The 6 Best Free Tax Software to File Your Tax Return This Year

Bryan Wolfe Updated 30-01-2019

Do you hate anything more than taxes? Maybe, it’s the money you have to pay to just file your taxes. There are plenty of options to file your federal return. However, finding services that will file state taxes without paying extra can be tough.


If you’re tired of paying to file your taxes, stop here. You’ll love these five free options for submitting your state and federal forms.

Something About Free Tax Software

Free tax software

First, and most important of all, remember that you get what you pay for. Tax software that’s free isn’t going to offer as many options as paid versions. You’ll also get less support, and in most cases, you won’t be able to file anything other than the simplest of returns. That’s just how it is.

Second, this list is current as of January 2019. Some companies change their offerings on a yearly basis, and if this list becomes outdated, we’ll try to make changes so that it’s current. But if you see a site that’s no longer offering free state returns, or has different requirements, that’s why.

Finally, remember that big-name companies like TurboTax and H&R Block have been doing this for decades and that their years of experience means they’re great at finding potential deductions and filing quickly. While using a lesser-known website doesn’t mean that you’ll miss out on things, if you want to make sure that everything about your return is perfect, you may want to go with a big name (which often means you’ll need to pay).


With that out of the way, let’s get onto the free tax software!

1. DIY Tax


DIY Tax offers completely free federal and state tax returns with no catch. Many forms can be used (including the critical part of 1099-MISC for contractors and freelancers), making this a more versatile option than many others out there.

A Premium option is available, though there’s no indication anywhere on the website of what’s include; this makes it difficult to say whether or not that might be useful. Even so, this is one of the simplest, most straightforward, and totally free tax-filing options.


2. TurboTax Federal Free Edition


With one of the biggest names in tax preparation, you can be confident that TurboTax will give you the information and tools you need to get your returns filed quickly. And with the Federal Free Edition, you can file both your federal and state taxes electronically without paying a dime.

You’ll need to be doing a relatively simple return, using forms 1040EZ or 1040A. If you’re doing anything more complicated than that, like taxes for the self-employed, a paid service will be required. Regardless, filing your taxes with TurboTax How to File Taxes Online With TurboTax TurboTax has become synonymous with do-it-yourself taxes. Here's how it helps you minimize hassle when filing taxes online. Read More is a relatively painless process as these things go!

3. H&R Free Online

H&R Block Free Tax Filing


With the free version of H&R Block’s online tax filing system, you can file your federal and state taxes for absolutely nothing. This plan is ideally suited for renters, those with young families, or individuals living on retirement income.

The free package offers 45 forms required for filing, including those needed for the Earned Income Tax Credit, child care expenses and child tax credit, student loan interest, social security income, and more. Keep in mind, however, if you find yourself tracking your payments and receipts each year How to Track Expenses and Receipts for Tax Season Use these tips and the right expense tracking software to record, organize, and manage your personal and business expenses. Stay prepared for tax day. Read More , this isn’t the plan for you.

4. TaxAct Free Edition

Tax Act Free

The free edition of TaxAct provides for “simple federal filing” for those “with no dependents.” Available forms include the 1040A, 1040EZ, and a few other basics, though it is missing the 1099-MISC that many freelancers will need.


Despite this stipulation, TaxAct does offer free filing of both federal and state returns, though it does say “Pay when you file,” inviting speculation that there could be some hidden fees in some instances.

Also included with the free edition is tax support via email, so you can get answers to any questions you have from the TaxAct support team. And TaxAct’s price lock guarantee means that once you register, the price won’t change.

5. OnLine Taxes

OnLine Taxes

You might pass over OnLine Taxes because of its uninspiring design. But don’t discount it immediately. If your adjusted gross income is between $14,000 and $66,000, you’re eligible to file both your federal and state returns for free.

If you don’t qualify, filing your federal taxes is still free, but you’ll pay $9.95 for each state, which is a pretty great deal. OLT also provides free email support every day of the week during tax season, and they let you file amended returns for free if you submitted the first return with them. You can use a wide range of tax forms, including 1099-MISC and just about anything else you might need.

6. MyFreeTaxes


A program run by the United Way in conjunction with H&R Block, MyFreeTaxes will let you file both federal and state taxes for free if you make less than $66,000.

The site also helps you get organized by providing a tax preparation checklist as well as information on tax extensions, ITIN for immigrants, and credits/deductions. Because it’s a newcomer to the business, it doesn’t have as many reviews as other sites, but the fact that it’s powered by H&R Block should inspire confidence in the convenience and security of the service.

If You Don’t Quality for the Free Options

While many people will be able to use one of the free websites above, there will be some who can’t. For those people, there are a few other sites that you can check out.

FreeTaxUSA offers free federal filing and $12.95 per state return. You’ll find this is one of the lowest prices you’ll find anywhere. Meanwhile, eSmartTax lets you file federal returns for free, and charges $29.99 per state, which is still pretty reasonable.

See our article on why we prefer FreeTaxUSA over other tax software Why I Use FreeTaxUSA Instead of TurboTax or H&R Block to File Taxes The right tax software can make tax filing a breeze. Here's why FreeTaxUSA might be the best tax filing software for you. Read More .

Don’t Pay for What You Can Get for Free

If you have a simple tax return, you should be able to get both federal and state filing for free. These five websites will help you do it. As long as you’ve followed the best strategies for claiming a tax return The Best Strategies for Claiming a Tax Return This Year No one likes paying taxes. But we have to do it. A good tax software can not only help you file tax effortlessly, but also minimize your tax burden sometimes. Read More , it should not be a problem. So don’t pay for what you can get free!

