At a time when the economy is uncertain and the pandemic refuses to end, it’s nice to report some good news from an unexpected source – in this case, our friends at the Internal Revenue Service. According to this report from television station KVVU in Las Vegas, the IRS has just released details of the agency’s Free File program. As reporter Shannon Miller explains, Free File means qualifying households can file taxes online using software from several participating companies, at no cost. This can potentially save hundreds of dollars as you prepare to file taxes for income earned in 2021.
A Tough Filing Season Ahead
The IRS is bracing itself for a season that Miller calls “particularly challenging”, thanks to a combination of ongoing pandemic variables and a lack of requested funding from Congress. So, anything that makes filing taxes quicker, easier and cheaper is bound to help, at least a little. Enter the Free File program.
“The U.S. Internal Revenue Service on Friday announced details for Free File options in 2022,” Miller reports. “IRS Free File is available through IRS.gov and provides free online tax preparation products to any person or family who earned $73,000 or less in 2021.”
The Benefit of Using Free File
In a move to make online filing as accessible as possible to as many taxpayers as they can, the IRS has partnered with tax software providers—eight in English, two in Spanish—to make their products available for free. This system should make it easier to claim every credit available. According to a statement from the IRS, “Filers can claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, the enhanced Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and other important credits.”
Miller makes special note of the Earned Income Tax Credit, reporting that Free File “can be used by workers to claim the EITC, which provides a refundable tax credit based on a filer’s income and family size.” She adds, “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 that they did not receive in 2021.”
Direct Deposit and Deadlines
If you’re worried about the security of your return and prefer direct deposit, never fear. Chuck Rettig, IRS Commissioner, stated, “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.”
Free File fillable forms and electronic versions of IRS paper forms will be available starting January 24th of this year. “Until then,” Miller writes, “IRS Free File providers will accept completed tax returns and hold them until they can be filed electronically on that date.”
Who Is Free File Ideal For?
As stated above, Free File is intended for any taxpayer—individual or family—who earned $73,000 or less in 2021, but Miller is quick to caution that it “should be used only by people who are comfortable preparing their own taxes.”
In the next few weeks before the end of January, notices will go out from the IRS to individuals who received a third stimulus payment in 2021. “The notices will help determine if the taxpayer is eligible to claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit for missing stimulus payments,” Miller says.
How Do I Find Free File Products?
The best way to find the right Free File product for you is to visit IRS.gov/FreeFile, where a tool called the “Free File Online Look up” can help pinpoint the right service for your needs. Some of the Free File products include 1040Now.net, FreeTaxReturn.com, FileYourTaxes.com, TaxAct, and more. Once you’ve found a service that fits, you can navigate to that provider’s website to start filing your return.
For any other tax season questions, including important filing tips, IRS.gov is your best bet. But regardless, if you feel that you’re comfortable doing your own taxes and your income is below the eligible line, Free File could save you a bundle. It’s not often we get a chance to say this, but thank goodness for the IRS!
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(originally reported at www.fox5vegas.com)