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Many taxpayers are aware of the IRS Free File program, which allows persons with incomes less than $73,000 to file their federal tax returns for free. They should also check to see if the program offers free filing for their state tax return.

Millions of qualified taxpayers in over 20 states can use IRS Free File to file a free federal and state tax return. Below are some of them.

The Free File Alliance is a group of tax-preparation and tax-filing software vendors and online filing services that has agreed to make free versions of its paid products available to eligible taxpayers. To use Free File software, taxpayers must have an adjusted gross income of $66,000 or less. Additionally, participating vendors may have lower AGI limits or additional limitations based on age, military status or other factors.


Taxpayers can e-file online for free through the My Alabama Taxes website. There are no income limits or other qualifications to use the free system; it’s available to anyone who files an Alabama individual income tax return.

Alabamans may also be able to e-file for free through an approved vendor, some of which may offer free versions of their paid products for filers who meet certain qualifications.


Arizona does not provide free e-filing of state returns directly through the Arizona Department of Revenue website. But if taxpayers meet certain criteria, they may be able to file their Arizona state tax return through a Free File Alliance partner. Each provider has its own qualifications, which may include age, income or other limits.


Arkansas taxpayers can’t e-file their state returns through the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration website. Instead, the state participates in the Free File Alliance. If taxpayers meet varying qualifying criteria, they may be able to prepare and e-file an Alabama state tax return for free with a participating provider.


The California Franchise Tax Board allows taxpayers to e-file for free directly with the state through CalFile. The state says CalFile takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete and results in the fastest possible refund if filers also choose to have their refund directly deposited.


If taxpayers need to file a Colorado state tax return, they can probably do so for free directly through the Colorado Department of Revenue Taxation Division’s Revenue Online service. The service is available to Colorado taxpayers or people with a valid Colorado state driver’s license or ID.


Indiana has its own version of Free File: INfreefile. As with the federal-level Free File, Hoosiers who want to use a free product from one of the listed vendors will need to meet that vendor’s requirements, which may include limitations on age, adjusted gross income and other factors.


The Iowa Department of Revenue does not provide direct e-filing through the state’s website. Instead, Iowa taxpayers may be able to file state taxes for free through one of the providers listed on the site. Income limits and other qualifications apply in order to file for free.


The Massachusetts Department of Revenue offers fillable online forms that filers can complete and e-file for free. The forms mimic the state’s paper tax return and provide a calculation mechanism to help with math. The forms can either be e-filed or printed and mailed.

For taxpayers who want to prepare their taxes with an interview-based program, the state offers a list of Massachusetts State Free File providers.


Cornhuskers who want to file their Nebraska state income tax return for free can do so through the Nebraska Department of Revenue’s NebFile program. After verifying eligibility, the tool prompts users to create an account in order to complete and e-file their tax returns through the system.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of the Treasury, Division of Taxation, provides NJWebFile, where qualifying taxpayers can e-file their state taxes for free. There are limitations on who can use NJWebFile, so New Jersey taxpayers should check their eligibility.

The Garden State also offers NJ Fill’nFile for taxpayers who know how to complete their tax returns on their own. The fillable form doesn’t prompt users or include instructions on what information to enter on each line. The completed forms can be printed and mailed or e-filed for free.

North Dakota

The North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner provides an ND FreeFile tool to help taxpayers determine if they’re eligible to file for free through a participating vendor. The state’s Taxpayer Access Point doesn’t allow users to file for free directly with the state.

Read Also: How far back can You Refile Taxes?

But taxpayers can use North Dakota Fillable Forms to e-file (or print and mail) their state tax returns for free. The forms provide a calculation mechanism but don’t guide you through the preparation process. Other limitations apply, so taxpayers should verify their eligibility to use the forms.


Oregon taxpayers have a few possible options for filing state taxes for free.

They may be eligible to file for free with a participating vendor if they meet requirements such as income, age and other restrictions. Or they may be able to use the Oregon Department of Revenue’s free fillable forms. The forms help with basic calculations but don’t provide added guidance.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Revenue does not offer direct e-filing through its website. Instead, the state participates in the Free File program.

Taxpayers who don’t meet the requirements for a Free File offering may be able to use the state’s free fillable forms. The forms, which can be e-filed or printed and mailed, will do the math for you if you want but will offer only limited edits on the information you input.


Virginians can’t e-file directly with the Virginia Department of Taxation through its website. But the commonwealth does offer free fillable forms that help with basic math and offer basic guidance. Filers must be a full-year residents of Virginia and must prepare a current-tax-year return to use the fillable forms. And they should be comfortable doing their own taxes with little guidance in order to make good use of the forms.

