I am looking at the two online options the IRS offers:

In one location, the IRS site states:

Income below $66,000: Free File Software

Income above $66,000: Free File Fillable Forms

But on another page, they say:

  • Use IRS Free File if your adjusted gross income is $64,000 or less.

  • If you are comfortable doing your own taxes, try Free File Fillable Forms.

Do I correctly assume that:

  1. If your income is above $66,000, you may use ONLY the Free Fillable Forms option, but are not eligible for the Free File option
  2. If your income is below $66,000, you may use either option?

I don't see this specifically clarified anywhere.

I would be eligible to use the Free File software options, however, I find it very annoying to pick a provider since they all have different options (some can use only 1040EZ, some other versions of 1040, some exclude specific forms, etc). I am comfortable preparing my own return, so I am now to the point where I would prefer using the electronically submitted fillable forms, versus mailing in a printed return.

  • That would be my reading (but I don't know anything other than what's in your question). The implication is that the Free File Software option is easier / more convenient, so is the preferred option if available.
    – TripeHound
    Jan 9, 2018 at 15:27
  • @TripeHound: OTOH, I don't know of any commercial tax software that works on Linux. The Free Fillable Forms just requires a web browser.
    – jamesqf
    Jan 9, 2018 at 20:08
  • See my update to the question, I have found the free file to be cumbersome in the past. @jamesqf Most of the free file software seems to be browser-based in my experience, or at least the major ones. But that is a valid consideration as well.
    – Najel
    Jan 9, 2018 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


Yes, anyone may use Free File Fillable Forms. The process is essentially the same as using paper forms and ballpoint pen; you must read all the same instructions, do all your own scratchwork for non-submitted worksheets, and fill out every line of each form with the exact same values you would on a paper form.

Many people find interactive tax preparation software easier to use, and the free versions of such software are only available to those with incomes under the current threshold. However, low and moderate income households are not forbidden from using paper forms or the online equivalent.

From the pdf instructions for Free File Fillable Forms:

Seventy percent of taxpayers have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $66,000 or less and are eligible for easy-to-use, brand-name software. Find the right software product for you at irs.gov/freefile.

Free File Fillable Forms has no age, income or residency restrictions; however: this program is not for you if you are not comfortable with completing a paper return, using only the forms and instructions as a guide to file a correct return. [emphasis in original, albeit via font color]

  • Presumably, those "not comfortable with completing a paper return" (and be the above, for whom Fillable Forms would not be suitable) either need to use the paid-for versions of the submission software, or get a tax advisor to complete their return?
    – TripeHound
    Jan 9, 2018 at 15:42

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