The Internal Revenue Service made its Free File program available on Friday, allowing taxpayers who earn less than $73,000 in adjusted gross income to start preparing and filing their tax returns for free.
Tax season officially launches on Jan. 24 this year, so the tax prep software vendors who are participating in the program will be holding the returns they receive until that date (see story). Both Intuit and H&R Block have decided not to participate in the program this year after coming under fire for steering customers toward paid tax software products. The companies still participating in the program this year include 1040Now.NET, ezTaxReturn.com, FreeTaxReturn.com INC, FileYourTaxes.com, FreeTaxUSA, On-Line Taxes at OLT.com, TaxAct and TaxSlayer.
The program gives people an early opportunity to file their taxes and claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, the enhanced Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and other important credits. Taxpayers can use Free File to claim the remaining amount of their Child Tax Credit and claim any advance payments of the Child Tax Credit they did not receive in 2021.
The online products are available for free as part of a 20-year partnership with the Internal Revenue Service. This year, there are eight products available in English and two in Spanish. IRS Free File is available to any person or family who earned $73,000 or less in 2021. Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, will be available on Jan. 24, 2022. Free File Fillable Forms is available for use by everyone, regardless of their income level, but should be used only by people who are comfortable preparing their own taxes.
“Free File is part of a wide selection of services available on IRS.gov to help people file taxes during this challenging period,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement. “IRS Free File offers taxpayers an easy, free way to do their taxes from the safety of their own home. Free File also provides electronic filing with direct deposit, which is the best way to avoid delays and receive refunds quickly and securely.”