Springtime is here. Rain showers are watering the beautiful trees and flowers as they bloom (in most parts of the country at least) and taxpayers are stressing over the complicated process of filing their yearly taxes. It is no secret that tax time causes over the counter acetaminophen sales to soar higher than any other time of the year.
You’re Not Alone This Tax Season
If filing your taxes is making your head hurt, you might want to seek some professional assistance. You may be thinking, “sure, more money I have to pay.” But, that’s not always the case.
There are several programs that offer free tax help; you just have to know how to get it. No need to worry, though. Here are some tips on how to obtain free professional tax assistance so you can stress less this time of year and maximize your tax return.
As a well-known tax preparation provider, H&R Block offers free tax assistance to filers who meet specific guidelines. You must be filing a 1040EZ tax return. These returns are submitted by those who make less than $100,000 a year, are single or married, have dependents and no mortgage interest deductions. You can file with H&R block online using their tax preparation software or visit an office close to you.
IRS Free File
The IRS provides free online tax help to about 70 percent of eligible taxpayers. You qualify to file with the IRS Free File if your taxable income is less than $66,000 a year. This tool is best for families and individuals who are completing their own taxes rather than letting someone else do it for them. The IRS Free File tax preparation tool has filed more than 51 million returns in the 16 years it’s been offered.
AARP Foundation-Tax Aide
This free tax preparation program has helped over 50 million taxpayers successfully file their taxes. The program assists low to moderate income level families file their taxes entirely for free. They don’t require you to be an AARP member, and there is no age limit. You can begin submitting your taxes with an IRS certified volunteer February first each year.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
This federal program is geared towards assisting elderly citizens to file their taxes for free with IRS certified VITA volunteers. You must be an older American citizen with a low to moderate yearly taxable income less than $54,000. VITA also helps those with disabilities and limited English language skills.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
If you’re aged 60 or above, you could qualify for free tax preparation assistance through IRS certified volunteers. The AARP Foundation operates most TCE programs. You can get live help in person or file online using the tax preparation software.
MilTax Filing Service
If you are a member of the United States military, Military One Source provides a free filing service just for you called MilTax. The software provided by the Department of Defense allows you to take command of your taxes by securely e-filing your return. The program gears toward military life, so you automatically get all the savings you earned. While designed to do on your own, there is a 24-hour phone line you can call to receive immediate assistance with any questions that may surface during the process.
DIY Tax Software
In this day and age, software programs are becoming more common than ever. There are free do-it-yourself tax preparation systems designed for your computer. File your taxes on the couch in your pajamas with software like Turbotax, Tax Act, Credit Karma Tax, Tax Slayer Simply Free, DIY Tax, and more. These software programs make tax time easier than ever with the simplicity of securely e-filing on your own time for free.
Local Tax Professionals
If you desire to file your taxes in person rather than through an online software program, you can find help from certified tax professional volunteers in your area. Over 90 percent of tax professionals and accountants offer free consultations to filers for questions they may have. They also assist in determining if the filer should file on their own or with help from a professional.
How Homes for Heroes Can Help You
After you’ve filed your taxes, use the extra money you saved to get that new home you’ve had your eye on and get your Hero Rewards check from Homes for Heroes.
Firefighters, law enforcement, military (active, reserve and veterans), healthcare workers, EMS and teachers receive a much-deserved hero rewards when buying, selling, or refinancing a home. Let us connect you to a local Homes for Heroes affiliate real estate specialist(s) in your area to walk you through the process, answer your questions and put on the road to a new home and a significant check from Homes for Heroes.