FreeTaxUSA Review 2022: Full Tax Prep for Bargain Hunters

FreeTaxUSA offers a strong, low-cost possibility for submitting any tax return.

Naomi Antonino/CNET

This story is part of Taxes 2022, CNET’s coverage of the best tax software and everything else you need to get your return filed quickly, accurately and on-time.

For over 20 years, FreeTaxUSA has offered tax preparation providers masking virtually all tax conditions and filers. You may get a federal tax return with unrestricted IRS types and schedules without charge, and a state return will value you $15. You may as well add a Deluxe characteristic for $7 to get dwell assist, amended returns and audit help.

A clear and easy interface helps FreeTaxUSA supply good worth for a low price ticket. Even if in case you have unemployment revenue, crypto gross sales, rental property, retirement distributions, well being financial savings accounts or the entire above, FreeTaxUSA enables you to file your taxes without spending a dime.

FreeTaxUSA is not as approachable as tax software program from H&R Block or TurboTax, our prime decide for best tax software in 2022, nor does it have the choices for skilled assist and assist. However it’s an intensive, environment friendly and strong possibility for submitting your federal taxes without charge. 


  • Low cost worth
  • In depth contextual assist
  • No restrictions on federal types
  • Environment friendly questions

Do not Like

  • No import or picture seize for W-2 or 1099s
  • State returns value additional
  • No dwell chat with out improve
  • Textual content-heavy interface

How does FreeTaxUSA work?

Like most different tax software program, FreeTaxUSA begins you off by both importing a PDF of your prior 12 months’s tax return or amassing your private data by way of the web type. Apart from this, there isn’t any different choice to add recordsdata so in the event you’re a freelancer with a number of 1099 types, you may should enter the data manually.

FreeTaxUSA’s built-in assist options are spectacular — contextual query marks present precious, easy data in popovers that do not spawn new tabs or browser home windows. A helpful Assist with this web page hyperlink offers all of the assist solutions associated to the actual part of the tax return you are at present finishing. 

Click on The place Do I Enter? for shortcuts to pages the place you may enter particular tax particulars. You may as well use the Deduction Dictionary to get particular data on how one can declare and the place to report 127 completely different tax deductions and credit.

Whereas FreeTaxUSA offers helpful tax data, it lacks the graphical interfaces of higher-priced rivals that simplify the method. For instance, FreeTaxUSA explains the variations in tax submitting statuses, however as a substitute of constructing a suggestion, it then leaves it as much as you to pick your submitting standing. It does make sure that to verify your submitting standing throughout the evaluation of your return, since it is a frequent mistake in lots of tax returns.


FreeTaxUSA has cryptocurrency lined, however solely appears to permit reporting mining as enterprise revenue (Schedule C) and never as a passion (Schedule 1).


FreeTaxUSA’s guided question-and-answer course of is well-organized and environment friendly. The software program typically marks the most definitely solutions for a few of the much less frequent tax questions so you may simply click on by types with out choosing each single Sure or No.

The navigation of FreeTaxUSA splits up into private data, revenue, deductions, miscellaneous, abstract, state return and submitting standing. The drop-down menus from every part present an in depth listing of what is included, however you may’t soar forward to many sections till you attain them by way of the guided course of. 

After finishing every of the revenue and deductions sections — the majority of your tax return — FreeTaxUSA offers a useful display for reviewing all of your particulars and confirming that each merchandise is right and nothing has been missed. 

You’ll be able to add Deluxe assist options at any time — you do not have to pay the $7 till you file. Upgrading to Deluxe unlocks two new buttons within the assist part: “Reside Chat” and “New Precedence Assist Problem.” The chat characteristic is rather more rudimentary than TurboTax or H&R block, however I did chat with a consultant after ready 2 to three minutes, and he was in a position to reply easy questions in regards to the software program. The dwell chat characteristic doesn’t embrace tax recommendation, solely assist for the tax preparation software program.

FreeTaxUSA would not have any devoted cell apps, however the browser-based cell model works nicely. Information from my return synced immediately between my cell machine and laptop.

What merchandise does FreeTaxUSA supply?

FreeTaxUSA markets its tax software program like different merchandise with 4 ranges of service: Primary for easy tax returns; Superior for itemized deductions; Premium for funding revenue and property and Self-Employed for freelancers, contractors and gig staff. The massive distinction with FreeTaxUSA is that the entire plans are utterly free.

