IRS Free File means that you can file your federal taxes at no cost
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Not filing your taxes may leave money on the table — and there’s a free option to make the process easier.
Generally, you are not required to file a federal tax return if your gross income is less than the standard deduction, which is $12,950 for singles and $25,900 for married couples filing together for 2022.
But there can be benefits to filing even if you don’t have to. Most taxpayers, including this group, are eligible for IRS Free File, which offers free online guided tax preparation for federal returns and some state filings to claim “potentially overlooked tax credits or refunds,” according to the IRS.
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You can use the IRS Free File if your 2022 adjusted gross income was $73,000 or less, and taxpayers of all income levels can use it to apply for an extension. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate, about 70% of taxpayers qualify for Free File, but only 2% used it during the 2022 filing season.
“We often see that students, part-time workers and others on low incomes overlook filing a tax return and never realize they may be owed a refund,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement this week.
We often see students, part-time workers, and others on low incomes overlook filing a tax return and never realize they may be owed a refund.
With no taxes due, low-income earners may incorrectly assume they are not eligible for a refund, the IRS said. However, you may still qualify for “refundable” tax credits that can be claimed without a credit, such as For example, the tax credit for low- to middle-income workers.
There are currently nearly $1.5 billion worth of unclaimed refunds from 2019, the agency reported.
How to Use the IRS Free File
To get started with Free File, you will need personal information such as your social security number, dependent and spouse details, adjusted gross income for the last year for verification, and the necessary tax forms.
Before beginning the signup process, you can compare providers or use the IRS search tool to find the best matching software based on your income, location, and other factors.
“It’s a good option for those who have easy returns, don’t need ongoing tax planning advice, and could benefit financially from the free service,” said certified financial planner Judy Brown of SC&H Group in the Washington and Baltimore area. She is also a certified public accountant.
Due to several tax law changes in recent years, some tax advisors may prefer to work with a tax expert.