Step by Step Instructions for eFile

Step 1. Determine your eligibility

First, determine your eligibility for using a particular eFile provider and product. Each product has a description of its eligibility criteria including age, residency status, adjusted gross income (AGI), and payment types accepted. Because each provider determines which forms and schedules will be included in its eFile product selections, make sure you understand each of the eligibility criteria before making a selection.

Use the Quick Guide to Eligibility Requirements as an at-a-glance list of certain software products that may support your individual income tax electronic filing needs. You may also find additional information on

Note that to eFile for Free, you must start at the NCDOR website.

Step 2. Choose an eFile provider

From the NCDOR eFile webpage, select eFile for Free; you will be directed to Quick Guide to Eligibility Requirements. Choose an eFile provider, click on their link, and you will be sent directly to the company's website.

  • Note: If you are preparing your tax return using eFile for Free, you may be presented with an opportunity to browse other fee-based products and services provided by that eFile provider. For example, a company may offer an individual retirement account (IRA), a mutual fund, and other investment related products for a fee. You are under no obligation to buy any products or services - the decision to buy fee-based services is entirely up to you - you do not need to buy anything as a condition for preparing and eFiling your income tax return for free.

Step 3. If you want to use eFile for Free and don’t initially qualify

If you determine that you exceed eligibility criteria for eFile for Free, you have the following options:

  1. Review the free file product listing of providers that are not affiliated with Free File, Inc. (FFI) to determine if the product will suit your filing needs; or
  2. Return to Quick Guide to Eligibility Requirements. Review the list of eFile providers and their services and select another company; continue this process until you find an eFile product for which you qualify; or
  3. Continue completing your return but take note of the services displayed on the eFile provider’s website; or
  4. Visit IRS eFile for Individual Taxpayers to view additional eFile information.

Step 4. Prepare and eFile your Federal and/or State income tax return

The eFile provider's software prepares and eFiles your income tax forms using proprietary processes and systems. Electronically filed returns are transmitted by the eFile provider to the IRS and then to NCDOR using the proven eFile program. An acknowledgment email, notifying you that the return has been either accepted or rejected, is sent to you from the eFile provider.

eFile Software Product Availability

Some software products offer the ability to eFile Form NC-40 (Individual Estimated Income Tax), Form D-410 (Application for Extension for Filing Individual Income Tax Return), and/or Form D-400V (Individual Income Payment Voucher), as well as Form D-400 (Individual Income Tax Return). If you think you owe taxes or have tax due, consider selecting one of the eFile products that accepts payments (bank draft from checking or savings accounts with no convenience fee); or, pay your D-400V, NC-40, and/or D-410 by bank draft, or by credit or debit card (convenience fee for credit and debit cards) using the NCDOR eServices.

Need Additional Assistance?

Once you select an eFile provider, you will be sent directly to the company's website (members of the tax software industry, not the NCDOR, provide these tax preparation products and electronic filing services). Therefore, please contact the eFile provider, not NCDOR, to resolve your particular income tax issue, or to ask questions about a particular service including the eFile product. To contact the eFile provider, refer to the company's website for customer service options. If you have general questions about electronic filing or eFile options, contact the NCDOR E-File Unit at 1-877-308-9103 (options 2, 1, and 2) from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday (excluding holidays).

Return to eFile for Free