The IRS recently announced that more taxpayers are taking advantage of the Free File service to submit their tax returns, marking a notable increase compared to previous years. Free File is a convenient option offered by the IRS that enables individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $79,000 or less in 2023 to file their taxes for free through one of eight IRS partners. Since its inception, Free File has emerged as a popular choice among taxpayers seeking a cost-effective and user-friendly method to fulfill their tax obligations.

Taking advantage of Free File can result in significant savings for eligible taxpayers. An independent organization within the IRS, the Taxpayer Advocate, estimates that individuals eligible for the program would typically spend 13 hours and $240 in out-of-pocket costs to prepare and file one annual tax return.

The eight trusted partners participating in IRS Free File for 2024 include 1040Now, Drake (,,, On-Line Taxes, TaxAct, TaxHawk (FreeTaxUSA), and TaxSlayer.

Besides Free File, there exist other avenues for tax filing at no cost. The IRS provides the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs, delivering complimentary basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. VITA caters to individuals with annual incomes of $64,000 or less, as well as individuals with disabilities and limited English proficiency. TCE specializes in aiding individuals aged 60 and above, particularly addressing inquiries related to pensions and retirement specific to seniors.

Taxpayers can also seek assistance from organizations like AARP, which caters to older adults, and the U.S. Defense Department's MilTax program, designed for military families.

Regarding tax refunds, the average refund this year stands at $3,213, marking a 4.3% increase from the previous year. As of the reported data, the IRS has issued 28.945 million refunds, down from 35.142 million refunds issued at the same time last year.

To complement these services, the IRS offers a user-friendly "Where's My Refund?" tool on its website, allowing taxpayers to track the status of their refunds and obtain timely updates on their expected refund amounts. This feature enhances transparency and provides taxpayers with peace of mind by offering real-time insights into the progress of their tax returns.

In terms of total tax returns filed, the IRS has received 44.584 million returns through February 24, indicating a 3% decrease from the previous year. Of these returns, 43.661 million were filed electronically, representing a 2.9% decline from the previous year.