Filing taxes in the US is a complex and costly process, but low-income individuals can use the Free File program or other free tax services provided by the IRS.
Americans spend an average of 13 hours and $250 annually to file their taxes, with the process complicated by a web of rules, confusing options, and uncertainties. A more streamlined system is not available due to Congress’ incorporation of anti-poverty programs into the tax code, leading to a more complex filing process. Low-income people are also at a disadvantage due to their lack of time to collect receipts and the costs of tax preparation software. The IRS has a program called Free File where people earning $73,000 or less can file their tax returns at no cost, and other free tax services are also available for people with disabilities, the elderly, and military personnel. Americans are encouraged to consider whether they should file taxes themselves or hire a certified public accountant. Tax credits and refunds may also be impacted by changes to the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.