Direct File, the IRS’s own competitor to commercial tax software, works a lot like TurboTax or other software by asking yes-or-no questions and having you fill in information from your tax documents. The IRS will start inviting early users to try out the software in mid-February, and by the end of this year’s tax season, it will be open to everyone in Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. If you live in those states, you can file your state taxes free as well (if your state has an income tax).
However, Direct File can handle only certain tax situations. If you have self-employment income, or if you want to claim a tax credit for child-care expenses, for instance, you can’t use the new program.