How to Get Free Tax Help for Federal Income Tax

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Free help is available if tax preparation has you overwhelmed.
Free help is available if tax preparation has you overwhelmed. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Free federal tax help is a need for many people, especially since the tax system seems to become increasingly complicated. Such help is indeed available, enabling you to get your return finished quickly and accurately. After all, the sooner and more accurate your return, the sooner you can get your tax refund check.

Have your W-2, 1099 and other tax forms organized in one place. This will especially help expedite the process. Create a file folder for this year’s taxes and insert all your documentation. Also include your 1040 booklet and other tax forms for reference material.

Check out IRS.gov. The IRS offers free tax service with the added benefit that you know it comes straight from the source. The agency also provides free tax help to certain income brackets, including free tax days for taxpayers qualifying for the Earned Income Credit. Also, you may qualify for free tax help through the VITA program, available to low- to moderate-income taxpayers unable to prepare their own returns. For the nearest location, call 800-906-9887.

Call the IRS for information. The IRS wants to save itself time and money and help on the front end, thereby preventing mistakes. As a result, you can call the IRS to receive free tax help or find a local IRS branch office to schedule a face-to-face appointment.

Look for free help from tax companies. Some regularly providing paid help for federal income tax also provide free help to people meeting certain conditions. Before paying a firm to do your taxes, check out its policy for free tax help. Most have one and may help for free, if you qualify.

Meet with a CPA for free. Most CPAs will make the initial visit free. This will give you a chance to ask a tax professional your key questions. If you are familiar enough with your tax return to have your questions ready, you may get all the advice and help you need. This way, you also have a professional to turn to should you later decide to pay for tax help.

Check for a free tax help version with tax software companies. This is possible if your federal income tax return is simple and falls under a certain income limit. Since these companies design their software to be user friendly, this free tax help is also usually easy to use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Get IRS tax help by calling 1-800-829-1040 for general help or 1-800-829-3676 to receive free tax forms and directions.
  • Elderly persons often qualify for free tax help under the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. AARP has a link.
  • Universities and colleges usually offer free tax seminars to help students in filing taxes even.
  • Be sure to double check the accuracy of the return yourself. Just because you get free tax help does not remove responsibility from you.
  • See related articles above for more free tax help information.

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