WASHINGTON — Almost 19 million tax returns have been filed with the IRS from home computers so far this year, an increase of almost 6 percent compared to the number of returns from the same time last year.
IRS reminds taxpayers that everyone can use Free File to prepare and e-file their tax returns for free, either by using brand name software or Free File Fillable Forms, which is the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Individuals or families with 2010 adjusted gross incomes of $58,000 or less can use Free File software. Using Free File Fillable Forms has no income restrictions.
Free File software is a product of a public-private partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, LLC. The Alliance is a consortium of approximately 20 tax software providers who make versions of their products available exclusively on line. All Free File members must meet certain security requirements and use the latest in encryption technology to protect taxpayers’ information.
The easiest way to locate a software provider is to use the online tool that, with a little of a taxpayer’s personal information, can identify matching products. Or, taxpayers can review all providers and their offers. Some software providers also offer state income tax preparation for free or for a fee.
This is the third year that the Free File Alliance has provided the Free Fillable Forms program, which is like completing a Form 1040 online, except the program performs some math calculations and provides links to some IRS publications. However, it does not use the familiar question-and-answer format used by tax preparation software. It also does not support state income tax returns. Taxpayers can e-file the forms for free. Taxpayers must access the tax products through IRS.gov to avoid any charges for preparing or e-filing a federal tax return.
The total number of individual income tax returns that have been e-filed this year is 46.9 million, an increase of 2 percent from the same time last year. E-file includes both returns filed from home computers and returns e-filed by professional tax return preparers.