File Your 2021 Taxes for Free

Is it seriously tax time again? Already?! You've got to be kidding me. I swear, it's every freaking year, like clockwork.

Before I get to any freebies, let's get one thing out of the way. If you assume I'm going to take this opportunity to rewatch my favorite Simpsons tax day clip, then you know me too well!

If you're looking to get your IRS tax return in faster than Homer or before another huge backlog piles up, then I've got some free and discounted options below!

Who can file their taxes for free?

According to the IRS, anybody who made less than $73,000 a year can file their taxes for free online. This means roughly 70% of Americans are eligible to file for free!

The IRS has put together a collection of 8 Free File IRS partners that each specialize in certain states and AGI. Here's the full list of 2022 providers with direct links to their IRS Free File Program pages and I've listed any free state filings they offer.

Free 2021 Tax Filing Sites

WebsiteAGIAgeEITCMilitaryFree FederalFree State
TaxSlayer$73,000 or lessAnyβœ…βœ…βœ… in any stateβœ… in any state
FreeTaxUSA$41,000 or lessAnyβœ…βœ…βœ… in any state❌
TaxAct$65,000 or less56 or younger; any age if eligible for EITCβœ…βœ…βœ… in any stateβœ… in AR, AZ, DC, GA, IA, ID, IN, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NH, NY, OR, RI, SC, VA, VT and WV
Online TaxesBetween $16,000 and $73,000Anyβœ… if AGI criterion is metβœ…βœ… in any stateβœ… if you qualify for the federal return
FileYourTaxesBetween $9,500 and $73,00065 or youngerβœ… if age and AGI criteria are metβœ…βœ… in any stateβœ… if eligible for a federal return in IA, ID, ND and VT
ezTaxReturn$50,000 or lessAnyβœ… if AGI criterion is metβœ…βœ… in any state❌
1040NOW$73,000 or lessAnyβœ… if AGI criterion is metβœ…βœ… in all EXCEPT AK, FL, IN, NH, NV, SD, TX, WA or WY❌
Free 1040 Tax Return$72,000 or lessAnyβœ… if AGI criterion is metβœ…βœ… in all EXCEPT AL, DC, FL, IN, MT, NM, NV, SD, TN, TX, WA, WI, WV, or WY❌

H&R Block Free – Another free federal and state tax option is H&R Block. On top of being free, they're heavily promoting the difference between them and TurboTax.

H&R Block TurboTax 2021 Free Tax Difference

H&R Block is offering 45 forms required for filing your free online taxes, which is twice as many as TurboTax. They specifically mention these situations to look out for.

  • For Families – Child and Dependent Care Expenses
  • For Students – Student Loan Interest Deduction
  • For Students – Tuition and Fees Statement
  • For Uninsured – Health Coverage Exemptions

Obviously, if any of these situations apply to you, H&R Block sounds like the way to go! Here's a full list of supported forms on their “free online” plan.

If you find you need to upgrade to a different plan, you can get up to 20% off.


TaxAct – Another provider offering $0 federal and state tax filings is TaxAct. Their free plan is for people with basic 1040 or W2 income.

A new feature for 2021 is their free service now also includes dependents, retirement income, college expenses, and plenty more scenarios.

If you need to upgrade to their paid plans, I have a 20% off promo link to help save even more money.


Credit Karma Tax – Credit Karma Tax is a premium product that's 100% free, from start to finish. That includes all of our super-useful features, plus free filing for all supported forms and situations. Have a side-hustle? Own a home or sold some stock? Other tax services might charge you to itemize these deductions – but we don't.

From what I can tell, they don't even have a premium plan, so there's really no coupons or promo codes needed.

I will note that I've seen some negative reporting on this company. Long story short, they use your tax returns to target you with financial advertising…


TaxSlayer – The final, highly rated service on our list offering both state and federal tax returns for free is TaxSlayer. Like the others, this is primarily aimed at single, married, and student filers with a basic 1040.

Their paid services start at $17, but SLAYIT35 should save 35% off any of their plans!


FreeTaxUSA – We also have FreeTaxUSA, who my friend swears by. One of their nice perks is that they offer all of their federal plans, both Free and Deluxe, absolutely free. So if you have a slightly more complicated federal return, you can still get it completely free with FreeTaxUSA.

The downside is they don't offer any free state tax returns. However, I looked around, and believe you can save 10% with either code FREETAXUSA10 or COUPONS10.


TurboTax Free EditionAs of 2022, I can no longer recommend TurboTax Free as a good filing option. Pro Publica recently published a scathing expose detailing all the complex ways Turbo Tax tries upselling you to pointless services you don't need.

TurboTax still offers both free federal and state tax returns if you qualify and only need basic forms, like a 1040. But overall, I'd personally prefer to go with a different company.

Free Military Tax Options

Those in the military have an extra option with MilTax. It's a free service by the Department of Defense that uses a version of H&R Block's software. It's available to all active-duty service members, anybody in the National Guard or the reserves, and to their families. Their free program has no income or tax form restrictions as well!

One nice perk is they have both a free toll number (800-342-9647) and a live chat if you have any tax questions!

Where can you get free personal tax help?

If you need help with filing your taxes, you may qualify for the free IRS' Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program if any of these conditions apply to you:

  • People who generally make $58,000 or less
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers

There is also a free IRS' Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program that can help you if you are at least 60 years old.

Both VITA and TCE sites are managed by IRS partners and staffed by their volunteers who want to make a difference in their communities. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

VITA and TCE sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations across the country.

To locate the nearest VITA site near you, use the VITA Locator Tool or call 800-906-9887.

To locate the nearest TCE site near you, use the AARP Site Locator Tool or call 888-227-7669. These sites are typically only open between January and April.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it! With one of those sites, you should be able to file both of your taxes for free or extremely cheap.

Now hopefully we get a break from all these taxes next year! I hear it's a leap year, that's gotta help us somehow.

2 comments on “File Your 2021 Taxes for Free”

  1. not sure what the AGI has to do with some of this. FreeTaxUSA.com was free for me and my AGI was hire, just had to pay for state filing.

    Reply
  2. I’ve used Credit Karma for the past few years, after getting fed up paying for filing state taxes with HR Block. They’re 100% free for federal AND state, and are free for extra forms as well.

    I won a prize last year (woo!) that I needed to declare on my taxes (boo!) and it was still free on Credit Karma for the extra form.

    Not to mention their design and user interface is much more modern and eye pleasing than the others.

    Reply

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