How To File Your Federal Income Taxes For Free

How To File Your Federal Income Taxes For Free | The Loaded Pig

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Most people don’t know that they can file their federal income taxes for free with the IRS if they meet certain criteria. Before paying for software or for a tax professional to prepare your taxes, you should find out if you are eligible to file your taxes for free as there are several sites that have partnered with the IRS to provide this service.

Keep reading to save yourself some money and stress this tax season.

When Are Federal Income Tax Returns Due

It’s that time of year again…. If you haven’t thought about filing your federal income taxes yet, remember that if you file after that deadline the IRS can penalize you. The failure-to-pay penalty is worth up to 25% of your unpaid taxes and if you file more than 60 days late the IRS can assess a minimum tax penalty of $435 or 100% of the tax you owe, whichever is less.

Tax day is traditionally April 15 (since 1955), however the IRS has extended the deadline to file federal income taxes in recent years. For the most up-to-date information, check the IRS website.

What Is The Criteria To File Income Taxes For Free

Each electronic filing service has a different criteria to file your federal income taxes for free, so you will have to find the right one for you. Below you will find a few suggested sites and their criteria for filing for free, which was accurate at time of publishing but may have changed.

In order to be eligible to file federal income taxes at no cost your gross income must be $69,000 or below. There may be additional requirements based on the free electronic filing service you use.

Where Can You File Your Income Taxes For Free

Here are a few sites that allow you to file your federal income taxes for free. Be sure to review the site’s terms before beginning to file to be certain that you qualify for the free filing.


You can file for free if you earned $36,000 or less in adjusted gross income and are any age, or if you qualify for the earned income tax credit, or if you were active military with an adjusted gross income of $69,000 or less. TurboTax also offers free state filing if you qualify for free federal filing.

H&R Block

You can file for free if your adjusted gross income is $69,000 or less, AND your age is between 17 and 51, or if you’re eligible for the earned income tax credit, or if you were active military with an adjusted gross income of $69,000 or less. If you meet that criteria, they allow people with dependents, student loans and tuition statements, and unemployment income to file for free with H&R Block. They also offer free state income tax filing if you qualify for free federal filing.

If you are not claiming dependent deductions and your adjusted gross income is $69,000 or less, you can also file for free on You can file on this site in just 15 minutes and if you set up direct deposit you can get your tax return back from the IRS even faster.

What Is Your Adjusted Gross Income

You start with your gross income and then the government subtracts certain adjustments, including student loan interest, tuition and fees deduction, alimony, contributions made to a traditional IRA, health savings account deduction and more. If you are self-employed, you also may be able to subtract the deductible part of self-employment tax and self-employed health insurance deduction.

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Why Should You File Your Taxes Electronically

There are many reasons to file your taxes online, the biggest is that if the IRS owes you a refund you’ll get it back faster than if you mailed your tax return. You’ll also be saving time as the free filing services are usually easier to use than filling out the paper forms and mailing them in. Lastly, you will help save some trees!

If you get a tax refund or if you already received it, you should use it responsibly to help you achieve your financial goals. Read our article, 7 Effective Ways To Put Your Tax Refund To Great Use.

Financial freedom begins with good habits.

Rebecca & Tiago,

Rebecca co-founded The Loaded Pig with the goal of helping people achieve their financial goals. Her passion for financial freedom has landed her on US News & World Report,, Cheapism, and many other sites. Rebecca earned her Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami. She is currently a professor in the business department at Broward College.