Free Tax Help

If you’re like millions of other procrastinating Americans and are just now getting around to doing your taxes, there is help available.  Here are a few IRS features that can help you prepare and file your tax return.

Free Online Tax Preparation and e-Filing

The IRS offers a service called Free File that helps you prepare and file your tax return online using your choice of a surprising range of commercial online tax preparation software.  When you use Free File, the IRS gives you until April 18 to file your tax return or request an extension. State forms are included with some software.  Free File does, however, come with a few caveats:

“The Free File program is open only to taxpayers with a 2010 Adjusted Gross Income of $58,000 or less.  Each participating company sets its own eligibility requirements and not all taxpayers will qualify for all companies.”

For more information on Free File click here.

Community-Based Tax Help

The IRS has two programs offering free basic assistance with preparing and filing income taxes–Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE).  Under both programs, many sites have language specialists to assist people with limited English skills.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) offers free tax help to people who earn less than $49,000 and most locations offer free electronic filing.  You can find your local VITA site information by calling the IRS toll-free number at (800) 906-9887 or check this partial VITA site list online. (This list does not include every VITA site.)

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly program (TCE) offers free tax help to taxpayers who are 60 and older.  As part of the TCE program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide free tax preparation program at over 7,000 sites nationwide during the filing season. Trained and certified AARP Tax-Aide volunteers provide assistance to taxpayers with low-to-moderate income, with special attention paid to those 60 and older.  For more information on TCE, call 1-800-829-1040.  To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call (888) 227-7669 or visit AARP’s website.

Talking Tax Forms

The IRS is working to make IRS tax forms and publications fully accessible and Section 508 compliant. These “speech-friendly” or “talking tax forms” work with MSAA compliant screen readers as well as Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition Software.  You can learn more about Talking Tax Forms here.

Tax Highlights for People with Disabilities

IRS Publication 907 – Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities is essential for anyone with disabilities and for parents of children with disabilities.  It covers various tax deductions, tax credits and income sources.  You’ll find Publication 907 here.

Whew!  Nothing like taxes to tie your brain in knots and work up some frustration.  So once you’ve filed your return and you turn your attention to how to spend your refund, here are a few fun ideas from Las Vegas.

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