Tag Archives: Free File Fillable Forms

IRS ‘Free File Fillable Forms’ For 2021 (i.e., 2020 Tax Year) AGAIN Has A Negative Number Error In ‘Schedule D’ — Precludes eFile.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.

Click image to access THIS post about last year’s Schedule D negative number error. This year’s is A SHOW STOPPER!

PANIC. This error is a SHOW STOPPER.

If you have to report short-term capital gain LOSSES on your Schedule D you are SCREWED.

Free File Fillable Forms‘ will NOT accept a negative number in column (d), i.e., Proceeds (sales prices). Yes, proceeds can be NEGATIVE. Smile. It can even be quite a BIG negative number. The IRS allows you to enter NEGATIVE numbers in these columns. You enter them in parenthesis.

Click to ENLARGE. Straight from the IRS. Schedule D instructions.

FFFF does NOT let you enter parenthesis. But, it lets you enter a NEGATIVE number with a MINUS in front.

The problem is that the eFile XML checker has an ERROR. I hate XML. Can’t believe that they still use XML. XML is a bloody joke.

Well, you have to print the return & mail it. This will be the SECOND time eFile has not worked with FFFF.

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by Anura Guruge

IRS ‘Free File Fillable Forms’ For 2020 (2019 Tax Year) Has A (Small) Error In ‘Schedule D’.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE images.

Do NOT panic.

It is NOT a showstopper.

It does not mess you up.

It prints OK.

So, the issue is that YOU put in $3000 and it AUTOMATICALLY puts the MINUS in front, though it is a field in ‘parenthesis’, i.e., already negative. So, we have a DOUBLE negative.

But, this error isn’t carried over to the 1040. That is good.

Also prints OK.

So do NOT panic.

Enjoy. Happy 2019 Taxes. Smile.

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by Anura Guruge

IRS ‘Free File Fillable Forms’ 2019 Has Issues With Form 8962, ‘Premium Tax Credit’.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE and study.

Second year running that the usually estimable ‘free file fillable forms‘ has had problems with dreaded ‘ObamacareForm 8962. I guess it is one of the last forms they get around to tackling.

This year’s problem is crazy. Basically line 8a is dead. It doesn’t do the math and it won’t allow you to enter the value manually! I guess they had planned to make the two fields on that line 8a & 8b automatic — i.e., they would do the math. Simple enough.

8a = line 3 * line 7.

Guess they screwed up putting in the code to do that. So, it remains unpopulated.

And herein lies a fundamental problem with FFFF. If there is a way to OVERRIDE their ‘no entry’ block — I don’t know what it is.

They really should provide an OVERRIDE so that you can always modify or populate a field. Without that you are screwed.

So, I was screwed again. Also means I can’t use the FFFF electronic filing because I can’t complete all the Forms.

Luckily all 1040 Forms on IRS.GOV, this year, are fully editable online! Pretty neat. So, basically the same as FFFF.

So, I did Form 8962 and Schedule 2 online.

I, as I did last year, just mailed it in. Hate doing it, but it was the easiest for I.

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by Anura Guruge

IRS ‘Free File Fillable Forms’ Has An Error On Line 26 Of Form 8962, ‘Premium Tax Credit’.

by Anura Guruge

This is a ‘Do the Math’ field.

You can’t enter a value in it, or override it.


On Form 8962, IF line 25 is greater than line 24, IT does NOT leave it blank!

Instead it INSISTS on entering the value of line 24 — irrespective of what is on line 25.

IT will then even enter that in the 1040 line 69 and your RETURN will be TOAST.

Yes, darkly burnt TOAST.

The e-file spots the error. So, you can’t get away with it. {Smile}

I ended up just printing my return, making the corrections by hand, and MAILING IT!

So, a heads up.

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by Anura Guruge

IRS ‘Free File Fillable Forms’: Two Changes To 2016 e-File Process.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.

Continues to work, and work very well.

Just filed, yes, e-Filed, my 2016 IRS Tax return using “Free File Fillable Forms“, on Friday — this my 7th year using them.

