Submit your 2022 income tax return for free

It’s tax time again and taxpayers are being bombarded with commercials from big tax franchises and do-it-yourself (DIY) software owners. But hiring a professional or paying for do-it-yourself software may be beyond the reach of many low- to middle-income taxpayers. Below is a list of available resources for taxpayers looking for free help filing their 2022 income tax returns.

If you wish to do your own taxes, you can use the IRS Free File Program, which is best accessed directly from irs.gov. Free File offers a guided program (provided by private partners) with some state filings or fillable tax forms without state filing. This year, the Treasury Department and IRS in particular are encouraging taxpayers to do whatever they can to avoid filing paper tax returns. Therefore, it is recommended that you choose the guided online program as opposed to the fillable forms. Fred Stein, CPA holder of BQ Tax & Accounting Services, notes that if needed, it’s free Status Filing in addition to filing your federal declaration is best beginning on your state tax authority’s website and access Free File from there. Two of the largest Free File partners in recent years, H&R Block and Intuit’s Turbo Tax, are not participating in the Free File program this year, but there are several options to choose from depending on income levels and government needs. While not entirely free (e.g. for filing state tax returns), programs offered by these IRS partners are usually reasonably priced.

If you are a military family, you can use MilTax from Military One Source. According to the website, in addition to the filing service itself, MilTax offers “consulting services designed specifically for the military community and an extensive knowledge center with articles and resources designed to help you prepare and file your taxes.” This service allows for free electronic filing of Federal and up to three state tax returns. The website is funded by the Department of Defense and does not require a computer (ie, there is no software to download). Returns can be prepared using a web browser on a tablet or mobile phone.

The IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers seniors age 60 and older free help in the form of co-op grants. A full list of grant-funded partners for the 2022 TCE program can be found here.

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is available to taxpayers who meet income requirements. VITA websites can be especially helpful for seniors, those with limited English speaking skills, the disabled, and households making less than $58,000 per year.

The AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide Service provides in-person and remote tax filing assistance with a “particular focus on taxpayers who are over 50 years of age or have a low-to-middle income.”

Finally, some Low Income Tax Clinics (LITCs) may offer return preparation services or, if you meet certain income and/or situation-specific requirements, provide you with a referral to someone on their pro bono panel who will provide you with a free return visit or at an additional cost will help significant discount. The services LITCs provide depend on their funding and location, so this may not be an option for all low-income taxpayers.

If you’re looking for help preparing your taxes, please remember that while there are many free and inexpensive options available for eligible taxpayers, taxpayers with higher incomes or more complex returns usually need a good DIY option or the services of a professional will be charged accordingly.

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