Although April 15th may be viewed as the time when Mother Nature ushers in the coming of spring, the working mind associates it with “Tax Day.” This is the most common tax deadline. To ensure that you get your refund or submit what you owe on time, it is imperative to file your taxes well in advance and in a stress free manner. Rather than spending money on tax preparing software, accountants and expensive online tax services, it is possible to file your taxes for free by a professional.
Skill Level: Moderate
Requirements: All W2, 1098 and 1099 forms, Photo ID, Social Security Card, Blank Check, Child Care Costs and Provider Info, Itemized List of Deductions, Last Year’s Tax Forms (optional).
Step 1: Meet the minimum income requirements. Most free tax services require that you or your family earn $49,000 or less. This figure may vary depending on type of service offered and state that you reside in.
Step 2: Locate a free tax service. Check with local libraries, churches and community centers in your town. Type “Free tax assistance in (your state)” in Google. These services can start as early as January. However, they may not provide assistance on or a day before the final day. So be sure not to wait till the last minute to file.
Step 3: Choose a day. Obtain a calendar or schedule of where and when the tax services will be held. Appointments are not usually necessary because it is most likely a walk-in service. Dedicate a morning to completing your taxes because this assistance is commonly done between 9:00 AM and 12:00.
Step 4: Do it. Arrive extra early to avoid a long wait. Sign in if necessary. Complete a form with your personal and financial information if required. Wait until your name is called or an empty seat is available.
Step 5: Begin. Present your ID, social security card, completed personal information form, W2’s and other tax forms, last year’s taxes (optional), student loan forms, child care forms, deductions and anything else that is necessary for this year’s taxes.
Step 6: Wait. Answer any questions that the tax assistant brings up and make sure all information is correct. This includes address changes and deductions.
Step 7: Receive your refund or pay what you owe. Present a voided blank check if you wish to receive your refund via direct deposit. Pay using the appropriate method if you owe the government any money. It may take several weeks for you to receive your refund via direct deposit and much longer if sent via snail mail. Save this year’s tax forms and use it for next year.
Tips: Make sure your deductions are accurate. Include gas, utilities and anything that went towards your income.
You have the option to cancel the tax service at anytime if you are unsatisfied.
References: Tax topics – Itemized Deductions
Free Tax Preparation