The plans all run the identical software program. When you get into the tax preparation course of, there aren’t any extra mentions of any of these product ranges.

The one paid merchandise that FreeTaxUSA sells are state return submitting for $15 a chunk and a assist add-on known as Deluxe for $7. The Deluxe service bumps you to the entrance of the assist line, provides dwell chat and allows you to file limitless amended returns. Deluxe additionally contains Audit Help, which can present assist with each in-person and correspondence audits.

Who ought to and should not use FreeTaxUSA?

Self-employed filers on the lookout for an inexpensive strategy to file their taxes might be nicely served by FreeTaxUSA. Tax prep plans for gig staff and freelancers are normally the most expensive business software program (prime decide TurboTax’s Self-Employed plan runs $168 for federal and state, whereas H&R Block’s at present prices $133). Whereas FreeTaxUSA would not allow you to import a number of 1099 types, you may enter as many as you need, utterly free.


FreeTaxUSA enables you to view or obtain your Kind 1040 at any level.

Screenshot by Peter Butler/CNET

FreeTaxUSA might also attraction to filers who do not thoughts studying rather a lot. The interview questions are nicely organized and the assistance content material is complete, however there aren’t any graphical or design parts to interrupt up lengthy sections of phrases.  

Tax filers who obtained long-term care or demise advantages, normally from an insurance coverage firm or the federal government, additionally ought to think about FreeTaxUSA — it contains assist for Kind 1099-LTC, which is not out there in comparable free tax software program.

In the event you earned important cash in different international locations, FreeTaxUSA contains Kind 1116 for claiming the overseas tax credit score, one other type not normally included in free tax software program. However understand that FreeTaxUSA does not permit overseas employment revenue.

Different uncommon tax conditions not lined by FreeTaxUSA embrace nonresident alien returns (Kind 1040NR), at-risk limitations (Kind 6198), casualty or theft achieve or loss from a enterprise or donations of property over $5,000.

Different notable FreeTaxUSA options

FreeTaxUSA retains an old-school bookmark tag on each web page of the tax return course of, letting you mark particular sections or pages to finish or evaluation later. I just like the characteristic on the whole, but it surely wasn’t preferrred for me. 

For instance, I bookmarked the web page for coming into the full quantity of my advance little one tax credit score funds in 2021, however once I tried to return to it later, FreeTaxUSA took me to the beginning web page for dependents. I needed to click on by just a few pages till I ultimately discovered my little one tax credit score cost particulars however could not go there straight.

FreeTaxUSA shows a working complete of your anticipated refund, which is analogous to different software program. However it uniquely features a hyperlink to your 1040 type as you full your taxes, letting you simply preview or obtain the shape because it at present stands.

FreeTaxUSA enables you to pay your submitting charges (if in case you have any) by taking cash out of your tax refund, however there’s a $20 cost. FreeTaxUSA doesn’t supply any refund advance mortgage alternatives. You’ll be able to obtain your refund with FreeTaxUSA by direct deposit, verify within the mail or switch to a pay as you go debit card.

A most refund assure guarantees a refund and a coupon for an amended tax return if another tax submitting methodology ends in a bigger refund. An accuracy assure ensures that FreeTaxUSA will reimburse you for any penalties or curiosity that consequence from any miscalculation within the software program.

FreeTaxUSA additionally provides a Refund Maximizer characteristic that critiques your current deductions and types and asks further questions which may enhance your refunds. It features a useful guidelines of IRS types you’ll have missed, however the characteristic general shouldn’t be as slick or as built-in as TaxAct’s comparable Deduction Maximizer characteristic.


FreeTaxUSA’s complete tax software program will assist virtually any taxpayer file their taxes without charge. It would not present the kind of hand-holding and professional assist that prime tax software program does, but it surely contains well-organized and contextual tax assist that gives many solutions to frequent tax questions. 

The assist options of FreeTaxUSA pale compared to costlier merchandise, however their relative value is way much less. Whereas tax filers will nonetheless have to run by the gauntlet of normal tax questions, FreeTaxUSA’s clear, stripped down course of lets them get the job accomplished shortly and effectively. Its unrestricted choices for all tax filers without charge make it worthy of consideration by anybody trying to file their taxes on a budget. 

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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FreeTaxUSA Review 2022: Full Tax Prep for Bargain Hunters

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