IRS Free File now accepting 2021 tax returns

Issue Number: COVID Tax Tip 2022-16


IRS Free File now accepting 2021 tax returns

IRS Free File, available only through IRS.gov, is now accepting 2021 tax returns.

IRS Free File is available to any person or family with adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less in 2021. The fastest way to get a refund is by filing and accurate return electronically and selecting direct deposit. This year, there are eight Free File products in English and two in Spanish.

This program gives people an opportunity to file their taxes and claim the 2021 recovery rebate credit, the enhanced child tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and other credits. Taxpayers can also use Free File to claim their remaining child tax credit or any advance payments they did not receive in 2021. By law, the IRS cannot release earned income tax credit and additional child tax credit refunds until mid-February.

Additionally, IRS Free File users can use direct pay or electronic options to submit their tax payment if they owe a balance.

As an alternative, Free File Fillable Forms are electronic federal tax forms available to everyone, regardless of income. Only people who are knowledgeable and comfortable preparing their own tax return should use them.

Taxpayers can access IRS Free File in four easy steps:

1.​ Gather all necessary documents and income statements that support deductions and credits. Taxpayers should complete and e-file their tax return only when they have all their income and deduction statements in hand.

2.​ Go to IRS.gov to see all filing options.

3.​ Use the “Online Look Up” tool to find the right Free File product or use the “Browse All Offers” tool to review all options. Each IRS Free File partner sets its own eligibility standards, which are generally based on income, age and state residency.

4.​ Select an IRS Free File provider and follow the link to their webpage to begin a tax return.

Child tax credit, 2021 recovery rebate credit and other tax benefits

IRS Free File is the fastest and easiest way for taxpayers to claim the child tax credit, 2021 recovery rebate credit, and other tax benefits such as the earned income tax credit.

People who received one or more advance child tax credit payments in 2021 should carefully review their tax return for accuracy before filing to avoid processing delays. Families who received advance payments will need to compare the advance payments they received with the amount they can properly claim on their 2021 tax return.

In late December, the IRS started sending Letter 6419, 2021 Advance CTC, to taxpayers who received an advance child tax credit payment. The letter contains the total payment amount that the individual needs to file accurately and avoid a processing delay. People who received advance payments can also view their payment amounts on their IRS online account available on IRS.gov.

The IRS is sending Letter 6475, Your Third Economic Impact Payment, to individuals who received a third Economic Impact Payment in 2021, including initial and “plus-up” payments. Most eligible people already received their Economic Impact Payments. This letter will help them determine if they are eligible to claim the 2021 recovery rebate credit for missing third payment. If so, they must file a 2021 tax return to claim this credit. Individuals can also securely access IRS online account to view the total amount of their third Economic Impact Payment.

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: IRS Free File now accepting 2021 tax returns https://go.usa.gov/xtQ6u

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