Banking and Finance

How to Do Your Taxes for Free (2022 Tax Year)

July 27, 2021

Did you know that, according to the IRS, by the first week of February last year, nearly 36 million Americans had already filed their taxes? Talk about overachievers! Now, if you haven’t filed your taxes yet then don’t worry. There’s still plenty of time!

And, if you haven’t filed your taxes yet then you’ll be pleased to know that you can learn how to do your taxes for free. The ability to file your taxes for free largely depends on the type of tax form you need to submit, whether you were a self-employed worker or not, the types of deductions you’re looking to claim, and similar factors.

However, if you’re just filing a basic tax return in 2022, chances are that it’ll be as simple as visiting the IRS website and entering your W2 information! Let’s take a look at what your options are and how you can find free tax return preparation services for 2022.

When is Tax Day 2022?

Tax Day in 2022 is Monday, April 18th, which means that’s technically the last day to file taxes (unless you meet some sort of exemption rule). Unlike last year, the IRS isn’t offering an extension due to economic hardships brought on by the pandemic. 

Want to get a head start on everything? This year, the IRS started accepting tax returns a whole 17 days earlier than last year. As of Monday, January 24th, 2022, you have been able to submit your information for the IRS to process. This means that if you’re expecting a return, the earlier you get your forms in, the earlier you can possibly receive your return!

Worried about having enough time to file by April 18th? Filing your taxes online is fairly simple these days. You’ll want to make sure you have all of your documents on hand and organized. This includes access to your social security number, your W2s (if applicable), and any other income-related forms and receipts that you’ll need. 

Then, following the questions and prompts that one of the services listed below give you when filing. They’ll help walk you through every step of the process. As always, however, if you think your taxes are a bit complicated, we suggest Googling “CPA tax accountant near me” and browsing through the reviews to help find yourself a great tax accountant who can review your specific case.

Who is Eligible for IRS Free File?

The IRS offers a free online tax preparation and filing service for taxpayers with simple returns. However, that means that while you might be able to use the Free File program to prepare and file your taxes for free, not everybody is eligible. 

So, who is eligible to file their taxes via that IRS Free File program? Anybody who is submitting a standard 1040 form and has an Adjusted Gross Income (or AGI) of $73,000 or less. If you meet those requirements, then simply visit the IRS Free File website here.

You’ll be prompted to answer some questions about your work activity and income. However, the questions help guide you to the correct boxes to fill out and the system does all of the math for you. Then, once you have everything filled out, you’ll actually file your taxes on an IRS partner site (most of which are free, again, if you meet the above requirements).

Do note that the Free File option is only for federal returns. Most tax filing platforms like TurboTax do charge a small one-time fee for filing your state tax return. 

The Best Free Tax Return Preparation Services 2022

Numerous other third-party websites offer free tax filing services similar to IRS Free File. And, you’ve probably heard of a lot of them!

  • H&R Block: You can file your taxes for free via H&R Block if you only have to submit W2s and don’t have freelance income, rental property income, or other complex forms and deductions to make.
  • TurboTax: This well-known tax filing website was participating in the Free File program in 2021 but is no longer participating. Filing your taxes through TurboTax is still free, however, and they’ll guide you through everything you need to know!
  • FreeTaxUSA: This is one of the best options for those who have freelance income they need to report, file, and pay taxes on. It’s usually hard to find a free tax filing service that’ll help and let you file freelance taxes. But, as is the case with other platforms, state tax returns are extra and will cost you $14.99 each.
  • TaxSlayer: Regardless of whether you’re filing a federal or state tax return, TaxSlayer is always 100% free! And, their system walks you through the right questions and processes just the same as the others do on this list. However, the only drawback here is that, unlike FreeTaxUSA, you do have to pay a fee to file freelance taxes (currently, it’s $47).

Just because you can file your taxes for free, though, doesn’t always mean you should. It’s important to note that if you have complicated tax returns that involve lots of independent contract work, deductions, rental property income, or investment income, it might behoove you to contract the services of a professional tax advisor. This way, you’ll rest assured knowing that you’re reporting the correct amount and also that you’re getting the maximum amount of return or deduction possible.

Look Into Discounted Tax Preparation Services

Don’t qualify for any of the aforementioned services? You may be eligible for free or discounted tax preparation services if your income is below a certain level.

The government has a program called the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. It’s a program designed to help lower-income earners, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and those with limited English-speaking skills access the help they need to file their tax returns. The qualification here for “low-income earner” is anybody who earns less than $58,000 a year. And, it’s also worth noting that if you’re over the age of 60, this program can help you access assistance in understanding your retirement or pension plans.

To find a VITA office near you, click here. Be sure to contact them before visiting, and to verify that you meet the requirements for the program. If you need language assistance, there should be someone at the office who can help you find the help you need in your native language.

Save More for Tax Payments

While most people qualify for free tax filing, that’s not always the case. If you’re a freelancer, for example, you might have to pay a $30-50 fee to file your special taxes. In that case, it pays to save throughout the year so that you have more than enough stashed away to pay for any tax-related fees so that you don’t have to dig into your regular savings.

How can you do that? Sign up for a Cheese Debit Card! With a Cheese Debit Card, which you can get without a SSN (we require a valid passport and US visa, though), you can earn up to 10% cash back at over 10,000 stores across the country. No clicks, no activation, straight cash, all automatic.

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