tax advice

Four Places for Free Tax Help and Free Tax Preparation: IRS Publication 910

Gathering all your tax records together and figuring out whether you owe money or will collect money at tax season is stressful enough.

But chances are your blood pressure might rise a few points if you also have to think about paying a big bill to a tax specialist or your CPA.

Fortunately, many Americans – including those earning less than $42,000 and military members and their families – can get free tax help from a variety of IRS approved sources.

To decrease your stress at tax time, and keep your wallet in tact in the process, the IRS itself offers free assistance for taxpayers by computer, telephone and in person.

Additionally, the IRS wants you to know about four great ways you can get help in filing your federal income tax return.

IRS Website The IRS website at http://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 make available free tax preparation software and free electronic filing. But you must go through IRS.gov to use Free File. Have some tax questions? Check out 1040 Central on the Individuals page for the latest news. You can even track your refund with Where’s My Refund?.

Taxpayer Assistance Centers When you believe your tax issue cannot be handled online or by phone and you want face-to-face assistance, you can find help at a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. Locations, business hours and an overview of services are available at IRS.gov.

Just go to the Individuals tab and click on the link for Contact My Local Office in the left tool bar section under IRS Resources.

Community Resources Free tax preparation is available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs in many communities.

Volunteer return preparation programs provided through IRS and its partners offer free help in preparing simple tax returns for low-to-moderate-income taxpayers. For a list of the 2011 VITA sites you can visit IRS.gov, or call 800-906-9887. You may also call AARP — the largest TCE participant — at 888-227-7669 (888-AARPNOW) or access www.aarp.org to find the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site.

Telephone 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 check on the status of your refund, call 800-829-4477. TTY/TDD users may call 800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or to order forms and publications. To order free forms, instructions and publications call 800-829-3676.

If you have more questions about getting the free services provided by the IRS, read Publication 910, IRS Guide to Free Tax Services. It’s also available at no cost when you call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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