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The IRS said this week that Free File, its public-private partnership with tax preparation software industry, remains available through Oct. 15 for taxpayers who still need to file their 2020 tax returns.

Free File provides two ways for taxpayers to prepare and file their federal income tax online for free:

  • Traditional IRS Free File provides free online tax preparation and filing options on IRS partner sites. Taxpayers whose adjusted gross income (AGI) is $72,000 or less qualify for any IRS Free File partner offers.
  • For taxpayers whose income (AGI) is greater than $72,000, there’s the Free File Fillable Forms option. It provides electronic federal tax forms that can be filled out and filed online for free. To use this option taxpayers should know how to prepare their own tax return.

Taxpayers should always begin the process by going to the IRS website at IRS.gov.

  • From the homepage select File Your Taxes for Free
  • Pick an option based on income
  • Follow links to the chosen Free File provider’s website

Taxpayers who requested the six-month filing extension should complete their tax returns and file on or before the Oct. 15 deadline.

Only current year tax returns can be filed using IRS Free File. The IRS does not allow electronic filing for prior year returns through self-preparation websites.

Prior year returns can only be filed electronically by registered tax preparers for the two previous tax years. Otherwise, taxpayers must print, sign and mail prior year returns.

The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications lists qualified local preparers.

The IRS Free File is a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a group of industry-leading private-sector tax preparation companies that have agreed to provide free commercial online tax preparation and electronic filing. More than 60 million returns have been filed through the Free File program since it began in 2003.