Can You File Your Taxes Online for Free in California?

Can You File Your Taxes Online for Free in California?

Preparing and filing your taxes does not have to be costly if you use a free online tax filing program in California.

  • Households earning less than $66,000 in adjusted gross income may be eligible.
  • Earnings less than $55,000 may qualify families for the Earned Income Tax Credit as well as free filing.
  • Free tax preparation and filing help is available for California residents through the OC Free Tax Prep program.

Preparing your taxes can be a complicated and frustrating process if you’re not sure which forms you need, what exemptions or deductions to claim, or what tax credits you may be qualified for. Plus, purchasing the correct software and actually filing your taxes can become costly as well. This can become a financial burden, especially for low-income households.

However, you may be able to file your taxes online for free in California while maximizing your return. Households that earned less than $55,000 in 2018 may qualify for the federal or California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC and CalEITC, respectively), and be able to file their taxes for free. Even if you don’t qualify for EITC, if your household had an adjusted gross income of less than $60,000, free filing may still be an option.

Finding a Free Tax Filing Program

The United Way has joined forces with H&R Block as well as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to offer Orange County California residents two opportunities to have their taxes prepared and filed for free. One way is through if you made under $66,000. It is a safe, secure way of filing and supports low-income households in increasing their refunds while saving money on tax preparation services.

Another option is to work with the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.  You may be eligible for assistance if you earned less than $60,000, have disabilities, or speak limited English. VITA volunteers can answer basic tax questions, assist you with required tax forms, and file your tax return for you if you qualify.

Free tax filing services can benefit not just those who may have trouble affording the filing process, but also people who are unsure whether they need to file at all or who are looking to receive the EITC or CalEITC tax credits. You can feel confident that your taxes are being prepared accurately, and you are receiving all of the credits and refunds you qualify for.

Filing State Taxes

Even when federal taxes can be filed for free, many people still must pay to file their California state taxes. However, with, you can file state taxes for up to three states for free as well. This can further reduce costs and allow you to use your refund more effectively.

Taking Advantage of Free Filing

Orange County United Way’s OC Free Tax Prep has partnered with H&R Block, the IRS, and other local partners to make preparing and filing taxes as easy and affordable as possible in order to promote financial stability. Tax refunds play an integral role in stabilizing low- and moderate-income families and allowing them to better provide for their children. Take advantage of available opportunities to file your taxes for free in California through these services at