E-File Your State Taxes Online for Free

Chris Bibey
by Chris Bibey

Many taxpayers know that they can e-file their federal income taxes online for free. But what about your state tax return? It is important that you also know how to e-file your state taxes online for free. There are a couple of ways that you can do this, with each method offering different benefits. Remember that your federal tax return is just the beginning ― you also need to file a return with your state agency.

A good place to start is with the IRS Federal/State e-file program. With this, taxpayers are able to e-file their federal and state returns online at the same time, sometimes for free. This program can be accessed through your personal computer or through a tax professional.

The IRS Federal/State e-file program is pretty simple. You are given the ability to file both returns at the same time because the software places your tax data in separate packets. These packets are sent to the IRS together. The IRS is in charge of you federal return, and acts as a post office for the state, which then receives and processes your state return.

At this time, there are 36 states participating in the Federal/State online e-file program. They include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

There are other various free e-filing options, outside of the IRS Federal/State e-file program. Some states give you the ability to file directly with their department of revenue, including the states of California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Minnesota.

Are you going to file by using a hired tax professional? If so, remember that you will have to pay a fee for their service, even though the e-filing itself may be free. Consider using a tax professional to help with your federal and state tax returns ― they may be able to file both online. Make sure you understand what they charge for their services before hiring anyone to assist with your taxes.

Most tax preparation software programs charge approximately $30 to e-file a state tax return. If you want to e-file your taxes online for free, you will need to check if your state offers a free e-filing program.

It’s also important to note that some states do not have a state income tax. They include: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington (state), and Wyoming. Residents of these states, as well as those who receive income from these states, will not have to file a state individual income tax return. Additionally, the states of New Hampshire and Tennessee only impose tax on dividend and interest income (not personal income). However, keep in mind that there may be other state taxes that apply.

This advice should help you understand how to e-file your state taxes online for free. E-filing is fast and secure, and it is used by many people for reporting federal and state taxes.