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Tech Man
    February 3, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    This video is brought to you by freshbooks!

  2. dragonmouth
    February 3, 2019 at 2:43 am

    Unfortunately, when this article was written, there was no native Linux tax software and none has been developed in the four years since. The only tool available then as now is Open Tax Solver. However, to call Open Tax Solver rudimentary is to be very kind.

    "if you want to make sure that everything about your return is perfect"
    If you want to make sure that everything about your return is perfect, you hire a CPA to do your taxes. The tax software provided by Intuit, H&R Block and others, either boxed or online, will never match the abilities or knowledge of a CPA or the professional software that he uses and which IS NOT available to an common computer user.

    "The free edition of TaxAct provides for “simple federal filing” for those “with no dependents.” "
    Are you talking about the online version? Because unless TaxAct has changed their policy, their free downloadable software (once you find it) is capable of producing quite complex tax returns. TaxAct Free provides a large number of Federal forms, some rather esoteric. While TaxAct will not perform the Q&A necessary to fill out many of these forms automatically, the user can select them from the list and fill them out manually, and when TaxAct performs the tax calculation process , it will include any filled out forms.

    • Bob C.
      February 6, 2019 at 9:49 am

      Where did you find the downloadable version of TaxACT. I used to use it regularly, but last year I could not find it - only for doing your taxes on-line (which I will not do). Anyone who believes the internet is secure has breathed too much of that Colorado air. BTW, I was one of those whose data was hacked from Equifax - supposedly secure (I know, a security patch as missed, but even if it had been applied, there is no guarantee it would not have been hacked). BTW, the Chinese are fairly advanced in producing a quantum computer which will hack any existing system in microseconds.
      BTW, there is an Excel worksheet by Glenn Reeves which is decent - it may not have every tax possibility, but it does handle quite a bit. It is 18-1040 and can be found at .

  3. Doodley Squat
    January 31, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    I used Credit Karma's 100% free federal & state tax filing online software last year & plan on using it this year as well.

  4. Dan B
    July 19, 2016 at 6:29 am

    It refreshing to see a blog that features some of the smaller players in the online tax preparation software providers. I prefer the smaller online tax providers, like, because my tax situation is simply. I would say that the best online tax preparation software is the one that meets your needs. All of the ones mentioned are great choices and offer excellent customer support.

    • Dann Albright
      July 25, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      I see that you're commenting from a TaxWyse email address, so I assume you like TaxWyse because you work for them. :-) That being said, if you have simple needs, you're right; you can use the smaller providers, and you're less likely to get overwhelmed with features.

  5. Anonymous
    December 8, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    I am surprised that no one has as yet developed tax software that runs natively on Linux. While there may not be tens of millions of users as there are in Windows, there probably is at least a million. It is definitely a sizable untapped market.

    The best Linux tax software (in fact, the only one) I have been able to find, is Open Tax Solver which, at best, can only be called rudimentary. It basically is a script rather than any kind of a program. Open Tax Solver makes even the most basic tax software for Windows and Mac look very advanced.

    • Dann Albright
      December 11, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Yeah, I'm kind of surprised at that, too. I suppose you could use the online options, but native software is usually more powerful. Maybe you should design one! :-)

      • Anonymous
        December 11, 2015 at 11:35 pm

        "Maybe you should design one! :-)"
        I would if I could. I have two strikes against me: 1) I am not a Linux programmer 2) All I know about taxes is what's in Publication 17.

  6. Anonymous
    December 3, 2015 at 1:01 am

    "First, and most important of all, remember that you get what you pay for."
    Following that logic you should have your taxes done by a professional (CPA or an accountant).

    Is this article about using online software to do your taxes or downloading the software to your PC and doing the taxes locally? I know TaxAct offers both options but the download is gently discouraged by making it hard to find.

    "The free edition of TaxAct will work for you if you have a “simple return;”"
    Again, are you talking about doing your taxes online or on your PC? It is possible that it is the online version that allows only "simple returns."

    I used TaxAct Free software for at least 10 years until 2014 when the software would no longer run on Win XP. I found it to be able to handle all my needs including Itemized Deductions, Supplemental Income and Loss, Depreciation and Amortization, Nondeductible IRAs, Educational Credits, etc.

    After going through the Q&A, TaxAct Free would present you with all the forms it determined you need to fill out. If you felt that you needed to fill out other forms, int the FORMS drop down menu there were 50 or 60 other forms listed (some quite esoteric) that you could include with your Federal return.

    I never used any software for State returns since, for the most part, it was just copying numbers from the Federal return and doing some simple calculations.

    • Dann Albright
      December 11, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      You do indeed get what you pay for, but not everyone needs to pay for a lot of features and expertise. If you make a modest amount, paying just a little bit for a few features is probably all you need; hiring a CPA would probably get you a slightly better return, but it's just not needed. If you make a lot of money or have a very complicated financial situation, that might be different.

      As for whether this is for online or downloadable, it's primarily focused on online options, but some of them do have downloadable free software as well. For the most part, online works just as well, though it may not have quite as many features.

      Thanks for the endorsement of TaxAct; sounds like a great option! (Unless you're running Win XP, of course).

      • SamG
        February 5, 2019 at 2:23 pm

        Last year i filed with Credit Karma and Turbotax. Simple returns. TT was a P.I.T.A. IRS rejected both. So i filed with AARP at the local library. Also free, but with a not required library donation. As quick as online.