Filing state taxes for free: Where to go for free filing

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In a Nutshell

Doing your taxes can be painful enough, especially if you’ll end up owing. You may be clued in to where to go for free federal filing, but what about filing state taxes for free? Here’s some information on where to go to file your state taxes online free of charge.

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You may know about ways to file your federal income tax return for free, but what about filing state taxes for free?

In 43 states and the District of Columbia, Americans have to pay some sort of state-level income tax as well as federal income tax. If you live in a state with a state-level income tax, you may dread the idea of paying someone to complete yet another tax return for you.

If so, you’ll be happy to know that it’s possible to file state taxes without paying for it. Here’s what you should know about filing your state taxes for free.


Basics to know about filing state taxes for free

Some states allow taxpayers to e-file state returns for free directly through a state website. Others participate in state-level versions of the Free File Alliance.

The Free File Alliance is a group of tax-preparation and tax-filing software vendors and online filing services that has agreed to make free versions of its paid products available to eligible taxpayers. To use Free File software, taxpayers must have an adjusted gross income of $66,000 or less. Additionally, participating vendors may have lower AGI limits or additional limitations based on age, military status or other factors.

Currently, 23 states participate in the Free File Alliance. Credit Karma Tax® does not participate in the Free File Alliance. It’s always free to prepare and file federal and single-state income tax returns with Credit Karma Tax®, regardless of adjusted gross income. But a free Credit Karma account is necessary in order to use the service.

State-by-state free filing

Click on your state in this table for information that could help you find the best option for filing your state tax return free of charge.

Alabama* Arizona Arkansas California* Colorado*
Connecticut* Delaware* District of Columbia Georgia Hawaii*
Idaho Illinois* Indiana Iowa Kansas*
Kentucky Louisiana* Maine Maryland* Massachusetts
Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana
Nebraska* New Jersey* New Mexico* New York North Carolina
North Dakota Ohio* Oklahoma* Oregon Pennsylvania*
Rhode Island South Carolina Utah* Vermont Virginia
West Virginia Wisconsin*

*Provides free e-filing through a state portal.

Taxpayers can e-file online for free through the My Alabama Taxes website. There are no income limits or other qualifications to use the free system; it’s available to anyone who files an Alabama individual income tax return.

Alabamans may also be able to e-file for free through an approved vendor, some of which may offer free versions of their paid products for filers who meet certain qualifications. Taxpayers can also e-file with Credit Karma Tax®, an authorized e-file provider for the state of Alabama.

Arizona does not provide free e-filing of state returns directly through the Arizona Department of Revenue website. But if taxpayers meet certain criteria, they may be able to file their Arizona state tax return through a Free File Alliance partner. Each provider has its own qualifications, which may include age, income or other limits.

Credit Karma Tax® is included among the state’s list of authorized e-file vendors.

Arkansas taxpayers can’t e-file their state returns through the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration website. Instead, the state participates in the Free File Alliance. If taxpayers meet varying qualifying criteria, they may be able to prepare and e-file an Alabama state tax return for free with a participating provider.

The California Franchise Tax Board allows taxpayers to e-file for free directly with the state through CalFile. The state says CalFile takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete and results in the fastest-possible refund if filers also choose to have their refund directly deposited.

The tax board’s website also lists other free online-filing options, including Credit Karma Tax® and Free File.

If taxpayers need to file a Colorado state tax return, they can probably do so for free directly through the Colorado Department of Revenue Taxation Division’s Revenue Online service. The service is available to Colorado taxpayers or people with a valid Colorado state driver’s license or ID.

The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services allows taxpayers to file their Connecticut state tax returns directly with the state through its taxpayer service center.

Delaware taxpayers can file Delaware state tax returns directly with the state through the Delaware Division of Revenue website. Filers need to create an account in order to file.

The District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue doesn’t provide direct filing service through its website for D.C. taxpayers. Instead, eligible filers may be able to file for free through a Free File Alliance partner.

Alternatively, D.C. taxpayers may be able to file using Credit Karma Tax®, which is always free and is listed as an authorized e-file tax service on the district’s website.

Georgia does not offer direct e-filing of state returns through the Georgia Department of Revenue website. The state participates in the Free File Alliance. Georgia taxpayers may also be able to file their state taxes with Credit Karma Tax®, which is always free.

