free income tax service

How To File Your 2021 Income Taxes Online For Free In 2022

Every year at tax time, I become the favorite family member as I prepare taxes for my siblings and children. It’s a barter system where I scratch their back, and they scratch mine, although I believe my back is still quite itchy! But I don’t mind as I’m able to use “free file” to do their income taxes online, so the process is quite simple and FREE!

According to the IRS.gov website, for 2021 taxes, if you made under $73,000 you can use “IRS Free File” to prepare and then file your federal (and most states) income taxes online for free. There are currently 8 IRS Free File online providers. I have listed them below in alphabetical order, included any restrictions, and made notes on my favorite tax software picks.

IRS Free File Online Tax Software Providers

As long as you meet certain eligibility criteria, you will not be charged for the preparation and e-filing of your federal tax return at any of the below online tax software providers. Some of the providers do charge a nominal fee for state preparation and e-filing, so you may want to google your state to see if they offer free e-filing directly on their website.

Please Note: AGI stands for “Adjusted Gross Income” (before taxes). EITC stands for “Earned Income Tax Credit”.

1. 1040now.net

AGI: $73,000 or less
Age: Any
Free Fed Filing: Any state EXCEPT: AK, FL, IN, NH, NV, TX, WA or WY
Free State Filing: No free state tax preparation in any states
EITC: Included if AGI criterion is met
Military Pay: Included

2. ezTaxReturn

AGI: $73,000 or less
Age: Any
Free Fed Filing: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, GA, IL, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, VA, WI
Free State Filing: No free state tax preparation in any states
EITC: Included if AGI criterion is met
Military Pay: Included if AGI criterion is met

3. FileYourTaxes.com

AGI: Between $9,500 and $73,000
Age: 65 or younger
Free Fed Filing: Any State of Residence
Free State Filing: Free state return if eligible for a federal return for IA, ID, ND, and VT
EITC: Included if age and AGI criteria are met
Military Pay: Included

4. Free1040TaxReturn.com

AGI: $73,000 or less
Age: Any
Free Fed Filing: Any state, EXCEPT: AL, DC, FL, IN, MT, NM, NV, SD, TN, TX, WA, WI, WV or WY
Free State Filing: No free state tax preparation in any states
EITC: Included if AGI criterion is met
Military Pay: Included

5. FreeTaxUSA

AGI: $41,000 or less
Age: Any
Free Fed Filing: Any State of Residence
Free State Filing: Free state return if you qualify for the federal return.
EITC: Included if AGI criterion is met
Military Pay: Included

6. OLT.com

AGI: Between $16,000 and $73,000
Age: Any
Free Fed Filing: Any State of Residence
Free State Filing: Free state return if you qualify for the federal return
EITC: Included if AGI criterion is met
Military Pay: Included

7. TaxAct.com

AGI: $65,000 or less
Age: 56 or younger
Free Fed Filing: Any State of Residence
Free State Filing: Free state return, for some states, if you qualify for the federal return.
EITC: Included if age and AGI criteria are met
Military Pay: Included
*Kim’s Pick: I use TaxAct when I do my kids’ income taxes as it is relatively easy to use. I’m cheap so do not pay the $5 import fee, but that means that I need to retype their names and addresses each year.

8. TaxSlayer.com

AGI: $39,000 or less
Age: Any
Free Fed Filing: Any State of Residence
Free State Filing: Free state return, for some states, if you qualify for the federal return.
EITC: Included
Military Pay: Included

More Free File Online Tax Software Providers

These tax providers are not officially listed on the IRS website as part of the “free file” offerings, but they still claim to offer free tax preparation and filing. These are the “name brand” tax softwares that are definitely trustworthy, but beware they will try to upsell you on services you may not need.

H&R Block

AGI: You can file a 1040 plus schedules 1 & 3, so it’s usable by more people than other free software packages.
Age: Any
Free Fed Filing: $0
Free State Filing: $0
EITC: Included
Military Pay: Included

TurboTax

TurboTax opted out of the IRS Free File program, but still is offering a free option (on the hopes that people will upsell).
AGI: $39,000 or less
Age: Any
Free Fed Filing: $0
Free State Filing: $0
EITC: Included
Military Pay: $72,000 or less

*Kim’s 2nd Pick: The best upside about TurboTax is that they do save the previous year’s returns and do not charge an import fee, but they will try to get you to upgrade at every other turn. If you can resist all of the upsells, TurboTax is not a bad option.

IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

Most free tax software is pretty self-explanatory, but if you do need help filing your income taxes online for free, the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free basic tax return preparation to people who make under $58,000, persons with disabilities, elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who may need assistance in preparing their tax returns. The VITA program has been in operation for over 50 years. Click here for more information.

Tax Deadline

The tax deadline is normally April 15th, but if that day falls on a weekend or holiday, tax day will be moved to the next business day. Since this year, April 15th is Good Friday, the tax date will be Monday, April 18th, 2022.

Need A Tax Extension?

If you don’t have time to get your taxes done by the deadline, you can eFile an IRS tax extension for 6 months through TaxExtension.com and receive instant IRS approval. It’s only $24.95 and an easy process. TaxExtension.com offers a money-back guarantee that your tax extension will be approved by the IRS or your money back.