The 2023 tax filing season officially began on Monday, Jan. 23, with returns due on April 18.
Previously, during the 2021 tax season, several viral social media posts claimed tax preparation companies hid free services.
Now that the 2023 tax season is underway, people are again looking for ways to file their taxes for free, online search data show.
Can you file your taxes for free?
Yes, you can file your taxes for free.
WHAT WE FOUND
The IRS announced on Jan. 17 that Free File, a federal program providing taxpayers with free online tax preparation and filing software, is ready to use. Any taxpayer or family whose adjusted gross income (AGI) was $73,000 or less in 2022 is eligible for IRS Free File.
People who qualify for IRS Free File can file their taxes using a computer, smartphone or tablet.
Free File only guarantees you a free federal tax return, although the IRS says some programs offer free state tax preparation and filing.
These seven providers are partnering with IRS Free File during the 2023 tax season:
- On-Line Taxes
Taxpayers can use the IRS Free File online lookup tool to find the right provider for them. The IRS says ezTaxReturn.com is offering Free File in Spanish for the 2023 tax season.
The IRS offers another free tax filing option that allows people to fill out online federal tax forms, equivalent to a paper 1040 form. The agency says this option, which is open to individuals and families who earned more than $73,000 in 2022, is best for people who are “comfortable preparing their own taxes.”
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Beyond the IRS, there are other options available to file your taxes for free.
The AARP Foundation has a program called Tax-Aide that offers free in-person and virtual tax assistance. Tax-Aide is available to anyone, regardless of income, although the service is focused on people over 50 who have low to moderate incomes. The program can help with most, but not all, tax returns.
Cash App Taxes provides a free tax filing service with no income restrictions for both federal and state taxes, but you have to download Cash App and log in to use the service.
Many of the largest paid tax preparation services also offer free tax filing for simple tax returns, separate from the IRS Free File program. TurboTax’s free version covers W-2 income, limited interest or dividend income reported on a 1099 form, standard deduction claims, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), child tax credits and student loan interest deductions.
H&R Block’s free version covers basic W-2 income, EITC, child tax credit, student loan interest deductions and retirement income reports.
Neither TurboTax or H&R Block place income restrictions on their free filings.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on March 29, 2022 that it was taking administrative action against TurboTax for misleading consumers about the availability of its free service. According to the FTC, TurboTax would inform consumers they needed to upgrade to the paid version only after the consumer had entered sensitive personal and financial information. The FTC said two-thirds of all tax filers didn’t qualify for TurboTax's free service.