How to File Your Virginia Income Tax Return
Options for Filing Virginia State Taxes
Forget filling out forms by hand and standing in line at the post office when it comes time to file your Virginia state tax return. You can fill out and file your return online, sometimes for free.
You can qualify to file both your federal and state returns for free with several e-File providers if you and your spouse earned less than $66,000 in 2018—the tax return you'll file in 2019—and if you're filing jointly. Virginia has joined the federal/state e-File program, offering free filing of Virginia state taxes in some cases and federal returns as well.
The income requirements with some e-File providers are less, and some have additional age requirements.
Who Must File
You must file a Virginia state tax return if you have to file a federal return and you had 2018 income of $11,950 or more if you're single or married filing separately. This threshold increases to $23,900 if you're married and file a joint return.
You might want to file anyway, however, even if you don't have to. You can't claim a refund without filing if taxes were withheld from your pay during the course of the year and you're eligible to get some of that money back.
These options are all accessible through the Virginia Department of Taxation website as of 2018. All are free if you navigate to the e-File vendor through the state’s website and meet certain restrictions.
You can also access the sites from the website of the Internal Revenue Service for federal returns, although you might be charged a fee for your state return if you do this. It's probably your best bet to go directly to the Virginia website.
- 1040.com: You must live in Virginia to use this site, and your adjusted gross income must be $60,000 or less to file for the 2018 tax year. You can find your AGI on line 7 of the new 2018 federal Form 1040. You must also be younger than age 52 or you must qualify for the earned income tax credit or you're on active duty with the military.
- Online Taxes at OLT.com: You can file a Virginia state tax return for free here if your AGI is between $14,000 and $66,000. There's no age limit, and you'll also qualify if you're active duty military with an income of less than $66,000.
- TurboTax Free File Program: The requirements for this site are a bit stricter. Your AGI must have been $34,000 or less in 2018 unless you qualify for the earned income tax credit on your federal return. You can also use TurboTax if you’re active duty military, National Guard, or a reservist and your AGI is $66,000 or less.
- H & R Block Free File: H & R Block's site also has an age requirement—you must be between 17 and 51 years old. Additionally, your AGI must be $66,000 a year or less. You can dodge the age requirement, however, if you qualify for the earned income tax credit or you're active duty military and meet the same income requirement.
- TaxACT Free File: You can file your Virginia state taxes here if your AGI is $55,000 a year or less as of the 2018 tax year. You must also be age 56 or younger or qualify for the earned income tax credit or you're on active duty with the military and have an AGI of $66,000 a year or less.
- FreeTaxUSA: The 2018 AGI limit is $35,000 or less at this site unless you qualify for the earned income tax credit. You can earn up to $66,000 if you're on active duty with the military.
- ezTaxReturn: This site is only available if you qualify for the earned income tax credit.
You can still use these sites if you don’t qualify by these rules, but you won’t be able to file for free.
The vendor will electronically file your tax return with the Virginia Department of Taxation on your behalf whether you're eligible to file for free or if you must pay. That’s it. You don’t have to mail anything in. You’re done.
You can even pay electronically by direct debit or credit card if you owe the state money, or through the Department of Taxation’s Online Services for Individuals.
Some Other Restrictions Apply
You can e-file virtually all Virginia state tax returns from these sites, including both resident and non-resident returns, but you generally can’t file fiduciary returns—those on behalf of a trust or estate. You can't file tax returns that include withholding reported on Form 4852, a substitute W-2 or a substitute 1099-R, and you can't file Form 763-S “Virginia Special Non-Resident Claim for Individual Income Tax Withheld.”
It's not required that you e-file your Virginia return. You can prepare and submit your tax return on paper if you're comfortable doing so. Virginia also offers free fillable tax forms on the state website.