Step by Step Instructions For Free or Low Cost E-File Options

Step 1. Determine Your Eligibility: You must first determine your eligibility for using a particular company. Each company has a simple description of its eligibility criteria. It is important you understand each of the company's eligibility criteria before selecting a company. You may also find additional information on

Step 2. Select Free File or Low Cost Options: After choosing a company, click on link, which sends you directly to the company's web site (you will be notified you are leaving our web site and being sent to a commercial web site).

Note: If you are eligible for Free E-File, in the process of preparing your tax return; you may choose to browse other products and services that some companies may provide for a fee. You are under no obligation to buy additional products and services. The decision to buy these services is entirely up to you. For example, a company may offer you an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or a mutual fund or other investment related products for a fee. You do not need to buy these products or services as a condition for preparing and e-filing your income tax return for free. As long as you meet the company’s free offer criteria, you may simply prepare and e-file your federal and state return for free.

Step 3. You may exceed eligibility criteria after selecting a company. You may determine after you start preparing your tax return with a particular company that you are not eligible for the company's service.

If this notification occurs you have the following options:

  1. Return back to our web site, select the E-file logo and then under the “How do I E-File” section, select the Free or Low Cost electronic filing options link. Review the list of companies and their services and select another company you may qualify for;
  2. Continue completing your return but take note of the services displayed on the company's web site; or
  3. Visit the IRS e-file for Individual Taxpayers web page to view additional e-file information).

Step 4. Prepare and e-file Your Federal and/ or State Income Tax Return: The company's software prepares and e-files your income tax returns using proprietary processes and systems. Electronically filed returns are transmitted by the company to the IRS and then to North Carolina using the established e-file system, which uses secure transmission lines. An acknowledgment file, notifying you that the return has been either accepted or rejected, is sent via email from the company.


Need additional assistance?

Once you choose a particular company for E-File, you will be sent directly to the company's commercial web site (members of the tax software industry provides these tax preparation products and electronic filing services - not North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR). Therefore, questions about a particular service or company should be directed to the company providing the service and not NCDOR. Please contact the company to resolve your particular income tax issue. To find out how to contact the company, please refer to the company's web site for their customer service options. However, if you have general questions about electronic filing or your E-File options, you may contact the NCDOR E-File Unit at 1-877-308-9103 (options 2, 1, and then 2) from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday (excluding holidays).


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