Free guided tax preparation, electronic filing available to 70% of Americans via IRS program

Tax forms
Stock photo Photo credit alfexe/Getty Images
By , Audacy

The IRS’s little known Free File Program is now open for this tax season.

The IRS’s Free File Program offers guided tax preparation and electronic filing, both at no cost, to Americans with a 2022 Adjusted Gross Income of $73,000 or less.

The Free File Program is a partnership between the IRS and tax preparation software companies.

“Not a lot of people use it, and it’s a shame,” Luis Garcia, IRS spokesperson, said live on WWJ. “…The vast majority of Americans… use this software absolutely for free, file with the IRS for free, and if they choose direct deposit, they can get their refund in less than three weeks.”

The income bracket eligible for Free File covers more than 70% of Americans, Garcia said.

All you have to do is put in your information and the tax preparation service will prepare it for you, according to Garcia.

Garcia said too often, people go searching for the Free File Program and end up at a pay site or fall prey to misinformation.

To make sure you don't get scammed, he said to go through IRS.gov: "Anything else is suspect."

Once at IRS.gov, scroll down and click on Free File. The page will eventually ask you to click on your preferred tax preparation software brand.

"These offers you see online, they say they’re they’re free. But after you’ve done a couple hours of work, put in all your stuff, you realize…they need $35…It’s not what you signed up for," Garcia said.

A similar program, Free File Fillable Forms, is available to any income level, including people with a 2022 AGI above $73,000. The program provides free electronic forms that people can file by themselves at no cost.

The big difference is the tax payers with an AGI over $73,000 in 2022 will have to prepare the tax forms themselves.

“The forms are automated. You can file your taxes directly through electronic filing,” Garcia said. “But if you’re not familiar with taxes, you may want to pay for some software or go to a tax professional.”

The Free File program kicked off today (January 13th) so tax preparation software and professionals can start accepting and preparing tax returns.

The IRS systems open on January 23rd.

April 18 is the tax filing deadline for this year, because the usual Tax Day (April 15) falls on a Saturday. Those who request an extension will have until October 16.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: alfexe/Getty Images