How to File a 1040 With a Schedule D for Free

by Alia Nikolakopulos ; Updated July 27, 2017

Items you will need

  • Prior-year tax return
  • Current income and tax documents

The Internal Revenue Service offers free electronic tax return filing to most taxpayers, regardless of income level. The Free File Fillable Forms system is available on the IRS website. Returns submitted through this system are processed by the IRS within 24 to 48 hours, resulting in quicker refunds. The free filing system also performs basic math calculations and checks for line errors, but is otherwise similar to completing a paper return.

Step 1

Gather your tax return from last year and this year’s income documents. You’ll need figures from your last return to register for a Free File Fillable Form account.

Step 2

Go to the IRS's Free File website page (see Resources). Select the “Free Fillable Forms” icon. Register for an account through the Free Fillable Forms screen. You’ll need to provide an email address that the IRS will use to communicate with you regarding tax return submission and processing.

Step 3

Create a password and user ID to use when you log in to your Free Fillable Forms account. The IRS will send you a confirmation email after account registration is completed. The email will contain a link that you must use for each visit to your account. Do not delete the confirmation email.

Step 4

Log in to your account to prepare your tax return. Select the Form 1040 income tax booklet and prepare the online template as you would a paper version of the form. Do not use the “Back” button on your browser when you prepare your return.

Step 5

Click the “Add” button that is located under line 13 of your 1040 tax form to add Schedule D to the 1040. You can use the system to complete as many line entries as the template allows. The Free File Fillable Forms system does not allow you to add another Schedule D to your return.

Step 6

Decide on your payment or refund method. The Free File Fillable Forms system lets you choose direct deposit or a paper check to pay balances or receive refunds.

Step 7

Review your tax return and submit for processing. Print a copy of your submission and supporting schedules for your records.


  • The Free File Fillable Forms system is available on the IRS website during the regular filing season, generally between mid-January through mid-October.

About the Author

With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.