Taxpayers in Hawaii can file state taxes for free through the Hawaii Department of Taxation’s Hawaii Tax Online. The state also provides a list of approved e-file providers, some of which may allow taxpayers to file for free. Credit Karma Tax® is included in the list.

The Idaho State Tax Commission doesn’t offer direct e-filing through its website. Instead, the state participates in the Free File Alliance. Credit Karma Tax® is an authorized e-file provider for the state.

Illinois taxpayers can file state taxes for free directly through the Illinois Department of Revenue website. They’ll need to create a MyTaxIllinois account in order to file.

Indiana has its own version of Free File: INfreefile. As with the federal-level Free File, Hoosiers who want to use a free product from one of the listed vendors will need to meet that vendor’s requirements, which may include limitations on age, adjusted gross income and other factors.

The Indiana Department of Revenue also lists Credit Karma Tax® as a provider of free e-filing services.

The Iowa Department of Revenue does not provide direct e-filing through the state’s website. Instead, Iowa taxpayers may be able to file state taxes for free through one of the providers listed on the site. Income limits and other qualifications apply in order to file for free.

If taxpayers need to file a Kansas state tax return, they may be able to do so through KSWebFile, a free online filing service from the Kansas Department of Revenue. Filers need to sign up for an account, but there is no income limit for using the service.

The state also provides a list of authorized e-file vendors, including Credit Karma Tax®.

Kentucky taxpayers who want to e-file their state tax return for free can’t do it through the Kentucky Department of Revenue website. Instead, the state participates in Free File, and lists several possible vendors.

The state of Louisiana provides taxpayers with Louisiana File Online, where they can file their Louisiana state tax returns for free. Filers must create a user account in order to use the free online service from the Louisiana Department of Revenue.

Maine FastFile is similar to the federal-level Free File service. Maine taxpayers can choose from a list of participating providers, some of which may allow qualified taxpayers to file for free. Credit Karma Tax® is also included in Maine’s list of participating e-file providers.

Maryland taxpayers who register for an account with the Comptroller of Maryland may be able to file directly with the state for free through Maryland’s iFile portal. Once they’ve created an account, they can log in and begin preparing their Maryland state tax return.

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue offers fillable online forms that filers can complete and e-file for free. The forms mimic the state’s paper tax return and provide a calculation mechanism to help with math. The forms can either be e-filed or printed and mailed.

For taxpayers who want to prepare their taxes with an interview-based program, the state offers a list of Massachusetts State Free File providers.

The Michigan Department of Treasury participates in Free File and provides a list of vendors on its website. Credit Karma Tax® is listed as a provider of free filing, and the state website notes that Detroit residents can also use the service to file their city of Detroit individual income tax returns.

Qualifying Minnesotans may be able to file state taxes for free through one of the software providers listed on the Minnesota Department of Revenue website. However, AGI, age and other limitations may apply in order to do so.

The state also lists Credit Karma Tax® among providers certified to electronically submit Minnesota state tax returns.

The Mississippi Department of Revenue does not offer direct e-filing through the state website, though taxpayers can view and pay their individual income tax through its Taxpayer Access Point.

Instead, state taxpayers may be able to file for free through a Free File vendor.

Missouri taxpayers who wish to file state taxes for free will have to see if they qualify for Free File through Missouri Department of Revenue participating vendors. To Free File, taxpayers must meet income, age and other qualifications.

Alternatively, they can file through Credit Karma Tax®, which is always free and is included in the state’s list of e-file providers.

The Montana Department of Revenue provides a list of Free File Alliance participants for state filers, including information on qualifications for using the free versions.

Cornhuskers who want to file their Nebraska state income tax return for free can do so through the Nebraska Department of Revenue’s NebFile program. After verifying eligibility, the tool prompts users to create an account in order to complete and e-file their tax returns through the system.

The New Jersey Department of the Treasury, Division of Taxation, provides NJWebFile, where qualifying taxpayers can e-file their state taxes for free. There are limitations on who can use NJWebFile, so New Jersey taxpayers should check their eligibility.

The Garden State also offers NJ Fill’nFile for taxpayers who know how to complete their tax returns on their own. The fillable form doesn’t prompt users or include instructions on what information to enter on each line. The completed forms can be printed and mailed or e-filed for free.

