.

The major benefit with any free tax service is in the money you save. However, these services have limitations, which vary by product:

  • Some don’t offer free filing of state returns.
  • Free products are for simple tax situations. Before using a free product, check the company’s website to compare the free product with the costs and features of the company’s paid products.
  • You might run into hidden fees. For example, you might be charged a convenience fee if you pay your tax bill using a credit card.
  • You might be charged to access a prior year’s return, so make sure to save a copy for your records when you first file.

More free IRS resources

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You can get other kinds of free help from the IRS. For example, you can make an appointment to visit a local taxpayer assistance center for an in-person review of tax documents. Use this list to find one near you.

The IRS website also offers information on:

For the 2023 tax year, the IRS is also launching a pilot program for a new free option called IRS Direct File. Those eligible will be guided through a step-by-step checklist and have access to live-chat with IRS staff for basic tax law questions (but not tax advice) and technical support in either English or Spanish.

Direct File is initially only being made available in a dozen states and for people with certain simple tax situations, and it only covers federal taxes. But if things go well, people elsewhere may hear more about this option before too long.

“We’re rolling the pilot out in phases, and it is not available to the public yet,” the IRS says. “It is expected to be more widely available in mid-March.”

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