Half the trouble of paying taxes lies in the multiple forms a taxpayer needs to get through in order to complete the process. In theory, paying your taxes shouldn’t be too complicated. Once tax season rolls in, however, taxpayers have to struggle through confusing forms and terminology. The fear of making a tax mistake and getting penalized only compounds the problem.
It is therefore unsurprising that more than $100 billion is spent annually on tax assistance in the United States. It’s a chilling thought, but what’s worse is that most Americans don’t realize that they can avail of free tax help.
Here are several options for free tax help:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
As many as 70% of Americans are actually eligible for free tax help, but they don’t realize this.
First there is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which helps taxpayers with filing their returns, provided their annual income does not exceed $50,000. Eligible taxpayers can contact them directly or visit their temporary posts in schools, community centers, and even malls.
The IRS also has a special program for senior citizens known as the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. Taxpayers age 60 and older can get help and advice in filing their tax returns.
Plus you can always visit any IRS office to ask questions, though they won’t help you with the actual filing. Advice is always useful, however.
AARP Tax Aide
The program offers assistance to senior taxpayers age 60 and above, as well as low and middle income taxpayers.
Volunteers of AARP are available in nearly every state. The organization’s website provides details on how to contact their volunteers and ask for assistance.
This tax assistance software comes recommended by the IRS.
For taxpayers whose income falls between $50,000 and $57,000, they can make use of the Free File tax software website to assist them in preparing and filing their tax returns.
In certain cases, taxpayers can contact the local law schools to see if they offer free clinics that help clarify issues in the filing of tax returns. Some schools might even have law students assisting in the filing of returns. It’s best to ask around and see if any help is available.