Where Can I Get IRS Tax Forms (or Where Can I File Free)?

Remember when you used to get a package of small booklets in the mail at the beginning of the year?  

They had those real thin pages, like newspaper and there would be official computer forms included.

Well those packets, your IRS 1040 tax forms for the previous year, haven’t been mailed out since 2011.

According to the IRS, fewer and fewer taxpayers have been receiving tax packages in the mail in recent years. In fact, in 2010 only 8 percent of individuals who files taxes received tax forms in the mail.

Wow, have times changed!

I remember when I first filed taxes I picked up the forms at the local library. For years after that I had the forms mailed to me.

What’s interesting is I can’t recall when I stopped receiving the tax forms in the mail. Perhaps it was after I started filing my taxes online?

It makes sense.

I’m sure it must be a hefty expense to mail out tax forms to people in a day and age where computers are pretty much in every household or at least readily available. The number of people who file online is growing, making paper forms somewhat obsolete (certain forms still need to be mailed in though).

But that leaves the question – Where to get tax forms, like the 1040, if I need them?

Where to get tax forms.


Though you won’t receive your forms in the mail anymore you still can get copies of tax forms.

Among your options to get tax forms are:

  • participating local libraries
  • participating post offices
  • local IRS offices
  • online at www.irs.gov

I happened to stop by the library recently (great place to borrow books and movies for free) and I noticed there was a section set up full of tax forms.  The library is a great tax resource, not only for forms but many also provide sessions to help people with their taxes.

The IRS has a page where you can download forms you can get in PDF format.  Some of the forms are set up so you can enter your information on the computer before you print them out.

Here are links to some of the more popular forms (these links go directly to the PDFs from the IRS site):

Form 1040 (Instructions for 1040)

Form 1040A (Instructions for 1040A)

Form 1040-ES (Instructions for 1040-ES)

Form 1040EZ (Instructions for 1040EZ)

Form W-4 (Withholding Calculator) – This one is important if you find yourself getting big tax returns and you’d rather have more of that money in your paycheck.

You may be able to file your taxes online for free.

If you made less than $52,000 you may be able to take advantage of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which offer free tax preparation for low to moderate income taxpayers.  Volunteers are certified to help prepare basic tax returns.  You can locate one of over 12,000 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites by calling 1-800-906-9887.  Most of the sites also offer free e-filing.

You also may be able to file free through the IRS’ Free File site.

The IRS teamed up with many brand-name tax preparation companies to allow taxpayers use their software through the IRS.  You can use the programs if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $58,000 or less.

Here’s a quick video on the program:

If you don’t qualify for Free File’s program you may still use their Free File Fillable Forms which are online versions of IRS paper forms.

You can also go directly to online tax preparation companies such as Turbo Tax or H&R Block to see if you qualify for their free e-file versions.

So don’t worry, the IRS didn’t forget about you (and don’t do a Snoopy dance thinking you don’t have to pay taxes because you didn’t gets forms either).

Now that you know where to get IRS tax forms make sure you get them as soon as possible to make sure your taxes are complete before the tax deadline arrives!

Are you looking for tax prep software to help with your taxes?

One place we’ve liked this year is H&R Block.

Click through for our review of H&R Block tax software.

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Published or updated April 14, 2015.


  1. It would be interesting to know how many people filed taxes last year and how many files online (both through free or paid services)? And chance you could find that information for us readers?

    • Yes. It totally sucks now that not even libraries carry the forms and booklets.
      The librarian told us over the phone that this is now “nationwide”, so forget about the old fashioned way of doing things. It’s no longer an option and we do our own taxes.
      No one even cares about the baby boomers here, just convenience and laziness.

  2. The Prudent Planner says:

    Check out your local library, many times there are tax professionals that do tax returns for free, all you need to do is make an appointment. Some require that you belong to a specific group (AARP for example). I remember when I was younger and first starting out it cost me $350 to do my taxes at H&R Block. The very next year I got my taxes done by a retiree at the library. He used to work for the IRS and did tax returns in his spare time, cost me nothing.

  3. Andrea the Librarian says:

    Hi, I’m a librarian. Just to clarify, the IRS decided that to save money they would not send libraries ANY tax booklets this year — so that’s why we don’t have them to give out, it’s not that we don’t want to. All they will send to us are the basic forms 1040, 1040 A, and 1040 EZ; a brochure basically telling people to to go online for tax forms (this brochure: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4604.pdf ); and a few things that taxpayers can use to refer to in the library (Publication 17), or to make photocopies (and we won’t get the one for photocopies till probably early March). Yeah, we think it’s rotten too.

    The information about free tax help is good! Volunteers through the VITA and TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) programs help people twice a week in our library meeting room, during tax season (in fact they are here right now!), and they are very busy. It’s such a valuable service, and I’m amazed at the dedication of the volunteers. You can find out where services are provided in your area at this link: http://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/

    Thanks for helping educate the public!

  4. Jill Rivas says:

    Just in case you need to fill out form 1040, you may find a blank 1040 form you need in this site PDFfiller. I found mine through http://goo.gl/p0zSLm. Hope you find it useful.

  5. Naomi Black says:

    If you have not done so, check out http://www.freetax.com. You can file your federal and state returns for free online.

  6. You can file your expat tax at http://locustax.com

  7. Marlene Whittaker says:

    Tax forms in the Paradise Hills area of San Diego are practically non existent . There is only one library where they used to be available and only the swift could manage to get them. As a former college financial aide officer at a NYC college I was trained to do and understand tax filing BUT unfortunately IRS has made it difficult to obtain such forms. A system similar to mail in voter ballots should be developed so that filers who do their own tax filing can indicate their desire to have forms mailed to them. Filing online is not what I want to do. Nor can I print them as I have no printer for my iPad..

  8. I have always done my own taxes, still do. I know how to get the forms from IRS, but here is my problem. All I want is to find a form I am able to complete on the computer myself and print it so I can file my own return. I was able to do this last year, why not this year? In other words I do not need their help in preparing or filing my return. I found a form, completed it and then they want me to pay them to FILE it for me!! I can do that myself.

What Do You Think?