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The Internal Revenue Service has made its Free file available Friday, allowing taxpayers earning less than $73,000 in adjusted gross income to begin preparing and filing their tax returns for free.

Tax season will officially begin on January 24 of this year, so tax preparation software providers who participate in the program will retain the returns they receive until that date (see the story). Both Intuit and H&R Block opted out of the program this year after coming under fire for directing customers to paid tax software. Companies still participating in the program this year include 1040Now.NET, ezTaxReturn.com, FreeTaxReturn.com INC, FileYourTaxes.com, FreeTaxUSA, On-Line Taxes at OLT.com, TaxAct and TaxSlayer.

The program gives people a quick opportunity to file their tax returns and claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, Enhanced Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and other important credits. Taxpayers can use Free File to claim the remaining amount of their Child Tax Credit and claim any Child Tax Credit advance payments they did not receive in 2021.

Online products are available free of charge as part of a 20-year partnership with the Internal Revenue Service. This year, eight products are available in English and two in Spanish. IRS Free File is available to any individual or family who earned $73,000 or less in 2021. Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, will be available on January 24, 2022. Free File Fillable Forms is available for use by everyone, regardless of income level, but should only be used by people who are comfortable preparing their own taxes.

“Free File is one of a wide selection of services available on IRS.gov to help people file their taxes during this difficult time,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. “IRS Free File offers taxpayers an easy and free way to do their taxes from the safety of their own home. Free File also offers electronic filing with direct deposit, which is the best way to avoid delays and receive refunds Quickly and safely.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Other important information related to the January 24 start of tax season can be found on IRS.gov, including important grading tips.