Guide to filing your taxes in 2024

Tax filing deadlines 2024
Tax filing deadlines 2024

Different ways to file your taxes

If you are one of the estimated 100 million people that are eligible to file your tax return for free you can keep all of your refund money by choosing one of these options.

In person full-service free tax preparation

If you meet the requirements below, you may be able to take advantage of in-person, full-service tax preparation services through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) , AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, and The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. These free programs have operated for over 50 years and use IRS certified tax preparers and meet high IRS quality standards. This means you can be assured that you will have an accurate return.

You can schedule an appointment with VITA/TCE and Tax-Aide sites if you:

  • Generally make $60,000 or less,
  • Have a disability,
  • Have limited English skills or speak English as a second language, or
  • Are 60 years or older

Find a VITA or an AARP Tax Aide site

Note: Some VITA or AARP Tax Aide sites are open year-round and some close at the end of tax season. When you search for a site, check the “Dates open” column to find a site that plans to remain open after April 15, 2024.

Remote full-service free tax preparation

You can prepare your own return with help from IRS certified volunteers when you need it through MyFreeTaxes if your income is $73,000 or less.

You can get connected to VITA providers around the country virtually to have your return prepared by signing up through GetYourRefund if your income is $66,000 or less.

Free self-preparation

If your income is $73,0003 or less, you may be eligible to prepare and file federal income tax returns for free online, using guided tax preparation software through IRS Free File . Other eligibility for free products varies with providers and some may charge fees to file state returns. Review offers carefully and access this service through the IRS link, rather than going directly to the website for the guided tax preparation software.

Free tax filing for servicemembers

You can prepare and file your tax return for free through MilTax if you are:

  • Active-duty service members, spouses and dependent children of the eligible service members.
  • Members of the National Guard and reserve — regardless of activation status.
  • Retired and honorably discharged service members, including Coast Guard veterans, within 365 days of their discharge.
  • A family member who is managing the affairs of an eligible service member while the service member is deployed.
  • A designated family member of a severely-injured service member who is incapable of handling their own affairs.
  • Eligible survivors of active-duty, National Guard and reserve deceased service members regardless of conflict or activation status.
  • Some members of the Defense Department Civilian Expeditionary workforce.

Consider these factors before using a fee-based tax preparer

Before choosing to pay someone to prepare your taxes, here are a few things to consider:

  • The fees you pay will generally be based on the complexity of your return. If for example you have multiple sources of income including self-employment, are claiming certain tax credits, or have had changes in your life circumstances during the course of the year you will likely pay more than if you have a simple return.
    • Despite the complexity of your return, you may still be eligible to file your taxes for free if you meet the guidelines listed above so check with the free provider of your choice first before paying to have your taxes done.

Here are some important tips about selecting a paid preparer:

  • Check the preparer’s qualifications. You can use the IRS directory of federal tax return preparers to check a preparer’s credentials.
  • Check the preparer’s history. Taxpayers can ask the local Better Business Bureau about the preparer.
  • Ask about service fees. And be wary of preparers who boast about getting bigger refunds than their competition.
  • Make sure the preparer is available after this year’s April 15 due date in case you need follow-up help with your taxes.
  • Your tax documents, such as W-2s, are your records. Preparers cannot keep the originals of these documents or keep your ID to force you to use their service. If you file using their service, they will need copies of your documents for their records.
  • Ensure the preparer signs the return and includes their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid tax preparers must have a PTIN. By law, paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN on the return they file.

If you go to a paid preparer they may offer you additional products that will reduce the amount of your refund such as refund anticipation checks or refund advance loans.