No one really enjoys doing their taxes. In fact, some people downright detest crunching the end of the year numbers and instead rely on the costly services of tax professionals to help them through. There are still others who are overwhelmed by the task of taxes and need assistance to get their numbers to make sense.
For those who need the advise and help during tax time, there are a number of free ways for you to secure the help you need to ensure taxes are done right. Here is a look at what is being offered for certain groups of people qualified to engage tax help professionals at little or no cost:
Filers With Income Less than $49,000
There is a volunteer program known as VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) which provides certified volunteers to help people with basic tax preparation services. VITA locations are set up all across the country and are usually in places accessible to the public such as in libraries, churches, schools, and community centers. The volunteers can help assist people with completing the necessary tax forms and many of the VITA location sites offer free e-filing for income tax returns.
Filers with Income Less than $58,000
People who make over the eligibility amount for VITA programs can still get free help through the IRS website’s FreeFile Program. Millions of taxpayers will qualify to use the free services for the tax preparation but many are unaware of its availability.
Filers With Income Over $58,000
If you fall into a category not serviced by the above assistance resources, you can still use the free online forms which you can fill in from your computer offered by the IRS. You will only be able to file the federal portion of your tax responsibility through the site. State and local information is not available. While there is no in-person assistance available through the IRS site in the completion of the forms, your math calculations will be checked by the documents you complete online.
If you choose to seek the assistance of a tax professional rather than use the free forms, be sure to shop around for licensed tax service providers in your area. All will vary in the services and assistance they provide as well as the prices they charge for services. Conduct a brief interview with a few different agencies before making your final decision.
Senior Citizens Aged 60 and Up
Taxpayers aged 60 and over that have a low to middle income level can utilize the various services available through AARP. Age is the only factor involved in eligibility and even if you are not a paying member of AARP, you can still take advantage of the tax assistance programs being offered in your area.
No matter how you decide to handle your tax preparation this year, it pays to start early. By initiating contact well before the April deadline, you can eliminate long waits for getting volunteer help or scheduling appointments. Have all the information you need to bring with you on the day of your appointment to prevent further complications and delays in your tax filings. Being late will bring about penalties you must pay and not filing at all when you have tax liabilities can get you in serious trouble with the IRS.