Tennessee Attorney General’s Office Division of Consumer Affairs Reminds Tennesseans of IRS-Approved Free Tax Filing Programs

Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 03:27pm

NASHVILLE- With tax season in full swing, the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) would like to remind Tennesseans of the free IRS-approved filing options that are available to many tax filers.

Tennesseans with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $79,000 or less may be eligible for IRS Free File. IRS Free File lets qualified taxpayers prepare and file federal income tax returns online using guided tax preparation software provided at no cost by private businesses partnering with the IRS. Those who don’t qualify for guided software preparation can still use Free File Fillable Forms.

The IRS is also launching a pilot program this year called Direct File. Through this program, eligible consumers in certain states can electronically file their taxes directly with the IRS. Tennessee is one of the pilot states, but the program only supports certain tax forms and therefore is not appropriate for many consumers. Common credits such as the Child and Dependent Care Credit, Saver’s Credit, and the Premium Tax Credit are not included, nor is the program appropriate for gig workers, business income, or itemized deductions.

Please visit the IRS website to review this program carefully and see if this new program includes the tax forms you need for your unique tax situation. The program is not yet open to the general public but is expected to be more widely available in mid-March. You can check in at the IRS website to keep up with the latest updates for this program and also check your eligibility to participate.

Additionally, if your income is $64,000 or less, if you are 60 years old or older, or if you have a disability or speak limited English, you can generally get free tax return preparation assistance at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) location near you. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program also offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those 60 and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

Consumers should closely evaluate the tax preparation service that they choose, as some commercial vendors may advertise a free-file option but try to move the consumer to a paid product by the end of the preparation.  Consumers may report a complaint involving a tax preparation service to the Division of Consumer Affairs at www.tn.gov/consumer.

Consumers who utilize a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to prepare their taxes can check to ensure the CPA is properly licensed by accessing the resources available through the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy within the Department of Commerce & Insurance.