No real problems other than me screwing up two things that e-File pre-processing picked up.

But, noticed two (2) BIG changes in the e-File process.

I guess this is to enhance filing security after the fraudulent e-File claim scandals of the last couple of years.

So, here are the two changes:

1/ You have to include Driver’s License information.

2/ There is CAPTCHA human verification before you are allowed to enter e-Filing.

The first, i.e., requiring further identification, in this instance Driver’s License (or State-issued ID) data makes sense though it was a pain to go get our licenses. Having to enter the issued date really does make the difference. You couldn’t fudge that.

But, I am confused by the CAPTCHA. That is only to ensure human participation. I didn’t realize that there had been a problem of automated, robotic filings. Wow.


Related Posts:
>> 2015 Free Fillable Forms’.
>> 2014 Free Fillable Forms’.

>> 2013 ‘Free Fillable Forms’ eFile option.
>> 2013 ‘Free Fillable Forms’ Form 8949 ‘various’.
>> IRS Provided ‘Free Fillable Forms’: Huge Endorsement.

by Anura Guruge

IRS Provided ‘Free File Fillable Forms’: Huge Endorsement & A BIG ‘Thank You’.


Anura Guruge


I have been gainfully using this free, fillable forms from the IRS for at least the last 4 years — maybe slightly longer.

I love them. Exactly want I want and what I need. Electronic versions of the paper forms with some automated calculations and automatic carry over of all important data between related forms.

This is a gem. I was delighted when I found it.

Despite our modest lifestyle our taxes tend to be complicated, since I am still self-employed and tend to be an active investor. So we can’t get away with doing a 1040A or a 1040 EZ. Instead I have to do the whole kit and caboodle with 4 schedules and multiple forms. But, free, fillable forms let me do my taxes with aplomb. Yes, I do know my way around the tax forms and most of the relevant regulations. So, I don’t need a program that tries to guide me. That is why I like this offering so much.

It is not intrusive, it doesn’t try to second guess you, it is totally ‘cloud’-based and it seems very secure.

I would not, even if you paid me, install and run a tax preparation program on my PC. Once you install that software on your PC you never know what can get compromised. With free, fillable forms noting is installed on your PC, no data is saved on your PC. It is totally browser-based. So in terms of privacy, security and safety it is as good as you can ask — since the only data it has is what you type in AND that being data that the IRS requires from you, whether you like it or not.

For nearly 20 years, when my consulting business was active, I used this amazing tax accountant in Dedham, MA. It was a hike to get there but he sure was worth the drive and much more. When I first went to him c. 1989 there were no commercial-strength, PC-based tax preparation software. He did everything by hand, in your presence. He interrogated you … quick fire … and you had to either give him the form he wanted (e.g., W-2, 1099) or have the numbers he wanted. Initially it was intimidating since he also berated you non-stop. That was his style. He was a great guy. We became good friends. After about 4 years I knew what was expected from me. Then I could watch him in action. I would study the return when I got home. Over the next 10 years I set out to learn from him. During the last 5 years, I did my return, by hand before I went to see him. Then I would pay him to do another. Then I compared mine against his. He knew I was doing it and would tease me. Eventually I could do it as well as he — and by now he was using a very fancy, very costly commercial PC program.

So this is why free, fillable forms hits a chord with me. I was used to doing the forms by hand, in pencil with a big eraser and an even bigger calculator. OK. Yes, I use Excel too. Many times I find it easier to use Excel to do calculations than a calculator. Yes, I use Excel with free, fillable forms to do my investment stuff. I don;t type much. I copy-and-paste data from Fidelity to Excel and then from Excel to FFF. Using Excel as the intermediate step allows me to put in intermediary checks to make sure that all the numbers add up.

So, this is just to give a heads up to anybody who was looking for a free option from the IRS.

P.S., It doesn’t do State taxes. But, I live in tax-free NH! All I have to do is to file the Interest & Dividend return and give them a check. NH has an electronic system too. I use that. That is pretty easy. Takes me less than 5 minutes to do that!