The New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department provides free e-filing through its Taxpayer Access Point. Taxpayers must create an account in order to use TAP.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance partners with the Free File Alliance to provide free filing to taxpayers who meet certain qualifications. Empire State taxpayers may be able to file for free with Credit Karma Tax®, which is among the state’s approved commercial software providers.

North Carolinians can’t file their state tax returns for free through the North Carolina Department of Revenue website. But they may be able to do so through NCfreefile, provided they meet eligibility requirements.

The state’s revenue department website provides a list of Free File Alliance vendors, as well as other free filing options, including Credit Karma Tax®.

The North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner provides an ND FreeFile tool to help taxpayers determine if they’re eligible to file for free through a participating vendor. The state’s Taxpayer Access Point doesn’t allow users to file for free directly with the state.

But taxpayers can use North Dakota Fillable Forms to e-file (or print and mail) their state tax return for free. The forms provide a calculation mechanism but don’t guide you through the preparation process. Other limitations apply, so taxpayers should verify their eligibility to use the forms.

Eligible Ohio taxpayers can file state taxes for free online through Ohio I-File from the Ohio Department of Taxation.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission allows eligible state taxpayers to file for free using OkTAP. The state’s website provides an online quiz to help taxpayers determine if they’re eligible to use the free online filing service.

Oregon taxpayers have a few possible options for filing state taxes for free.

They may be eligible to file for free with a participating vendor if they meet requirements such as income, age and other restrictions. Or they may be able to use the Oregon Department of Revenue’s free fillable forms. The forms help with basic calculations but don’t provide added guidance.

For simple filing needs, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue offers padirectfile. Eligibility requirements apply and taxpayers with tax situations that are more complex may not be able to use the state’s free e-filing tool.

The state lists Credit Karma Tax® on its website as a provider of free e-filing services.

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation participates in the Free File program and provides a list of participating vendors. Income, age and other limitations may affect eligibility to use certain Free File products. Credit Karma Tax® is also an approved e-filing vendor for the state.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue does not offer direct e-filing through its website. Instead, the state participates in the Free File program.

Taxpayers who don’t meet requirements for a Free File offering may be able to use the state’s free fillable forms. The forms, which can be e-filed or printed and mailed, will do math for you if you want but will offer only limited edits on the information you input.

Utah residents may be able to file state taxes for free through the Utah State Tax Commission Taxpayer Access Point.

Taxpayers in Vermont can’t directly e-file their taxes with the Vermont Department of Taxes. Instead, they may be able to file for free through a Free File vendor, provided they meet qualifications like income, age and other limitations.

Virginians can’t e-file directly with the Virginia Department of Taxation through its website. But the commonwealth does offer free fillable forms that help with basic math and offer basic guidance. Filers must be a full-year resident of Virginia and preparing a current-tax-year return to use the fillable forms. And they should be comfortable doing their own taxes with little guidance in order to make good use of the forms.

Taxpayers may also be able to file for free with a Free File participating vendor, provided they meet qualifications. Credit Karma Tax® is also an authorized e-file provider for commonwealth tax returns.

The West Virginia State Tax Department does not allow taxpayers to e-file directly through the state’s website. Free filing may be available through the Free File program, which the state participates in, if taxpayers meet the qualifications.

Taxpayers in Wisconsin may be able to e-file for free through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue e-file system.


Bottom line

Although just a handful of states allow their residents to file state taxes for free directly through the state’s website, taxpayers generally have other options for filing their state taxes free of charge. Many states participate in the Free File program, which allows qualified taxpayers to file state and federal income taxes for free.

And most taxpayers can use Credit Karma Tax®, which is always free, to file their state and federal income tax returns.


Christina Taylor is senior manager of tax operations for Credit Karma Tax®. She has more than a dozen years of experience in tax, accounting and business operations. Christina founded her own accounting consultancy and managed it for more than six years. She co-developed an online DIY tax-preparation product, serving as chief operating officer for seven years. She is the current treasurer of the National Association of Computerized Tax Processors and holds a bachelor’s in business administration/accounting from Baker College and an MBA from Meredith College. You can find her on LinkedIn.