Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Free Help Filling Out Your Taxes

It's tax time, and despite the delays in tax forms rolling out (due to the long congressional negotiations on taxes), there are some things that are holding steady.  One is the availability of free help in filling out taxes for low to moderate income people. For people making $49,000 or less a year, you may be eligible to have your taxes completed by volunteers through the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance).  The service is offered at more than 7,000 sites around the country, and can be found at this site.  And don't be shy about calling your local public library to see if there are more where you live--many may have sprung up after this listing was compiled.  Find your nearest site and make an appointment, and bring all the paperwork described at the website.  Or call 1-800-906-9887 for more on the program.  As noted on the site, there is also tax help available for the elderly, and for military personnel. AARP also provides free tax return work.  You can find a location near you here.   In Toledo, you can see these free  VITA tax sites for 2011.

For more places that can help with your taxes in several states (Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania), see the Benefit Bank.   Put in your zip code, and it shows you places where you can sit down with someone one on one and find out about benefits, and where you can get tax filing help.  These people are especially trained to help low-income people get the most out of their tax return.    See this site for free tax preparation for military members and the elderly, too.  

And remember the biggest tax friend that many low and moderate income earners will ever have: the Earned Income Credit.  One of the good things about the tax compromise in December is that some generous EIC benefits have been extended.  If you are a lower-income working person with more than 1 eligible child, you definitely need to check your eligibility here.  But you don't necessarily have to have children to be eligible.  But you should check it out!

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