The Internal Revenue Service has opened its Free File service, which provides free tax software and electronic filing, to most taxpayers this year.

“If cost is a barrier or if you’re wondering about free options, check out IRS.gov for Free File options. There’s something there for almost everybody,” said IRS director of electronic tax administration and refundable credits David R. Williams in a statement.

The Free File program provides free federal income tax preparation and electronic filing for eligible taxpayers through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a group of approximately 20 private-sector tax software companies.

Free File comes in two formats: Traditional Free File, which is available to taxpayers who meet specific criteria, and Free File Fillable Forms, which is available to almost all taxpayers.

Approximately 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers — some 98 million people who meet the $57,000 income limit — are eligible for the user-friendly Traditional Free File.

Traditional Free File provides step-by-step software help that asks simple questions and puts the answers on the correct tax forms. Each tax software company sets its own eligibility criteria, generally based on state residency, age, income or military service.

For taxpayers who are comfortable preparing their own tax returns, Free File Fillable Forms are available to almost everyone. There are no income limits and nearly all tax forms are available.

This service provides electronic versions of IRS paper forms. Taxpayers can complete the tax forms online and file them electronically. The fillable forms perform simple math functions, but do not use the question-and-answer software format. Free File Fillable Forms does not support state forms or state electronic filing.

For more information, visit www.freefile.IRS.gov.

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