Most taxpayers can do both their federal and state tax returns for free online through Free File offered either by the IRS or by states that have a similar public-private partnership.
For 2020, taxpayers whose prior-year adjusted gross income was $69,000 or less, and that’s most people, can use IRS Free File. Generally, taxpayers must complete their federal tax return before they can begin their state taxes.
More than 20 states also have a state Free File program patterned after federal partnership which means many taxpayers are eligible for free federal and free state online tax preparation. Those states are: Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia, plus the District of Columbia.
Tax Tip 2020-13
In addition, IRS Free File partners – featuring 10 brand-name online products - offer most or some state tax returns for free as well. Some may also charge so it is important for taxpayers to explore their free options.
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 “look up” 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 partners will charge a fee for state tax return preparation unless their offer outlines upfront that you can file both federal and state returns for free. If you want to use one of the state Free File program products, go to your state tax agency’s Free File page.
For residents of Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming, IRS Free File may be the only tax product you need. Those states do not have an income tax.