The OnLine Taxes (OLT) Free File Edition

OLT is part of the IRS Free File Alliance

Smiling young person at a home desk with laptop and paperwork

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OnLine Taxes ( is part of the Free File program, an alliance between tax software providers and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that offers many taxpayers free tax filing options. It's web-based software that you can use to prepare federal tax returns, but you must qualify. It's one of the best values available with no price tag for many filers.

Key Takeaways

  • OnLine Taxes ( is part of the Free File program.
  • The Free File Alliance is a nonprofit coalition that partners with the IRS to serve millions of taxpayers.
  • Your income must have been $73,000 or less in the 2022 tax year to qualify for and use Free File. This is the tax return you'll file in 2023.
  • OLT accommodates claiming the earned income tax credit. which can provide tax relief to lower-income families, as well as the Recovery Rebate Credit and the Child Tax Credit.

About the Free File Alliance

The Free File Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of industry-leading tax software providers that partners with the IRS to serve about 100 million taxpayers. Your income must be $73,000 or less in the 2022 tax year (the return you'll file in 2023) to qualify for the federal Free File Alliance program. That's total household income, whether you're single or married filing jointly.

You can print out your tax forms on a link provided on the IRS's Free File website if you earned more than $73,000 in 2022 and they're free as well. But you'll have to complete them on your own rather than with the help of software. The site does offer some minimal guidance.

The Free File Alliance providers are free to adjust their income requirements downward, and some do. OLT is one of them. Its limit is $41,000 or less as of the 2023 filing season unless you're age 67 or older and live in one of 23 listed states. It's $73,000 in this case, as well as for military members on active duty. This is your adjusted gross income (AGI) after various deductions, not your overall gross income.


Some providers also impose age and state restrictions, but OLT doesn't do that. And OLT includes a free state return if you qualify for the free federal return.

Navigation and User Interface

The software's interface consists of a series of data input worksheets. Users first have the option to select their tax return type by choosing from Form 1040, Form 1040-NR, and Form 1040-SS. Seniors who are age 65 or older can file Form 1040-SR.

The 1040-NR return is for nonresidents, and the SS return is for residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico to report self-employment income if they're not otherwise obligated to file a tax return.

The Data Entry Portion

A variety of headlines and help notes provide guidance when you get into the data entry portion of the program. The process flow appears at the top of each screen, including income, deductions/credits, health care, other, and review.

Users can also go to the federal, state, file, view return, preferences, and account tabs at the top of the screen when information has been input. A box providing help for the page’s topic appears on the right side of each page.

Income Entries

The software allows for a multitude of earnings data in numerous sections, beginning with income sources.

  • Wages and salaries
  • Interest and dividends
  • Investment income
  • Retirement and pension income
  • Miscellaneous income
  • Self-employment income
  • Other investment income
  • Gambling income
  • Other income types

All these include the necessary addendum forms that apply to each income type.

Deductions and Credits

The software moves to deductions and credits after income. The user begins with an outline in this section, including adjustments to income, deductions, qualified business income deductions, credits, payments, and refundable credits.


OLT accommodates claiming the earned income tax credit. This credit can provide a good bit of tax relief to lower-income families.

The Final Two Sections

The final two sections include healthcare and "other." You'll be required to provide information on your health plan for the year and information from your Form 1095-A in the first section. Users can choose from various forms in the final section. They're grouped by taxes, other taxes, and miscellaneous.

Each page displays the required payment or available refund in the top right corner.


The software provides a review after all sections are completed. Users can return to double check items. They can also navigate to suggested areas where additional information might be required.

Users can view PDF copies of their federal returns when they're satisfied with the information they've provided, and they can then move on to the state return.

The state return process follows the same procedures. The software walks the user through income, deductions and credits, healthcare, and other issues. It also provides a review of the state return and a PDF copy when it's completed.

Help Features

OLT offers a variety of direct help options with its Free File version, which are expanded in the OLT Premium offering. Users can get contextual help from the Comprehensive Knowledge Base, FAQs, Federal Error Code Help page, and the OLT Top 10 Tax Tips page. OLT also provides helpline information for the IRS.

The free file OLT version also offers email responses seven days a week during tax season. Users who email questions will usually receive a response within 24 to 48 hours.

Overall Experience With the Software

OLT offers everything a user would expect in an online tax preparation service. It also seems to go above and beyond the necessary data entry by requesting an additional layer of personal information along with a broadened array of addendum form options in the income and credits sections.

Taxpayers who are just a little tax savvy might fare better than those who need more guidance. Some users have reported that they were left to determine which corresponding form or schedule they were supposed to complete and submit with their returns. The help features will answer your questions, but this might take a little more time.

The OLT Paid Service

OLT also offers an attractive OLT Premium upgrade in addition to the Free File option for only $7.95 per federal return, plus $7.95 for a state return. You can check out the OLT software for yourself at OnLine Taxes Free File Edition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many tax returns have been filed through the Free File program?

Free File Alliance providers have submitted more than 68 million tax returns on behalf of American taxpayers since the program first launched in 2003. The Alliance indicates that approximately 70% of American taxpayers are eligible to use this service.

How many Free File providers are there?

The IRS indicates that there are 11 providers overall in 2023, including OLT. Each has slightly different qualifying criteria and they vary as to whether they provide state returns for free as well. Some impose age requirements, but OLT doesn't as of the 2023 filing season.

What's included in the OLT paid Premium edition if I don't qualify for its Free File edition?

The Premium edition includes everything that the Free File edition does, but it offers live support on the phone or live chat. It also provides audit support.

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  1. Free File Alliance. "Free File Alliance: Partnered With the IRS to Help Taxpayers E-file."

  2. IRS. "Free File: Do your Federal Taxes for Free."

  3. IRS. "IRS Free File Online: Browse All Offers."

  4. IRS. "About Form 1040-SS, U.S. Self-Employment Tax Return (Including the Additional Child Tax Credit for Bona Fide Residents of Puerto Rico)."

  5. OnLine Taxes. "Free File."

  6. OnLine Taxes. "OLT Customer Support Center."

  7. OnLine Taxes. "Benefits of OLT Premium Edition."

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