What Are Free File Fillable Tax Forms?

Free File fillable tax forms are electronic forms that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) makes available to taxpayers on its website. They are exact digital versions of the hard-copy forms individuals use to file their income tax returns. The IRS designed the digital forms for advanced users who already know which forms they require.

The IRS first released the Free File fillable fax forms in 2009 as a way of transitioning to a digital filing process. These electronic forms have since minimized the number of errors in income tax filing. More than 46 million people have used Free File fillable forms.

For the 2021 tax season, taxpayers with an individual or family income of $72,000 or less can also get the assistance of any of a number of professional tax software programs that have partnered with the IRS to provide their services free through Free File.

Of course, any and all taxpayers are welcome to download the tax forms available at IRS.gov for free. Only the free tax preparation software is limited by income.

Tax returns for 2020 are being accepted by the IRS beginning Feb. 12, 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • Free File fillable tax forms are tax forms that the United States government makes digitally available to taxpayers.
  • Taxpayers can also use professional tax preparation software for free if their 2020 income was $72,000 or less.
  • Filing electronically gets your returns in faster and gets your refund back to you sooner.

How Free File Fillable Tax Forms Work

The IRS uses these tax forms to speed up the process of receiving income tax refunds. Taxpayers can access the Free File fillable tax forms on the IRS website.

Once a taxpayer downloads the forms, they can fill them out by entering their data directly on a computer, phone, or tablet without printing out the forms. From there, the taxpayer signs the form on the computer and then files the forms electronically with the IRS. Once completed, the return is sent to the agency using the latest in encryption technology.

You can use professional tax preparation software for free through the IRS Free File service if your individual or family income was $72,000 or less in 2020.

Unlike many commercial tax preparation software packages that systematically check the taxpayer’s information to ensure that the taxpayer takes every deduction, the IRS Free File fillable forms do not provide any assistance in filing and do not include state tax forms. Those with incomes of $72,000 or below can choose an IRS partner site for filing assistance. State tax forms can be included, but may incur a fee.

In order to qualify for Free File, an individual or family must have a taxable income of $72,000 or less as of the 2020 tax year.

If you didn't receive your full economic stimulus payment in 2020, you can claim it on your 2020 return.

Getting Started with Free File

To file your taxes digitally using the free fillable tax forms, you need certain information in advance. To fill out the forms properly, you need the adjusted gross income (AGI) listed on your previous year's tax return, your Social Security number, as well as your spouse’s and those of any dependents if you have any.

You also need access to documents concerning your yearly income, like your W-2, which states your annual wages, your receipts, and documentation of any Social Security benefits or unemployment compensation. If you have a small business or any income from rental, real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations, or trusts, make sure you have the official numbers and proper documentation handy.

In order to file using the Free File Fillable tax form, you will also need either your personal identification number and five-digit pin, or your previous year’s AGI, which is found on the tax return. If you can’t find this information, the IRS offers a tool online to retrieve your AGI.