IRS Free File – online tax preparation products available at no charge – January 14, 2022, giving taxpayers an early opportunity to claim credits like the Recovery Rebate Credit and other deductions, the Internal Revenue Service announced.
Most taxpayers can get an early start on their federal tax returns as IRS Free File – featuring brand-name online tax providers − opens today at IRS.gov/FreeFile for the 2022 tax filing season.
Everyone can file electronically for free. Starting January 14, the IRS Free File program, available only through IRS.gov or the IRS2Go app, offers brand-name tax preparation software packages. For those who earned $73,000 or less in 2021, they may qualify for Free File guided tax software. The software does all the work of finding deductions, credits and exemptions. Some of the Free File offers may include a free state tax return. Taxpayers comfortable filling out tax forms, can use Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic federal tax forms paper version to file their tax returns online, regardless of income.
IRS Free File online products are available to any taxpayer or family who earned $73,000 or less in 2021.
IRS Free File providers will accept completed tax returns and hold them until they can be filed electronically once the IRS begins processing returns. The Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, also will be available later when the filing season begins. This product is best for people comfortable preparing their own taxes and is safe and secure.
What Is IRS Free File?
The IRS Free File Program is a public-private partnership between the IRS and many tax preparation and filing software industry leaders who provide their brand-name products for free. It provides two ways for taxpayers to prepare and file their federal income tax online for free:
How IRS Free File Online works
Each IRS Free File provider sets its own eligibility rules for products based on age, income, and state residency. However, for those who make $73,000 or less, they will find at least one product that matches their needs, and usually more. Some providers also offer free state preparation. Active duty military can use any IRS Free File product if their income was $73,000 or less.
Here’s a step-by-step overview of how to find the right Free File product:
- Go to IRS.gov/freefile.
- Use the “Free File Online Look up” tool for help in finding the right product, or
- Review each offer by a provider by using the ‘Browse All Offers’ tool.
- Select a product.
- Follow links to the provider’s website to begin.
IRS Free File Services for the Military
Miltax online software will be available on January 24, 2022.
Members of the military and qualifying veterans can use MilTax, a Department of Defense program that generally offers free online tax preparation and e-filing software for federal returns and up to three state returns.
No computer? No problem. IRS Free File products support mobile phone access.
Free File providers also offer state tax return preparation, some for free and some for a fee. Again, use the “lookup” tool to find the right product. There are two products in Spanish. With Free File, you can even use any digital device, personal computer, tablet or smartphone. Free File products are mobile-enabled so you can do your taxes on your smartphone or tablet and e-File with your hand-held device.
You should also know your protections under the IRS Free File program
- Get a free federal tax return – As long as you qualify for the Free File federal return offer, you must not be charged for the preparation and e-filing of a federal tax return.
- Be protected from unnecessary fees – Other than state tax preparation fees and a possible fee if you choose to continue with tax preparation when you don’t qualify for the federal return offer, you must not be offered or solicited marketing, promotional rebates, or any other form of selling activity on the Free File company’s website. Any state preparation or non-qualifying fees must be disclosed on the company’s Free File landing page.
- Be guided in your choices – If you find you don’t qualify for a specific company’s Free File offer after visiting their Free File website, you may return to the IRS.gov Free File website to seek another Free File online offer. Each Free File company will provide you information when you don’t qualify, with the option to select a link to bring you back to IRS.gov Free File site to select another company.
- Get help if you need it – If you need help when you are on the company’s Free File website and doing your taxes, you may refer to the company’s free customer service options.
- Be reminded of Free File – If you used Free File last year, you should receive an email from the same company product that you used, welcoming you back to Free File. The email should include a link to the company’s Free File online program and explain how to file with the program.
- Be protected from bank product fees – As part of Free File, you must not be offered any bank products such as Refund Anticipation Loans or Refund Anticipation Checks.
- Get help finding a free option for you – IRS offers a Free File online Look-up tool to help you find an offer that best meets your needs.
- Get important information on possible charges for state returns – Many Free File online products offer free state tax preparation. Some charge a state fee. Be sure to read each company’s information carefully.
Awaiting processing of previous tax returns? People can still file 2021 returns
Rettig noted that IRS employees continue to work hard on critical areas affected by the pandemic, including processing of tax returns from last year and record levels of phone calls coming in.
“In many areas, we are unable to deliver the amount of service and enforcement that our taxpayers and tax system deserves and needs. This is frustrating for taxpayers, for IRS employees and for me,” Rettig said. “IRS employees want to do more, and we will continue in 2022 to do everything possible with the resources available to us. And we will continue to look for ways to improve. We want to deliver as much as possible while also protecting the health and safety of our employees and taxpayers. Additional resources are essential to helping our employees do more in 2022 – and beyond.”
The IRS continues to reduce the inventory of prior-year individual tax returns that have not been fully processed. As of December 3, 2021, the IRS has processed nearly 169 million tax returns. All paper and electronic individual 2020 refund returns received prior to April 2021 have been processed if the return had no errors or did not require further review.
Recovery Rebate Credit / Economic Impact Payments
Individuals who didn’t qualify for a third Economic Impact Payment or got less than the full amount may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit. They will need to know the total amount of their third Economic Impact Payments received to calculate their correct 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit amount when they file their 2021 tax return. Ensuring they use the correct payment amounts will help them avoid a processing delay that may slow their refund. Beginning in late January, the IRS will send Letter 6475 with the total amount of the third Economic Impact Payment received. People can also view their economic impact payments using their Online Account.
Taxpayers generally will not need to wait for their 2020 return to be fully processed to file their 2021 tax returns and can file when they have all their documents and are ready.
Advance Child Tax Credit payments
People will need to know the total amount of advance payments they received in 2021 to compare them with the full amount of the Child Tax Credit that they can properly claim when they file their 2021 tax return. People who received the advance payments can access their online account to check the total amount of their payments. The IRS is also sending Letter 6419 to provide the total amount of advance Child Tax Credit payments received in 2021. Eligible families who did not get monthly advance payments in 2021 can still get a lump-sum payment by claiming the Child Tax Credit when they file a 2021 federal income tax return this year. This includes families who don’t normally need to file a return.
IRS Free File participants
For 2022, these providers are participating in IRS Free File:
- On-Line Taxes (OLT.com),
- TaxHawk (FreeTaxUSA),
For 2022, the following providers have IRS Free File products in Spanish:
Intuit TurboTax dropped the IRS Free File program after July 2021
- Intuit TurboTax has elected not to renew its participation in the IRS Free File Program and will no longer be offering IRS Free File Program delivered by TurboTax.