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Truly Free Tax Prep

The holiday season is pretty far behind us now, but for me this is one of my favorite seasons of the year. Call me crazy, but I love tax time. I volunteer every year helping people understand how to read their credit reports while they wait for their taxes to be done for free! (Where you may ask: see the first resource listed)

In the spirit of sharing helpful resources, here are some great ones to help you get the most out of your tax refund and tax preparation.

VITA sites

If you made less than $49,000 last year, then you are eligible for free tax preparation at a VITA site. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites are located conveniently nationwide and are staffed by people trained and certified to prepare taxes. If you have a low income, then the tax preparer will also help you receive the earned income tax credit (EITC) which will add money to your tax refund. In Boston, for example, millions of dollars are left unclaimed by eligible tax payers because they don’t know about it.

Learn more about VITA sites, what documents you need to bring, and a list of locations nationwide at IRS.gov. Many sites also offer different financial services and asset building programs for those in need (aka how to get your finances straight and start building wealth).

IRS Customer Service

Many people have a fear of the IRS. Sure, they collect your taxes, but they’ll also help you through the process. You just have to use them as a resource. They are actually very helpful and FRIENDLY and you should not be intimidated or afraid to talk to them. I usually am smiling by the time I get off the phone with one of them.

Here is a list of ways to contact the IRS for assistance. (This comes straight from their Contact Us web page)

Telephone Assistance for Individuals:
Toll-Free, 1-800-829-1040
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).

Telephone Assistance for Businesses:
Toll-Free, 1-800-829-4933
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).

Telephone Assistance for Exempt Organizations, Retirement Plan Administrators, and Government Entities:
Toll-Free, 1-877-829-5500
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday,  7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time.

Telephone Assistance for people with hearing impairments:
Toll-Free 1-800-829-4059 (TDD)
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).
For further information, see Tax Topic 102.

Telephone Assistance for Individuals who believe they may be a victim of Identify Theft: No Tax Administration Impact – Did not receive a notice from the IRS. Toll-Free 1-800-908-4490 (Automated and live assistance)
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time). For additional information, refer to our Identity Theft and Your Tax Records page.

Telephone Assistance for people who live outside the United States
Hours of availability vary by location. Please see our International Services page.

Face-to-Face Assistance
In certain areas, IRS also has local offices you may visit to receive assistance.

Whew! Don’t you feel assisted already just reading all those resources?

ABOUT AUTHOR / Andi

Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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