Taxpayers may also be able to file for free with a Free File participating vendor, provided they meet qualifications.

Although just a handful of states allow their residents to file state taxes for free directly through the state’s website, taxpayers generally have other options for filing their state taxes free of charge. Many states participate in the Free File program, which allows qualified taxpayers to file state and federal income taxes for free.

5 Things you Should Know About Filing State Income Taxes

Depending on where you live, you may be required to file both a state and federal tax return. We’ll walk you through the process and provide some vital information along the way. If your state requires you to submit state income taxes, you might need some assistance maximizing your state tax refund.

For most taxpayers, completing a federal income tax return is only half the battle. You may also need to file a state income tax return. Your state tax return can be equally significant and confusing as your federal return. Here are some essential tips for maximizing your state tax refund.

Not all states require state income tax returns

Only 41 states plus the District of Columbia have a state income tax that includes salary and wages. Two states—New Hampshire and Tennessee—only tax interest and dividend income. The following seven states don’t have any income tax at all:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

If you live in one of these seven states and didn’t earn income in any other state, you may not have to file a state return.

Filing state income taxes requires a separate return

If your state requires that you file state income taxes, you’ll have to do it separately from your federal income tax return*. That’s because the federal and state governments are separate and you file and pay income taxes to each separately.

While some of the information on your federal and state income taxes is the same, your state may have other taxes, deductions, and credits that apply to you and require different information. Even though you file two separate returns* to two (or more) separate government agencies, your state and federal returns will be linked if you use the same e-file service. 

Using one filing service for both your federal and state returns may be better than using two different ones, advises Julie Magee, Regulatory Affairs Lead for Cash App Taxes.

“Have you ever noticed when e-filing your return it can take 12 to 36 hours to get an acceptance confirmation from the state, while the IRS usually sends one in just a few hours?” Magee says. “This is because the IRS and states have collaborated on various identity-proofing processes over the years, and many states won’t accept a return that’s not electronically linked to a federal one. Just like you, the state is waiting on the acceptance message from the IRS.”

“When you use two separate services to file your state and federal returns, the returns aren’t linked in the e-filing system,” she explains. “Using the same software means you’ll have just one submission ID, which can help prevent the state from rejecting your electronically filed return.”

You may have to file more than one state tax return*

You may need to file more than one state tax return if you:

  • Moved during the last tax year
  • Worked in two or more states during the same year
  • Live in one state but physically work in another state—your employer may only withhold taxes for the state where your employer is located

Note: this may not apply if you live in one state and work remotely for a company in another state. 

If you live in one state and commute to another where you work, things can get trickier. If the two states have a reciprocal tax agreement, filing state income taxes may be required only in the state where you live.

If you reside in one state but work in another, you’ll need to find out if those states have a reciprocal tax agreement. You may need to file a state withholding exemption form with your employer to make those wages exempt from tax in the state in which you work.

Some states even have special tax forms just for their full-year residents who work in a reciprocal state. Indiana, for example, has a form called IT40-RNR to address situations like this. Check your state requirements for additional tax forms you may need to file if you earned income other than wages, salaries, tips, or commissions in your resident state.

You may have to deal with different taxes, deductions, and credits

Your employer will typically withhold only state and local income taxes from your paycheck. But you may also owe local and other taxes depending on where you live. For example, Ohio also has city tax returns* for their taxing municipalities, so you could be filing up to three tax returns if filing in Ohio.

You may also qualify for certain deductions and credits that don’t show up on your federal tax return. For example, some states offer a deduction or credit for contributions you make to a 529 College Savings Plan, while others offer deductions for age and/or retirement income. 

To learn more about your state’s taxes, deductions and credits, visit your state’s Department of Revenue or Department of Taxation website.

Your state income tax refund may be taxable

When filing your federal income tax return, you have the option to itemize certain deductions rather than taking the standard deduction that the tax code offers.

You may be able to include in your itemized deductions your state and local income taxes. However, if you do deduct these taxes and receive a state or local income tax refund (or credit or offset) during the same year, you technically overstated your deduction and paid less in taxes than you owed. As a result, you may need to include your refund (or credit or offset) as income on the following year’s federal tax return.

Filing state income taxes are just as important as your federal tax return. Knowing the ins and outs of your state’s tax code can boost your state tax refund.

