Quick Answers About Filing Your Taxes (& How To Get Them Done for Free)

By Christina Lorey

February 3, 2023

Good news, procrastinators! You have a little extra time to file your 2023 taxes. Thanks to April 15th falling on a Saturday, and DC’s Emancipation Day holiday the following Monday, Tax Day 2023 is Tuesday, April 18. The sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get your refund– typically, within three weeks.

Already filed? Click here to check the status of your refund.

If not, read on…

Roughly 33% of Americans wait until the last week to file their taxes. 

Last year, the average tax refund was $3,252, up 15.5% from the year before. (The average refund in 2021 was $2,816. This year, however, many filers should expect smaller refunds  because several key tax breaks either no longer exist, like the Advance Child Tax Credit, or were changed, like the Earned Income Tax Credit.

These changes can be confusing… and they’re the #1 reason people are missing out on money that’s theirs! Each year, roughly 20% of people who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit forget to claim it. 

Don’t let that be you!

We put together this Time-Saving Tax Guide filled with answers and, even better, direct links to specific forms, free filing software, and more.

How to Get Free Help

Are you 60 or older?

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide provides free tax prep in-person or contact-free. Here’s the link to find a site near you. If you want to prepare your tax return yourself but could use some coaching or another pair of eyes during the process, they’ll do that, too. Here’s the link. You do not need to be a member of AARP to use these services.

Do you make $60,000 or less?

The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) is for you. Every person working for this program must take and pass tax law training that meets or exceeds IRS standards—including confidentiality and privacy laws. There’s also a quality review check of the tax return document before it’s filed. 

Here’s the link to find the VITA program near you. 

Want the phone number instead? Here it is: 800-906-9887


Who should file a tax return?

US citizens and permanent residents who work in the United States need to file a return if they made more than a certain amount of money in 2022. (See next question for that amount.)

If you’re not sure, here’s a tool that can help you figure out if you need to file a return.

How do I know if I make enough money to file taxes?

This website has a lot of helpful information, so check it out if your situation is more complicated than the ones listed below.

If you are…

Single and under 65: $12,950
Single and 65 or older: $14,700

Head of household and under 65: $19,400
Head of household and 65 or older: $21,150

Married, filing jointly, and both spouses are under 65: $25,900
Married, filing jointly, and one spouse is 65 or older: $27,300
Married, filing jointly, and both spouses are 65 or older: $28,700

Married, filing separately, at any age: $5

A qualified surviving spouse and under 65: $25,900
A qualified surviving spouse and 65 or older: $27,300

Note: If you were born before Jan. 2, 1958, you’re considered 65 or older.

When should I file?

Most people need to file their tax returns by April 15 each year. This year, because of federal holidays, it’s April 18. However, some people use different calendars for sending tax information to the IRS. Others may want to get an extension to their filing date. If you think those special circumstances apply to you, go here for more information

Should I file as single? Head of household? Something else?

It can be confusing to know how to classify yourself on your taxes—that’s what’s known as your “filing status.” It changes depending on if you’re married, if you file one tax return for both spouses, and more. Here’s an IRS tool that will help you figure out your filing status.

I’m a senior. What do I need to know?

Older adults, and those who are retired, have special considerations, like qualifying for certain tax credits, reporting pension income, and potentially paying a retirement tax. Go to this website for help. Remember, the AARP offers a free tax services, so check out their website to find a program near you.

Who qualifies as a dependent?

The IRS has set up a tool to help you find out if you can claim someone as a dependent on your taxes. Here it is.

What kinds of credits could I qualify for?

Lots. There are tax credits for families, homeowners, people who own electric vehicles, and others.

There are also deductions you can make against the taxes you owe: healthcare deductions, work-related deductions, education deductions, and more.

Here’s a page where you can learn more.

Where can I get a W-2, W-9, or 1099 form?

Right here. 




1099-R (retirement)

I have other questions about taxes.

Here’s an Interactive Tax Assistant tool you can use to ask questions and find helpful information. 

Happy filing!


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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