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Tuesday February 28, 2017

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Free File Now Available

Twelve national tax software firms have joined the IRS Free File Program. On www.irs.gov the "Free File Now Open" link takes taxpayers to the Free File page. People with 2016 adjusted gross income (AGI) of $64,000 or less may use Free File.

If you have income greater than $64,000, you may still use the Free File Fillable Forms. These are the IRS electronic version of the paper tax forms.

IRS Commissioner Koskinen encouraged taxpayers to use the Free File program. He stated, "You do not have to be an expert on taxes. Free File software can help walk you through the steps and help you get it right. For fourteen years, this partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance has helped taxpayers prepare and file their federal taxes for free."

The Executive Director of the Free File Alliance is Tim Hugo. He commented, "We are proud to once again offer the industry's most innovative and secure tax software at no cost to 70% of American taxpayers. Tax time can be stressful, but Free File makes step-by-step help accessible to everyone making $64,000 or less."

The twelve companies in the Free File Alliance offer the federal and, in some cases, state tax returns. Some companies have no fee for state returns and others charge a fee. If you are a resident of Alaska, Florida, South Dakota, Texas, Washington or Wyoming, there is no state income tax and therefore no filing is required.

Taxpayers may go to www.irs.gov and select the Free File link. The page is available in either English or Spanish. After reading the explanation, you may click on the link to www.irs.gov/FreeFile and use the Free File software.

The Free File tax software includes the full range of IRS Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. On the Free File page, select the "Below $64,000" link and view the page with the twelve types of software. You also may choose to use the Free File Software Look Up Tool. If you enter basic information on the secure site, it will help you select one of the programs. The secure site uses encryption for data sent from your computer to the IRS computer.

Active duty military may use any of the twelve software programs if their income is $64,000 or less. Other taxpayers should view the requirements, which are different for each software program.

Free File may also help you with your health care coverage. Taxpayers must either have qualifying Affordable Care Act coverage, claim an exemption or make a Shared Responsibility Payment.

The Free File Alliance works with the IRS Security Summit to make appropriate use of secure websites, encryption for information transferred over the internet and other methods to protect the security of taxpayers.

Published January 20, 2017
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