IRS offers free income tax filing for many Americans

The deadline for Americans to submit their tax returns or file an extension is Tuesday, April 18, 2023.

Stock photo of tax forms and calculator.

Republicans regained control of the U.S. House in 2023, and one of the first votes they took was to rescind millions of dollars in additional funding for the Internal Revenue Service. The funds were part of the Inflation Reduction Act Congress passed in 2022.

Democrats, who still control the Senate, are unlikely to back the GOP vote, and even if they did, President Biden would likely veto it.

Luis Garcia, a spokesperson for the IRS in Detroit, says the agency has already used the money to upgrade outdated technology and improve customer service.

“We’ve already hired over 5,000 customer service representatives,” Garcia says. “Now with this additional money, we’re able to get people at least close to the kind of service they deserve.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is partly responsible for a backlog in processing tax returns.

Listen: IRS offers free tax filing services for millions of Americans

IRS spokesperson Luis Garcia

“We operate in all 50 states, and they had to operate under the health protocols of each state,” Garcia explains. “There were some places where people couldn’t physically go in or one person could go in, unload, move out of the way and another person would go in. It was very time consuming.”

Garcia says the additional money should also help the IRS process returns more efficiently. He encourages people to file electronically through the agency’s website. Filing is free for people who made less than $73,000 in 2022.

According to Garcia, about 70% of all taxpayers would qualify for IRS Free File.

“You simply put your information in, it does all the processing,” Garcia says. “It gives you all the credits and deductions, everything that you have coming your way, does it electronically, and files.”

But there’s a caveat: to take advantage of IRS Free File, you have to start at the agency’s website and not use a third-party service.

“If you only enter the words ‘free file’ in a search engine, it might take you to another software service that claims to be free but ends up charging you for using it,” Garcia says.

The IRS also wants filers to do their homework before hiring someone else to do their taxes, and never sign a blank return.

“If somebody prepares your taxes and you pay them for it, they have to sign it,” he says. “If you sign a return, you’re responsible for it no matter who prepared it for you.”

Read: How the Inflation Reduction Act’s new EV tax credit affects consumers and automakers

Garcia says most people in Michigan will get a tax refund, and those who file electronically typically get theirs faster than filers who use traditional mail.

But refunds may be smaller compared to the last couple of years because many pandemic-related tax credits and deductions have expired.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Pat Batcheller
    Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.