Taxes State Taxes 4 States Offer Online Direct Tax Return Filing Free State Tax Filing in California and Other States By Tonya Moreno, CPA Tonya Moreno, CPA Tonya Moreno is a licensed CPA with about 15 years of diversified accounting, tax, and management experience. She is an expert in the field who has worked as a tax accountant for many large, multi-state corporations. She not only has experience in preparing state and federal tax returns, but has also dealt with complex tax issues with large amounts of money at stake. Today, Tonya serves as the chief financial officer of Maslonka Powerline Services in Spokane, Washington. learn about our editorial policies Updated on March 31, 2022 Reviewed by David Kindness Reviewed by David Kindness David Kindness is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and an expert in the fields of financial accounting, corporate and individual tax planning and preparation, and investing and retirement planning. David has helped thousands of clients improve their accounting and financial systems, create budgets, and minimize their taxes. learn about our financial review board In This Article View All In This Article California Direct Tax Filing Maine Direct Tax Filing Massachusetts Direct Tax Filing Pennsylvania Direct Tax Filing Other Filing Options Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Photo: Jamie Grill Photography/Getty Images A handful of states, including California, offer their own tax software programs on their websites that allow taxpayers to complete their returns and file them free of charge. Other options also exist for free—or almost free—preparation and filing. California Direct Tax Filing California has an online tax preparation tool called CalFile. For 2021 returns, CalFile is open to taxpayers of all filing statuses with federal adjusted gross incomes of up to $203,341 if you're single or married and filing a separate return. The limit increases to $305,016 for those filing as head of household, and $406,687 if you're married and filing a joint return or a qualifying widow(er). Note If you want to use CalFile, you must have lived in California the entire year, and you can claim no more than 10 dependents. The main sources of qualifying income you can claim with CalFile include: Wages, salary, and tipsTaxable scholarships and grants that weren't reported on a Form W2.Interest and dividends reported on forms 1099-INT or 1099-DIVIRA distributionsSocial Security benefits reported on a 1099-R Educators should remember that you cannot use CaFile if you claim more than $250 in educator expenses ($500 if you file married-filing-jointly). Maine Direct Tax Filing Maine offers FastFile and 1040 I-File, a tax preparation and e-file program for taxpayers with relatively simple returns. Enter your information, and the program will calculate your return. If you owe, you can pay electronically or request to delay your payment. If you're entitled to a refund, you'll receive it by direct deposit. Not every taxpayer can use FastFIle, though. If you fall into one of the following categories, you can't file with FastFile: You file married-filing-jointly and someone else can claim you or your spouse as a dependent.You are a nonresident or part-time resident of Maine, all your income comes from Maine, and you claim either Schedule 1A income, or you claim any of the following credits: earned income tax credit, child care credit, adult dependent care credit.You'll claim credits for taxes paid to other jurisdictions (another state, for example)Your Maine return requires you to file Schedule NR, Schedule NRH, Form 2210ME, or as an injured or innocent spouseYou claim income or credits on Schedule 1S Massachusetts Direct Tax Filing Massachusetts has a program called MassTaxConnect for both individuals and businesses. When you file, you'll need to provide the following information, as well as other documents the state may require: Copies your federal and state returns from the previous yearAll tax forms related to income and earnings (1099s included)Receipts for medical expenses and mortgage interest you claimThe dollar amount of all child care expenses you paidThe dollar amount of all rent you paid If you find that you owe the state less than $5,000, you can set up an installment agreement that allows you to pay your tax debt over time via monthly payments. Pennsylvania Direct Tax Filing Pennsylvania's myPATH portal welcomes a wide range of taxpayers. The myPATH filing partial can handle a wide variety of income types, including: W-2 and 1099 incomeIncome and dividends reported on up to two Pennsylvania Schedule A and Schedule B formsRents and royalty reported on Schedule ESchedule SP tax forgiveness creditsGambling and lottery winnings on Schedule T If my PATH doesn't accept the income you try to provide, you'll need to file a paper return or use a different website to file your state taxes. Note Although they're not run by individual states, two websites also offer free state returns if you meet certain income requirements. United Way offers MyFreeTaxes.com for state returns, as does Credit Karma. Other Filing Options Many tax preparation software packages include free state returns. You may have to pay to prepare your federal return, but your state return is often included at no extra charge. Additionally, some of these programs are free for basic, uncomplicated returns for taxpayers with federal adjusted gross incomes of $72,000 a year or less as of the 2021 tax year. For example, eFile.com offers state tax return preparation and filing starting at $28 in 2021. Due to recent tax law changes, you can only e-file a return through this site if you also e-file a federal return, but you're free to print out your completed return or returns and mail them in. California is the only exception to the rule. More and more states are jumping on the technology bandwagon daily. It's cheaper for them, cutting administrative costs, and it's easier for you. Check directly with your state's Department of Revenue website for additional information. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Can I file my state taxes online? Yes, you can file your state taxes online. Four states have tax filing websites you can use to file your taxes directly with the state. The rest require you to file your state return via an online tax platform or through offline means like a tax preparer, tax software, or a paper return. Can California taxes be filed online? Yes, you can file your California taxes online through the state's CalFile website or through an online tax platform. If you file with CalFile, you'll have to meet certain requirements for income, residency, and deducted educator expenses. Updated by J.R. Duren J.R. Duren J.R. is a terms editor at The Balance, a role in which he focuses on providing clear answers to common questions about personal finance and small business. J.R. has more than 10 years of experience reporting, writing, and editing. As an editor for The Balance, he has fact-checked, edited, and assigned hundreds of articles. learn about our editorial policies Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. State of California Franchise Tax Board. "CalFile Qualifications 2020." Maine.gov. "FastFile." State of Maine. "Individual Income Tax Form 1040ME Internet Filing." Mass.gov. "Explore Filing Options for Massachusetts Personal Income Tax Returns." Mass.gov. "DOR Payment Agreement Frequently Asked Questions." Mass.gov. "Get Ready To File your Massachusetts Personal Income Tax Return." myPATH. "Pennsylvania Tax Hub." IRS. "Electronic Filing Options for Individuals." eFile. "State Income Tax Returns, Dates, Refunds."