(WHTM) — Tax season is under way and free ways to do them online got a little bit trickier.
There is more frustration this year for people who like to file their taxes for free. Two of the major players are no longer participating in the IRS’s free file program.
Free tax filing is trickier this year, especially after two providers have dropped out of the IRS program.
Jessica Carlson filed her taxes through TurboTax after hearing that it was “free” if you earn less than a certain amount.
The only problem is, instead of free, she got billed $90 for TurboTax, paying almost a third of her tax refund.
“My total was $335 and TurboTax took $90 of it,” said Carlson.
It turns out that when Carlson put her information in at TurboTax.com, she ended up in its more expensive version, even though she met the income threshold.
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“It automatically put me in Deluxe, and I said I did not make that kind of money,” said Carlson.
This year more people are getting ready to log into their tax filing accounts and discover that their tax filing isn’t really free.
“If you want guaranteed free software, go to IRS.gov first,” said IRS spokesman, Luis Garcia.
Garcia mentions that many companies advertise free filing. If you don’t use the portal on the IRS.gov website – and go directly to the preparer you have used before – you could be in for an expensive surprise.
“If you do any other method, you probably will fall into a trap where you do your taxes, and at the very end a bill pops up,” said Garcia.
To make it trickier, both TurboTax and H&R Block left the free file alliance during the pandemic. You may be able to file free through them for basic returns, but a 1099 form for gig work may trigger fees on TurboTax.
Luis said that if your 2022 income was less than $73,000, click on the IRS website and let them direct you. That way you won’t be surprised like Jessica.
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The bottom line is if you don’t go in through the IRS’s website, you may not get to file completely free.