5 Ways Get Free Help with Filing Your Taxes

March 25, 2012

As sure as the sun rises, taxes must be paid. Every year by mid-April Uncle Sam needs his fair share. Forking over money for tax preparation seems inevitable, but there are actually lots of completely free resources available. Depending on your age, income level or whether you’ve served in the military, you could benefit from completely free assistance with filing your taxes.

IRS Free FileIRS

The IRS offers the use of free brand-name tax preparation software to individuals or families with 2011 adjusted gross incomes of $ 57,000 or less. IRS Free File has been around for a decade, and more than 33 million users have taken advantage of the service.

“Free File can save you time and money. You can prepare and e-file your tax return at no charge. And, the software helps you find the tax breaks you are due,” says Diane Fox, director of the Free File program in a news release. “Free File helps make taxes less taxing.”

Around 20 tax software providers including H&R Block, Turbo Tax and Tax Simple all provide versions of their products exclusively to the IRS’ Free File program. You must head to IRS.gov to access the program.

Free Federal Returns

Plenty of services offer customers free Federal returns. One of these is TaxAct, which offers free preparation and e-filing for anyone regardless of their age, their location, their military status or the complexity of return.

“Free tax solutions are not created equal,” says Lance Dunn, CEO of 2nd Story Software(R), the makers of TaxACT in a news release. “Other free products have form limitations, which makes them appropriate for ‘simple returns.'”

With TaxACT Free Federal Edition you can file form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. You can also file Schedules A-F, which are used for itemized deductions, interest and dividends or for business owners and investors.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

Hundreds of locations around the country will provide free tax help to older Americans and those with lower incomes. The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program started more than 40 years ago as a way to help low-to-moderate-income taxpayers get the most out of their tax returns, so they have more money for food and housing. While special attention is on Americans over the age of 60, the program is open to anyone who meets the income requirements. Find a local office by visiting AARP.org now and scheduling an appointment.

Free Options for Members of the Militarytax help

Active duty military can receive free Federal and state e-filing through TaxSlayer.com. The free military edition includes live phone support, step-by-step deduction finder, tax refund calculator and more. You must enter your military EIN to see if you qualify. Military OneSource is also offering a free, electronic filing service. Members of the military can use a custom version of H&R Block At Home through MilitaryOneSource.mil.

Free Help through the United Way

Research shows that millions of dollars go unclaimed during tax season because people do not know how to properly fill-out the tax forms.  The United Way is teaming up with the IRS to offer trained and certified volunteers who can help people across the country receive eligible tax credits and deductions.

“This undertaking would not be successful without dedicated volunteers eager to have an immediate and meaningful impact on the lives of many in our community,” says Community Impact Associate Mary Catherine Mitchell.

Various United Way offices across the country are participating. Most of the programs begin February 1. Last year, just in northern New Jersey, United Way volunteers prepared nearly 6,000 free tax returns resulting in more than $ 5.8 million worth of tax refunds. The service is putting money into the hands of people who need it most.

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