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The Best Ways to E-File Your Tax Return Online


The Best Ways to E-File Your Tax Return Online

Elizabeth Rosen
by Elizabeth Rosen, Contributor

Did you know? Almost 120 million people e-filed their tax returns last year, and over 1 billion people have e-filed since 1990. There are a number of ways you can file your tax return if you choose to do it electronically.

IRS Free File

For taxpayers whose income is below $58,000, the IRS offers “Free File Software” which can be found on the official IRS website. This program provides eligible taxpayers with the use of free tax preparation software to help make the filing process easier. Certain state tax returns can also be filed using the Free File program.

>> Visit - File Your 2016 Taxes

The Free File Alliance is a group of private-sector tax preparation companies that have been authorized by the IRS to offer free online tax preparation and e-filing. The Free File Alliance was formed in 2001 and works with the government to provide tax services to qualified individuals.

READ: Take Advantage of Free Tax Preparation

IRS Free File Fillable Forms

Taxpayers whose income is greater than $58,000 may opt to use the “Free File Fillable Forms” available on the official IRS website. These online forms are basically electronic versions of the paper forms that you’re used to. The difference is that the electronic forms are fillable online and will even do the math calculations for you. The Free File Fillable Forms offer some basic guidance, however, the IRS does not offer the state versions of these forms.

Tax Preparation Websites

There are actually a number of companies that offer free preparation for a basic Federal tax return. But you need to be wary of online tax scams and do your best to choose a reputable company. Additionally, many websites offer free online tax calculators to help you prepare your return. You may be able to find various free tax prep tools and combine them to save money.

If you want to get a tax extension, consider using an authorized IRS e-file provider like or These websites offer e-filing services to both individuals and businesses looking to request a tax extension. You can also pay your taxes with your Federal extension application, as well as get a state tax extension online.

READ: What You Need to Know About Tax Extensions

Tax Preparation Software

If you’re willing to spend some money on having your taxes prepared and e-filed, you can turn to one of the many tax preparation companies — including Turbo Tax, H&R Block, TaxSlayer, and more. These companies offer e-filing services and can help guide you through the entire process of preparing your tax return.

READ: Tax Preparation Tips


There are many choices when it comes to tax preparation and online e-filing. Make sure you pick the option that works best for you, depending on the complexity of your tax situation and how much you’re willing to spend (if anything) to e-file your taxes.