Getting your taxes filed can be a lot like living in the wild, wild West! Pricing ranges from free to “take out a loan” with little to no help in sorting out your filing questions and options. Being knowledgeable and frugal is the best way to get tax help with little to no cost, or risk. We’ll start you out with 6 tips, tricks, and hacks for both saving money on tax filing as well as finding a helping hand if needed.
- File Yourself: Why pay someone to file for you when you can do it yourself online with H&R Block, Turbotax or TaxAct? They offer intuitive walk through’s and options including audit risk analysis. We’ll sweeten the pot with coupons for three of the names you’ll recognize, up to 40% off:
- 40% Off H&R Block Tax Filing – What a sweet discount, enough said. They currently also have a bonus of up to 10% added to your refund if you qualify.
- 10% Off TurboTax – Depending which filing you pick, this can save you a bundle. They tout 100% accurate calculations and your maximum refund, guaranteed.
- 15% Off TaxAct – Free real-time refund tracking and free email help are nice bonus features of TaxAct.
- Free Tax Filing for 1040EZ Simple Returns & Students: First of all if you have a simple tax situation and only file the 1040EZ form many of the professional online tax companies will file your federal return for free, it’s self filed but they walk you through a wizard that asks you all the appropriate questions making it quite straight forward for most. You may try these:
- H&R Block – Free federal filing, free unlimited tax advice and e-file too.
- TurboTax – Free federal and state taxes for a limited time for simple 1040EZ/A filers and students. Not sure how long this will last, so take advantage of it as usually the state is $9.99 even with a free federal tax filing.
- TaxAct – Free for both federal and state at the time of this article for those filing the simple 1040EZ and students. TaxAct is very reasonably priced and great for basic tax scenarios.
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance: The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) is an IRS sponsored program that uses trained tax volunteers to help you complete basic state and federal tax returns. Those earning $54,000 or less a year, the elderly, the disabled and otherwise challenged, and those with difficulty speaking English generally qualify. For more resources:
- Use their online locator tool to find out when and where to get free VITA tax preparation help and whether an appointment is necessary or walk ins are welcomed – Call 800-906-9887.
- “Self-prep” is an alternative. You prepare and file your own basic state and federal tax forms using Web-based tax software and with help from an IRS-certified volunteer. Check online or by phone for locations offering self-preparation.
- List of What to Bring with you.
- Tax Counseling for the Elderly: The Tax Counseling for the Elderly program (TCE) is a group of IRS-certified volunteers providing free tax preparation to older taxpayers. While it is geared towards those that are 60 or older, it actually offers free assistance to all taxpayers, but they do specialize in specialize in pensions and retirement related tax issues.
- Audit Protection: you’ll want to choose a tax professional is going to show up for you in the event you get tagged for an audit. Not all tax preparers can represent you in an IRS audit, so be sure to ask up front how far they are willing to go if this should occur. Even if you don’t get audited you still want to know your preparer is going to be around AFTER April 16. Online tax preparing services, like H&R Block, TaxAct and TurboTax all offer various levels of audit protection, some included and others an extra cost that you add on once you finalize and pay for your taxes to be filed. Regardless of whether you plan on DIY taxes or will be hiring a pro, we suggest you consider audit protection in the package.
- Free IRS Resources: Last but not least, though they are big brother and the reason we are going through all this they do provide some resources as follows:
- Visit a local office — Office Locator to find one nearest you.
- Call the IRS for help: 800-829-1040.
- Search IRS.gov for tax forms and publications, or find answers using Frequently Asked Questions.
- See IRS information on preparing and filing tax returns.
- Find details on IRS electronic filing (e-file).
- Here’s advice on how to choose a tax professional.
Hope you enjoy your new found savings on tax filing. Additionally, check out our article on saving on gas at the pump:
Until next time, enjoy your online shopping and remember to “Shop Happy”.
The EdealsEtc.com Team!
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