7 sources for free tax help

7 sources for free tax help

Filling forms, providing relevant evidence, and navigating complex tax language can be challenging. Well, here’s some good news. Several organizations help individuals file their income tax returns for free! And don’t be mistaken; they keep your information secure and confidential. So, if you haven’t filed your returns yet and want tax help without paying for it, here are seven sources to explore. Note, however, that these sources may have qualification terms.

IRS helplines
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) helpline 800-829-1040 provides free tax help, answering queries regarding tax issues and providing details regarding forms or deductions. You can visit the IRS website to see the list of topics they assist with. It’s best to read the website thoroughly and gather the necessary information before calling them to save time. Note that there may be some waiting time during the tax season, and it’s likely to get longer with the deadline soon approaching.

IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC)
If the IRS helpline doesn’t cover the topic you need help with, visit your state’s IRS assistance center. All you have to do is locate the nearest center on the IRS website, fix an in-person appointment, and carry relevant documents, evidence, and identity cards to get tax help. Remember that TACs may not assist if your tax situation is complicated with multiple deductions and credits. You may have to hire a professional in such cases.

IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)
Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization of the IRS. You can reach them if other free IRS resources cannot help with your tax issues. Apart from free tax help, TAS helps those with a tax-related financial burden, tax levy, errors and refunds, and other disputes. Before contacting them, use the TAS website to verify if you qualify for help.

Free tax software
If you have to file a simple tax return and your adjusted gross income is less than $73,000 as of 2021, you can use free software. The IRS has partnered with several tax software companies under its Free File program. Under this program, taxpayers may use the software of partner companies to do tax calculations, download necessary forms, and file returns online, all for free. These tools, however, don’t offer tax help, so you may need some understanding of the subject. Examples include Cash App Taxes, FreeTaxUSA, H&R Block, TaxAct, TaxSlayer, and TurboTax.

Community-based free tax help
Many IRS-certified volunteers offer free tax help for specific categories of people under the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counselling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. VITA volunteers help those whose annual income is $58,000 or less, taxpayers with disabilities, and individuals not well-versed in English. On the other hand, TCE volunteers help those 60 or older and have pension-related queries that affect their income tax filing. However, VITA and TCE only offer basic tax assistance and may not help with complex matters. You can locate a center near you from the IRS website.

Military OneSource
If you or your family member is a part of the military community, the Defense Department provides free tax help through the Military OneSource program. The services include free access to tax preparation software, live chat, and referral to military tax consultants for any specific consultation. You can locate a Military OneSource tax resource center near you from the Military OneSource website.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC)
LITCs provide free or low-cost education and outreach to tax-related issues for those with low incomes. However, there are income-based eligibility criteria. The IRS lists the authorized legal clinics, and you can find one nearby on the IRS website.

If you’re looking for free tax help services, go and visit these seven sources without a second thought. If you come across any other organization providing help for free, do some research and only consider those the IRS has authorized. This will ensure your information is safe and confidential. Also, before approaching any tax help source, keep all tax-related data and information ready.

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