6 ways to get free tax filing assistance
This year's Tax Day is April 15, recalls MoneyTalksNews... Many Americans pay money to help them prepare and file tax returns. But millions of people deal with their taxes on their own, without the help of specialists. The publication offers a middle ground - free help with taxes. Here's how to get it.
Many national programs do not charge a fee for helping taxpayers prepare and file taxes. See if your tax situation and income meet the requirements for these free programs:
1. Help from volunteers
Free IRS Sponsored VITA Program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or “Income Tax Volunteer Assistance”) uses volunteer work to help taxpayers complete basic state and federal tax returns.
Who is eligible: usually taxpayers earning $ 56 a year or less, people with disabilities and people with limited English skills, according to the IRS.
- Use online search toolto find out when and where you can get VITA free help (and help from the Tax Counseling for Seniors program described below), and whether you need to make an appointment or just come for a consultation. Or call 800-906-9887. On the IRS website There is a list of what to bring with you to the meeting.
- "Self-prep" is one alternative. You prepare and file your own major state and federal tax forms using taxation software and with the help of an IRS certified volunteer. The option is available at the VITA points that indicate “Self-prep” in the list.
- Would you like to voluntarily help low- and middle-income families with tax documents? The IRS will educate you. Find out more at IRS website.
2. Tax counseling for the elderly
IRS-certified volunteers provide free tax training for older taxpayers through the TCE program (Tax Counseling for the Elderly, or “Tax Consulting for Seniors”). Many volunteers are themselves retirees associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.
Who is eligible: at the IRS they saythat the program “offers free tax assistance to all taxpayers, especially those over 60”, with an emphasis on issues related to pensions and similar topics related to retirement.
- Take advantage of the IRS online search toolto find out when and where to get free TCE help, and whether you need to make an appointment or just come. You can call 800-906-9887. On the webIRS website there is also a list of what to bring with you to the meeting.
3. IRS Free File
Free file Is a partnership between the IRS and the commercial tax preparation software vendors participating in the program. Depending on your income level, taxpayers can use one of the following methods for free:
- Free File is a secure, free proprietary tax preparation software that includes help with state returns.
- Fillable Free File Forms. State tax preparation is not included.
Who is entitled: if your income is below a certain level, you have the right to use Free File. If your income exceeds this mark, you can use free, fill-out electronic versions of paper tax forms. These forms will help you calculate taxes correctly, but you will only get basic recommendations.
- IRS offers infographicsshowing how Free File works.
4. Free tax preparation services
Several commercial tax preparation companies offer free basic online versions of their software. Among them are TurboTax, TaxAct and H&R Block.
On the subject: Key IRS issues taxpayers will face in 2020
The main benefit of any free tax service is the money saved. However, these services have product-specific limitations:
- Some do not offer free state tax return assistance.
- Free products are designed for simple tax situations. Before using a free product, review the company's website to compare such a product with the costs and characteristics of the company's paid products.
- You may encounter hidden fees. For example, you may be charged if you pay taxes with a credit card.
MyFreeTaxes.com Is a United Way program that offers free tax assistance through H&R Block software. Help is free with both state and federal tax forms. Support is available in English and Spanish.
Who is eligible: individuals or families with an aggregate family income of less than $ 66 were eligible for free assistance in 000. Limits for tax year 2018 have not yet been announced.
6. Other IRS Free Resources
You can get other types of free help from the IRS. For example, visit your local taxpayer assistance office - use this resourceto find the one closest to you.
Individuals can also call the IRS for help by phone 800-829-1040; other numbers are available for businesses, those with hearing problems or other problems. You can also find on the site IRS.gov tax forms and publications.
The IRS website also offers information on:
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