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"Free File" Allows You Jump Ahead of Jan. 31 Tax Filing Season

"Free File" is available before the filing season opens on Jan. 31.

To help people get a jump on their taxes before the Jan. 31 filing season opens, the Internal Revenue Service last week announced the immediate availability of Free File brand-name software for most taxpayers.

Fourteen commercial software companies that provide their Free File tax prep products at no cost began offering their products today -- available only atIRS.gov/freefile.

Almost 230,000 Californians used it last year, said Raphael Tulino, an IRS spokesman.

Although you can complete and e-file your tax return now, the Free File companies will hold it until Jan. 31 when the IRS begins accepting returns. As previously announced, the IRS delayed the filing season due to critical system testing following the federal government closure.

“Many tax preparers and tax software companies are now open for return preparation, including Free File. If you plan to get a head start on your taxes, remember to e-file. Electronic filing will allow software companies to hold your return and to automatically send it to the IRS on Jan. 31. There is absolutely no advantage to filing by paper,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “If you want to save money and time, just use Free File to prepare and e-file your federal return at no charge.”

As Jan. 31 approaches, Koskinen reminded taxpayers that IRS.gov has a range of information and services to help taxpayers prepare their tax returns. “Free File is just one of the many services available through IRS.gov to help people with their taxes,” Koskinen said. “Additional services include Where’s My Refund for timely updates on refunds, YouTube videos with quick tax tips, and many other ways of getting information. We encourage taxpayers to explore IRS.gov as tax season approaches.”

Free File, a public-private partnership, is the free way to do your federal tax returns either by using brand-name software or online fillable forms. Free File software is available now to more than 100 million individuals and families that earn $58,000 or less, which is 70 percent of taxpayers.

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