6 Free Tax Preparation and Filing Services
Monday, April 15 is the tax filing deadline and we are well underway into 2019’s tax season and households are preparing to file. Each year American taxpayers spend more than 2.5 billion hours, or about $100 billion on U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns. Fortunately, you can avoid these costs thanks to a growing number of free tax assistance programs. In fact, nearly 100 million people can file at no cost, yet only 3 million people do so. Below are six resources that we have compiled to help you, or a friend, receive free tax assistance this year.
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1. United Way’s MyFreeTaxes
A decade ago, United Way, one of the nation’s oldest non-profits dating back to 1887, partnered with H&R block to launch an online tool called MyFreeTaxes. The fully online tool provides free federal and state filing services to households who earned less than $66,000 in 2018. Over 1.1 million Americans have used MyFreeTaxes and this number is expected to grow since the tool now makes filing easier than ever. Simply upload a photo of your W-2 and you are ready to go on a mobile, tablet, or desktop device.
Learn more about United Amway’s program at www.myfreetaxes.com
2. Credit Karma Tax
Credit Karma, a credit monitoring leader, launched Credit Karma Tax three years ago to help individuals file federal and state returns at no cost. The online program does not have an income requirement. To use the service, an individual only needs to create a Credit Karma account, which is also completely free. The program features an Audit Defense guarantee where they will foot the bill if you get audited by the IRS. Additionally, it offers a Max Refund that will provide you with a Credit Karma gift card (up to $100) if you receive a larger refund or owe less federal taxes using a different service.
Read more about Credit Karma Tax at www.creditkarma.com/tax/
3. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
VITA is a national IRS program that provides free income tax filing services to low-income, elderly, disabled, and limited English proficient individuals. Since 1969, tens of thousands of volunteers have come together to help millions of taxpayers nationwide. These programs are typically held by community groups, accounting firms, and university accounting clubs.
Find a VITA site near you and more information at irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/
4. Tax Counseling for Elderly (TCE)
Like VITA, TCE is also an IRS program that provides free federal tax return filing. However, this program focuses on taxpayers age 60 and older. TCE’s volunteers tend to be VITA volunteers with additional expertise in tax matters such as retirement benefits. As a result, VITA sites typically provide TCE services as well.
Find a TCE site near you and more information at irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/
5. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide
The AARP’s Foundation Tax-Aide provides low- and moderate-income taxpayers with free tax preparation and filing. The program is not reserved for AARP members and welcomes individuals of all ages. Over its 50 years of services, the organization has served more than 50 million taxpayers. Today, the organization has nearly 35,000 volunteers at 5,000 locations nationwide.
Get more information and a list of Tax-Aide locations at www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide/
6. Free File
Free File is an IRS program that allows you to file your federal and state taxes with free brand-name software (i.e. TurboTax and H&R Block). To qualify, taxpayers must have an income below $66,000. If your income exceeds that amount, the program provides free fillable forms and basic tax guidance.
Find a list of free tax prep software at apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/
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