The deadline to file your federal income tax return (April 17th) is fast approaching. The Internal Revenue Service offers free tax help by computer, telephone, and in person. Free tax preparation sites sponsored by community organizations and staffed by volunteers are also available for those who are income-eligible. Rather than turning to commercial tax preparers, whose fees can eat into your refund, here are four free and easy ways to get help:
1. IRS website
The IRS website at www.irs.gov is a one-stop shop for a wide array of tax information. You can even prepare and file your federal tax return – for free – through Free File, a service offered by IRS and its partners who offer free tax preparation software and free electronic filing. You must go through www.irs.gov to use Free File.
2. Community resources
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free tax preparation for low- to moderate-income filers. Volunteers, sponsored by various organizations, receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, and shopping malls. Some locations also offer free electronic filing. Click here to find the Oklahoma VITA site nearest you or call 1-800-906-9887. Qualified seniors (age 60 or older) can also find help at a local Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program. Visit the AARP or call 888-227-7669 for more information about the TCE program.
Call the IRS Tax Help Line for Individuals, 800-829-1040, to get answers to your federal tax questions, to hear pre-recorded messages covering various tax topics or to check the status of your refund, call 800-829-4477. To order free forms, instructions and publications, call 800-829-3676. TTY/TDD users may call 800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or to order forms and publications.
4. Taxpayer Assistance Centers
If you want to meet with someone for face-to-face assistance with your tax filing, click here to find the Taxpayer Assistance Center location that is nearest you. No appointment is necessary – just walk in with your tax records and someone will be available to assist you. If you have an ongoing, complex tax account problem or a special need, such as a disability, an appointment may be requested.