Free File Fillable Tax Forms

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.

Taxpayers with an individual or family income of $73,000 or less in the 2021 tax year 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 the 2021 tax year are being accepted by the IRS beginning Jan. 24, 2022.

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 2021 income was $73,000 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 encryption technology.

You can use professional tax preparation software for free through the IRS Free File service if your individual or family income was $73,000 or less in 2021.


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. You can choose an IRS partner site for filing assistance, and state tax forms can be included but may incur a fee.

To qualify for Free File, an individual or family must have a taxable income of $73,000 or less as of the 2021 tax year.

Please note that for most taxpayers, 2021 tax returns will be due on April 18, 2022, which is one day later due to the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia on April 15th. However, for those living in Maine or Massachusetts, their deadline to file is April 19, 2022, due to the Patriots' Day holiday in those states.

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.

Article Sources

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  1. Internal Revenue Service. "E-File Opens for 2009 With New Features to Expand Taxpayer Access, Help Speed Refunds." Accessed Jan. 18, 2022.

  2. Benefits.gov. "Free File." Accessed Jan. 18, 2022.

  3. Internal Revenue Service. "Free File: Do Your Federal Taxes for Free." Accessed Jan. 18, 2022.

  4. Internal Revenue Service. “2022 Tax Filing Season Begins Jan. 24; IRS Outlines Refund Timing and what to Expect in Advance of April 18 Tax Deadline.” Accessed Jan. 18, 2022.

  5. Internal Revenue Service. "Free File Fillable Forms." Accessed Jan. 18, 2022.

  6. Internal Revenue Service. "Free File: Do Your Federal Taxes for Free," Select, "What You Need to Get Started." Accessed Jan. 18, 2022.

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