How to File Your Taxes for Free

There are various free tax filing options available, particularly if you meet specific income limits or have a simple tax return (Form 1040 with standard deductions). Some programs are sponsored by the IRS, while others are offered by leading tax software providers.

You may not get all you would from a paid platform or tax professional, and the majority of these solutions are restricted to specific filers. But if you qualify and can find what you require, why not take advantage?

Free online tax software

Tax software companies do a great job of simplifying the filing process, offering guided assistance and the ability to upload tax documents and previous years’ returns. Many offer free tiers for simple returns, though they typically have limited features and support.

With TurboTax’s basic tier, you can report W-2 income, some interest and dividends, child tax credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and deductions for student loan interest. According to TurboTax, about 37% of filers qualify to use its basic tier for free.

You’ll want TurboTax Deluxe, though, to itemize your deductions or report income from rental properties, self-employment, stock sales or unemployment.

H&R Block also has a free tier for simple returns that’s a good option if you’re a W-2 employee or student, reporting income from unemployment insurance or claiming the child tax credit.

While both TurboTax and H&R Block are among CNBC Select’s top-rated tax software programs, their free versions won’t process complicated tax filings. So make sure you qualify first and don’t end up getting redirected to a paid tier.

FreeTaxUSA, however, accepts tax forms other no-cost options don’t — including itemized deductions, income from investments and HSA contributions. Federal filing is free, while state returns are $14.99 each.

If you need more help, there’s a $14.99 deluxe tier with live chat and unlimited amendments, and a $49.99 pro level with personalized advice from a tax pro and help on both state and federal returns.

Cash App Taxes is one of the only providers that processes both federal and state taxes for free, with no upselling or rerouting to paid tiers for more complex returns. As a tradeoff, there’s no live help available if you have a question.

IRS Free File

IRS Free File is a no-cost online service for filers with an adjusted gross income of $79,000 or less in 2023. The IRS has partnered with eight tax prep sites, including TaxSlayer and FreeTaxUSA, and you can choose which to work with based on your income, age, location and filing needs. (Some partners also offer free state filing.)

This is an opportunity many people overlook: About 70% of Americans qualified for IRS Free File in 2022, according to the Taxpayer Advocate, but only 2% actually used it.

Even if you meet the income requirements, Free File might not have the forms you need. There’s also not much support to help you maximize your refund or minimize your tax liability.

IRS Direct File

In 2023, the IRS launched Direct File, a pilot program for filing a federal tax return online directly with the agency. Currently, Direct File is open to qualified taxpayers in Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

To qualify, you must be a W-2 employee, receive Social Security or unemployment insurance or have an investment income of less than $1,500. You must also have a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and a valid state ID or passport.

Direct File can be used to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, but not many other credits. You also can’t itemize deductions or report additional income, like capital gains or money from gig work or rental properties.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides free in-person tax preparation to people with an AGI of $60,000 or less, with disabilities or with limited English skills.

You will need to visit an office in person and may need to make an appointment.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly

Another IRS-backed program, Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) funds nonprofit and community efforts that provide free tax preparation for filers 60 and older. Trained volunteers will help prepare simple returns and can answer retirement-related questions. (Some locations also offer self-filing options.)

Check the IRS website or AARP Tax-Aide site locator tool to find a TCE-affiliated location in your area or call 888-227-7669.


Sponsored by the Department of Defense, MilTax is a tax software program for U.S. servicemembers, veterans and their families, with details on how to file in multiple states, how to report deployment and combat pay, and more. Eligible filers can electronically submit a federal return and up to three state returns free of charge.


There are numerous options to file your taxes for free, whether through the IRS or a commercial tax software business. Free isn’t always the greatest option, though. If your return will be more complicated — for example, if you sold your home last year or have freelancing income to record — you may need to pay for a tax preparation service.

Premium tiers frequently include more live support and features to help you maximize deductions. Many additionally provide audit help, accuracy assurance, and maximum refund guarantees, giving you peace of mind during the busy tax season.

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MegaIncomeStream is a global resource for Business Owners, Marketers, Bloggers, Investors, Personal Finance Experts, Entrepreneurs, Financial and Tax Pundits, available online. egaIncomeStream has attracted millions of visits since 2012 when it started publishing its resources online through their seasoned editorial team. The Megaincomestream is arguably a potential Pulitzer Prize-winning source of breaking news, videos, features, and information, as well as a highly engaged global community for updates and niche conversation. The platform has diverse visitors, ranging from, bloggers, webmasters, students and internet marketers to web designers, entrepreneur and search engine experts.