Ultimate Guide to Free Online Tax Filing and Free Federal Tax Filing
As things start to wind down for the year and 2021 comes to a close, it’s not too early to take a step back and make sure you have everything in order for the 2021 tax year. Setting aside just a few moments before year’s end to review your finances can pay dividends, metaphorically speaking, when the applications for free federal tax filing and free online tax filing come online next year.
First things first, remember that you file a tax return about what you earned in 2021 in 2022. Once 2022 comes around and the tax season starts, you’ll be looking back at the period from January 1 to December 31, 2021
So, what is one thing that should be on your financial checklist before we all ring in 2022?
Review your finances over the past year. Make a list of the documents, financial or otherwise, related to your income from 2021.
This includes documents related to your work, any investments you have, your health insurance, and any government assistance programs you’ve benefited from.
Paperwork you need to gather related to your income may include:
- Form W-2
- Form 1099-C “Cancellation of Debt” – Canceled debt is typically considered taxable income by the IRS.
- 1099-G “Certain Government Payments” – These are forms related to unemployment income and state/local tax refunds.
- Form 1099-MISC “Miscellaneous Income” – These are forms that may be sent to you related to a range of different types of non-employee compensation.
- Form 1099-R “Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement, or Profit-Sharing Plans” – These are forms you may receive concerning payments/distributions from IRAs or other retirement plans.
- 1099-S “Proceeds from Real Estate Transactions” – These are forms that will record income you earned from the sale of a property.
- Forms 1099-INT, -DIV, -B, or Schedule K-1 – These are forms that will record your investment or interest income.
- Form SSA-1099 – These are forms you will receive if you received Social Security benefits.
- Documentation related to alimony payments you received
- Documentation related to your business or Farming income, including profit/loss statement, capital equipment information
- Info and Documentation related to any miscellaneous sources of income, such as jury duty, gambling winnings, Medical Savings Account, scholarships, etc.
- Documentation related to installment sale information, including Forms 6252, principal and interest collected during the year, SSN, and address for payer
- Documentation related to income and expenses from any rental property you own, including profit/loss statement, suspended loss information.
Paperwork and information you will need to gather that can help reduce your tax liability:
- Form 1098-E “Student Loan Interest Statement” – These are forms for student loan interest paid. The loan statements for your outstanding student loans will also be relevant here.
- Documentation related to alimony payments you paid
- Info and Documentation related to any IRA contributions you made during the year
- Documentation recording your contributions to your Health Savings Account (HSA)
- Are you a student, or do you have student dependents? Form 1098-T for tuition paid and your receipts or canceled checks for tuition paid for higher education
- Are you a teacher? Your receipts/canceled checks for expenses paid for classroom supplies, etc.
- Are you an armed forces reservist, an employee with impairment-related work expenses,
- .. or a fee-basis state or local government officials, or a performing artist? Your receipts/canceled checks for employee business expenses
- Are you self-employed? Your records related to health insurance payments and payments in qualified self-employed pension plans such as SEP and SIMPLE
The paperwork you need will be the same for all options for free tax filing for 2021 tax returns. This is including if you take advantage of any of the free online tax filing options.
Having this information organized and to hand once 2022 arrives, and you begin to receive your financial documents. This ensures you have all the information you need when free online tax filing opens up for the 2021 tax year. What’s more, this will make you less likely to forget anything in your tax return. This will help you avoid triggering an unwanted audit from the IRS.
When can I start a free tax filing for the 2021 tax year?
Information about and the application for free federal tax filing and free online tax filing will come online in January 2022. So, keep an eye on the IRS “Free File: Do your Federal Taxes for Free”. Where all the details you need will be available.
Did you use a free online tax filing option in 2021 for your 2020 taxes? In which case, you may receive an email notification when their system has come online and is ready for submissions for the 2021 tax year.
Where can I find free federal tax filing options for the 2021 tax year?
Check the IRS “Free File: Do your Federal Taxes for Free” website in January to find options for free online tax filing with an IRS partner site or to use the IRS’s Free File Fillable Forms.
Remember that IRS Free File will only be available to file your current year tax return. Each year, the program runs from mid-January to mid-October. Once the 2022 tax season is over and the program closes for the year. If you still need to file your 2021 tax return you will need to file it as a prior-year return.
Visit PriorTax.com today for more helpful information about filing your taxes.
On our website’s Knowledgebase, you will find information on late tax filing. This answers many common general tax questions, and information on how to find the information you are looking for from the IRS or your local state’s revenue and taxation departments. Or keep up today with other posts on our Tax News Blog. Here you can find helpful and timely information about filing prior year taxes.
Use our helpful resources to be better equipped to take advantage of free online and free federal tax filing options next tax season. If you have a more complicated financial situation, we offer current year tax filing services in addition to our prior year services. We support you with unlimited live support by phone, chat, or email.
With our tools at your disposal, you can be confident that you are getting your taxes done right.