Best free tax software 2022: File your taxes for free

Many Americans can file their taxes for free or get tax help at no cost.

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This story is part Taxes 2022CNET’s coverage of the best tax software and everything you need to file quickly, accurately and on time.

This year’s tax deadline looms large on the calendar: there is no postponement for the Covid-19 pandemicand the tax return due date is April 18, 2022. The IRS and tax experts strongly suggest filing early and electronically with direct deposit to receive your tax refund as soon as possible.

If the potential cost of tax preparation or tax software is what makes you procrastinate, open your eyes to the bounty of the internet. There are several ways to file your taxes for free or get the help you need if you need help.

Be aware that commercial tax offers may entice you with free tax software products and then try to sell you higher levels of service or functionality. Before you select a “free” tax preparation service and start your tax return, make sure your tax situation won’t require you to upgrade to a paid product.

Read on to learn about the best ways to file your taxes for free, including official IRS services and top-notch free software from commercial publishers.

To find out more, inquire this year’s biggest tax changesget important tips for do your taxes over the phone and discover the best tax software for 2022

Free IRS file and forms to fill out for free

The IRS partners with tax companies to provide its Free Files program, which offers free tax software to Americans with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $73,000 or less. If you meet the AGI requirement, you can select one of eight commercial software packages (including TaxAct and TaxSlayer, which are on our list of the best tax software for 2022) to guide you through filing a tax return federal.

The problem? Not all state returns are free. Each offering specifically lists the states included in its Free File product; be sure to review each product’s status list carefully before choosing.

If your AGI is over $73,000, you can file for free with the IRS using its free fillable forms, but they don’t include free state return options and there are no guided assistance. You will need to manually verify the calculations and you will not be able to make any further changes once your declaration has been accepted.

Voluntary tax assistance or tax advice for the elderly

The IRS also offers free tax preparation services for those who need it most: the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps filers earning less than $57,000, people with disabilities or those who speak limited English. Volunteers are IRS certified and provide basic tax return preparation.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) helps people aged 60 and over with specific advice on retirement-related issues. Even those who are still working but nearing retirement could benefit from TCE’s services.

To find a VITA or TCE location near you, use the VITA/TCE Locator Tool or call 800-906-9887.

First launched in 2022, Cash App Taxes (formerly Credit Karma Tax) lets you file for free – even if you’re self-employed – and we consider it the best free tax product available today.

Cash App doesn’t offer as much support as some pro software and doesn’t include the ability to download 1099 income forms, but if you don’t need a lot of hand or just have a return, it’s a great option to file a tax return for free.

Read our full Cash App Taxes 2022 review.

A longtime in-person tax preparer, H&R Block also offers a way to file your taxes for free online. H&R Block’s free online product includes a federal tax return and a state return, all at no cost. However, it excludes construction workers and the self-employed because 1099-NEC or 1099-MISC forms are not supported.

H&R Block Free Online lets you easily import last year’s tax documents and includes a robust help center and online technical support. It gives access to some deductions and tax credits, including the earned income tax credit, the child tax credit and education expenses.

However, if you want to report income from stock sales, deduct business or childcare expenses, or claim deductions like mortgage interest, you’ll need another tax solution. The complete list of IRS forms supported by Free Online can be found in this PDF list from H&R Block.

Read our full H&R Block 2022 review.

Sign of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington, DC

Many tax preparation companies offer free filing services, but make sure you actually qualify before entering all of your information.

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File your federal and state taxes for free with TaxAct Free. You can import your returns from TurboTax, H&R Block or import last year’s TaxAct return at no additional cost.

After you file a federal return, your details are automatically populated on your state return and, like with H&R Block, you’ll be able to see your estimated refund in real time. However, TaxAct does not include free state tax filing; it will cost you $40.

Read the list of state and federal forms that TaxAct offers for free (click “forms”) before deciding if TaxAct Free will work for you.

As with most commercial software, you’ll need a simple filing to qualify for free tax filing with TaxSlayer. Its Simply Free tier lets you prepare, file, and print your federal return — and get a free state return at no additional cost.

TaxSlayer has live chat, email, and phone support for when you need additional help. Unfortunately, TaxSlayer Simply Free has strict limitations: you cannot claim the Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Tax Credit, and your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) cannot exceed $100,000. . Check out the full list of requirements for TaxSlayer Simply Free to help guide your decision.

Read our full TaxSlayer 2022 review.

Methodology: how we select the best free tax software

CNET reviews tax software by comparing products based on a set of criteria. We use the software to prepare personal income tax returns, review tax product terms and offerings, communicate with software representatives to resolve product questions, compare feature sets, and analyze each software for its effectiveness in current tax situations.

We consider tax preparation software features and functionality, user experience, software interface, website performance, quality of help and support, and value based on price. We also research and evaluate specific features, including importing files or capturing photos of forms, the number and type of IRS forms and schedules available, context-sensitive help, computer compatibility and synchronization. desk and phones/tablets, professional tax assistance, maximum reimbursement and accuracy guarantees. , live support and security protections.

Specifically for the best free tax software, we consider the limitations and restrictions of the free services offered, the unique features of each service, features related to low-income filers, in-person support and assistance, and if so whether or not a free state tax return is included with the free federal return.

Editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our editors and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It was not supplied or commissioned by a third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.