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 $54,000 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 coalition.

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 $66,000, 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. OC Free Tax Prep will help individuals and families to prepare all of the necessary forms and submit their taxes through 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 $54,000, have disabilities, or speak limited English. VITA professionals can answer basic tax questions, assist you with filling out required forms, and let you know if you can file for free.

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 refunds. 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

The United Way has partnered with these organizations to promote financial stability within communities and support low-income households. The OC FREE TAX PREP coalition works together with the United Way, Citi, H&R Block, the IRS, and other partners to make preparing and filing taxes as easy and affordable as possible. 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