Friday, December 23, 2011

Free and Low-Cost Help With Taxes and IRS Audits and Disputes

Soon we will be gearing up to make out tax forms, or have some smart person do it for us.  The nonprofit groups that have gotten VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) grants from the feds will be gearing up to take appointments from now until the middle of April.  How do you find these places?

In many places like Toledo, you can call 211 and set up appointments after the first of the year.  In fact, at the ONE Village Financial Center in north Toledo, you can call 419-724-5640 and set up an appointment right now.  If you worked in 2011, and made less than $50,000, you are eligible for free tax preparation from United Way of Toledo. Call 211 or 1-800-650-HELP (4357) to set up an appointment.
While the final list of VITA sites and times are being created right now, when tax season comes, you can call toll-free at 1-800-906-9887 to find a location near you.  For more information, check this website.  This number will also give you the locations and times of volunteers who work on the tax returns of older people on a volunteer basis(Tax Counseling for the Elderly).  Remember to call early; VITA tax sites are often booked to the hilt early, and you may be left out.  AARP has a similar website and hotline for volunteer tax services for older Americans.  Either check the website between late January and the middle of April, or call 1-888-227-7669.

Another place to check for tax help if you live in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas is the Benefit Bank website.  Put in your zip code, and find out the places nearest to you where low and moderate income people can get free tax application help.

Besides this, there are some nonprofit organizations that offer to represent low-income people (those who make less than 250% of the poverty guidelines), in audits and disputes with the IRS.  See this webpage to find the one near you.  It has the income limits for clients they will represent in tax cases, state by state, phone numbers and cities for each location and a list of languages that they can provide translation for in the case of clients who do not speak English.

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