Free Tax Help is Available and Can Help You Get Your Refund Faster

January 25, 2022

The IRS is experiencing massive backlogs because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It may take 9-12 months for your return to be processed and to receive your refund if you physically mail your return to the IRS. However, you can generally expect to receive your refund in three to four weeks if you electronically file the return.

You can electronically file your 2021 return starting Monday, January 24, 2022.

The IRS’s “Free File” Program may be able to help.  Free File partners will e-file your return for free. This year, you can e-file with Free File if your adjusted gross income is $73,000 or less. Links to these free tax preparation and e-filing services are available at

Free tax assistance is also available in many communities.  The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program provide free tax preparation and e-filing services. Locations can be found at  or from your local United Way. The AARP Tax Aide Program also provides free tax preparation.  VITA, TCE, and Tax Aide each have different eligibility requirements.

If you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), you also qualify for free tax help by IRS-trained volunteers. You may qualify for the EITC even if you’re single and have no children.  EITC eligibility can be complicated.  Check if you qualify at

In addition to e-filing, you will usually receive your refund faster if you ask for the payment to be directly deposited into your bank account.

If you have questions about e-filing, refunds or other income tax issues, the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) may be able to help. The Clinic’s services are free of charge. You can call the LASNNY Legal Line at (833) 628-0087 and ask for our LITC.  The Clinic does not generally provide tax preparation services.