Tax time can be confusing and stressful particularly if you are trying to itemize your deductions and haven’t been very well organized about keeping track of your expenses and income. Many tax forms tend to be complex and even somewhat intimidating that some tax preparers feel they could use a little assistance as they work on them each year.
Thankfully tax advice and tax services are generally affordable. In fact, if you just need a little help and support to get through tax preparation, there are a number of free resources available both online and in person. It’s a good idea to explore and evaluate your options and learn how to take advantage of these available free resources so you file on time. Filing your taxes late may cost you in the form of penalties.
How Do You Get Free Tax Help?
Free tax assistance programs are mostly available to individuals based on financial need as well as their age. However, there are also certain other factors that may make people eligible to receive such help. Some tax preparation service providers also offer complimentary tax tools to anyone who needs it. Here are a few ways in which you may be able to get the tax assistance services that you need for free:
IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): This program offers complimentary tax assistance to individuals who make under $54,000 each year, those with disabilities or people for who struggle with English. The program is run by IRS-certified volunteers who help taxpayers with the preparation as well as the electronic filing. You can find a VITA location at a community center, mall, and public library, or even at a local school site. You may use a locator tool on the IRS website or call 1-800-906-9887 to find a nearby VITA location.
Counseling for Senior Citizens: The IRS also offers a program titled Tax Counseling for the Elderly, which despite its title provides free tax assistance for taxpayers of all ages. The program was specifically started to offer help to taxpayers 60 years and older with a focus on pensions and tax issues related to retirement. Many of the volunteers who run this program are retired and affiliated with groups that receive funding from the IRS.
The American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) Foundation also runs a number of tax assistance sites to help members and other seniors. The foundation’s Tax-Aide program offers free tax preparation services for low-income individuals. There are more than 5,000 locations nationwide. You can find one close to you by visiting AARP’s website.
IRS Free File: The IRS in collaboration with the Free File Alliance can help you prepare and file your tax return at no cost. The Free File Alliance consists of 12 tax software companies. Taxpayers can receive help for preparing their tax returns, getting their calculations verified and filing the tax return – all at no cost. You can access Free File through the IRS’s website.
Taxpayer Clinics: These are part of a federal matching grant program that offers funding to law schools and business schools to assist low-income individuals with their taxes. The program offers services including appeals, audits, collection and litigation. The clinic also educates taxpayers about their rights and responsibilities pertaining to taxes and advocacy services.
MilTax Program: This is provided by Military OneSource, giving service members and their families with free tax preparation and other support services. The important advantage of using this program is that it makes sure individuals take all available military tax breaks. MilTax is part of the VITA program, which means you can locate a center near you through the IRS’s website.
If you are interested in getting free tax help from an individual or organization, please make sure that it is a legitimate entity first. You may do this by reading reviews online or verify whether the service provider you are planning to contact has been associated with scams in the past. You might also want to verify the efficacy of the service provider by contacting your local Better Business Bureau. If you owe the IRS money or are wondering how to deal with IRS debt, please contact our experienced Florida tax attorneys for more information.