TaxAlerts Tax Article
November 2015 | Written by: Charla Woods
With the holidays quickly approaching, many of us can’t help but be keenly aware that the rest of the year will fly by in no time. The year 2016 will soon be arriving and most of us will find ourselves spending the month of January boxing up decorations, making and breaking resolutions, and, unfortunately, bracing for the upcoming tax filing season.
Fortunately for us non-tax people, the IRS offers plenty of resources out there to help us prepare and get our tax returns filed in a timely manner. Here are 3 tips to help make the upcoming filing season just a little bit easier.
- Utilize the IRS website to find a trustworthy tax professional near you. While there are a variety of people licensed to prepare tax returns, not all tax preparers are the same. Each professional has different levels of education and types of expertise. Make sure to find out where their expertise lies, as well as what the costs of their services are and what those costs include. As a taxpayer, you have the right to make sure you have a preparer who will fit your needs; so, don’t hesitate to do some research before deciding on a particular firm or individual. For help finding a local tax return preparer, please visit IRS.gov and search for “IRS Tax Pro Association Partners.” You will be directed to a list of national organizations that will help you locate a variety of tax professionals near you.
- If you, or someone you know, is considered low-income, elderly, disabled, or has limited use of the English language, the IRS’s VITA program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) may just be the best option for you. VITA is a government-approved program run by IRS-certified volunteers, and taxpayers who qualify can make an appointment at their local VITA office to receive basic tax return preparation and tax counseling free of charge.
- Use Free File – an IRS program that allows taxpayers with basic tax returns and an income of $60,000 or less to prepare and file their federal tax return online at no cost. While Free File is currently closed for the rest of this calendar year, it will relaunch again in January 2016 – so be on the lookout for that!
This is only a brief overview of the many resources the Internal Revenue Service offers to taxpayers. If you’d like to read more tax tips, peruse the latest “hot” topics, or discover additional resources that may be available to you this upcoming tax season, please visit IRS.gov.