Teens & Taxes: Where Can Your Teen e-File For Free?

Mother and daughter using laptop at swimming pool area.
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The IRS recommends that taxpayers e-file their taxes to reduce the chance of processing delays and receive any tax refunds faster, pointing out that electronically filing your return is also the most secure method. If your teenager received earned income as a W-2 employee or 1099 contractor in 2022, they may have to file tax returns.

Your teen can likely file their taxes electronically online, for free, through the IRS Free File program, according to IRS.gov. The IRS Free File program offers free guided tax preparation for any taxpayer with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $73,000 or less. Your teen will need to answer simple questions about their income and withholding taxes paid (if any). This information will be on their W-2 form. The guided tax prep program does all the math to ensure calculations are correct. Your teen’s tax returns will be filed through an IRS partner website. Some programs also offer free state tax prep and filing, if necessary.

If you and your teen are confident filing taxes on your own, you can use the IRS Free File Fillable Forms. This option is available to taxpayers at any income level. This program does not provide any tax prep guidance and it does not perform “extensive error checking,” according to IRS.gov. It does perform basic calculations. Your teen will have to choose the correct income tax form and enter the information online. The Free File Fillable Form option allows taxpayers to electronically sign and file their return and then print a copy for their own records. It does not process state tax returns.

Your teen can also e-file their taxes for free using third-party tax software. TurboTax by Intuit offers a free edition to e-file simple tax returns. Your teen must file by March 31, 2023, to use the program. FreeTaxUSA also provides an option to e-file federal tax returns for free, as well as filing state returns for $14.99. TaxSlayer is another commercial tax software with free e-file options.

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If your teen chooses to use commercial tax software, make sure it is an authorized e-file provider by cross-referencing against the software listed on the IRS website.

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