As tax season approaches, learn more about free options to help you file your taxes. Unsplash

NEW YORK CITY - It is no secret that filing taxes can be a daunting and difficult task. From knowing what forms you need to fill out to figuring out what documents to present and also what sort of tax credits you may be eligible for, the intricacies of tax filing are many.

That is why it is usually advised to get help from professionals who can guide you and make suggestions as to what options are available to you depending on your specific case.

Although legal and financial services are more often than not expensive, it doesn't necessarily have to be. In fact, you may be able to find free help filing taxes in your area through a variety of different free programs.

Here's what you should know.

What is the importance of proper tax filing

Proper tax filing is important for a variety of reasons.

The first one is that it is one way to make sure you are complying with the law. Filing your taxes accurately and on time ensures you are in good standing with the government, failure to do so can result in penalties, fines or even legal action by tax authorities.

For the filer, you may be able to claim any tax refund you may be eligible for, which can provide a significant financial boost and help you recoup overpaid taxes. At the same time, accurate tax filing builds trust and credibility with tax authorities, which can be beneficial if you're ever audited or need to resolve tax-related issues.

For the community, since taxes are a primary source of revenue for governments at all levels, proper filing ensures that you're contributing your fair share to support essential public services such as infrastructure, education, healthcare, social welfare programs and more.

Where to find free help filing taxes

Here are some free programs and free tax assistance services you should be aware of.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

The IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a free program that offers free tax assistance as well as basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals.

VITA sites offer free help filing taxes to people who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns, including:

  • People who generally make $64,000 or less
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers

The VITA program is not only free, but it is also highly recommended to the IRS to those qualifying individuals. VITA sites are operated by IRS partners and staffed by volunteers. These volunteers provide free tax assistance and are often retired people associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

For more information, click here.

Community tax clinics

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC) assist low income individuals who have a tax dispute with the IRS, and provide education and outreach to individuals who speak English as a second language.

LITCs are independent from the IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), they represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve tax problems with the IRS.

LITCs provide free tax assistance to taxpayers, including audits, appeals, collection matters and federal litigation.

Learn more about these community tax clinics here.

IRS Direct File

If you live in one of the 12 pilot states, you can directly file your 2023 federal tax return online for free.

You may be eligible for this service if you live in one of these pilot states: Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington state or Wyoming.

Find out more about this service here.

You can also use the IRS Free File Program, a public-private partnership between the IRS and many tax preparation and filing software industry companies that provide free tax assistance and free help filing taxes. This free program provides two ways for taxpayers to prepare and file their federal income tax online for free:

  • Guided Tax Software: provides free online tax preparation and filing at an IRS partner site. Taxpayers whose adjusted gross income, AGI, is $79,000 or less qualify for a free federal tax return.
  • Free File Fillable Forms: electronic federal tax forms, equivalent to a paper 1040 form. It provides a free option to taxpayers whose income (AGI) is greater than $79,000.

Find out more about this option here.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly

Similar to the VITA program the Tax Counseling for the Elderly, TCE, as its name suggests offers free tax assistance for elder taxpayers.

This program specifically focuses on questions about pensions and retirement-related issues. It offers free help filing taxes and free tax assistance to all taxpayers, but it targets more specifically those who are 60 or older.

Just like VITA, TCE sites are operated by IRS partners and staffed by volunteers.

Learn more about this program here.

Pro Bono Tax Help

If these services are not convenient for you, there are other Pro Bono programs that can help you get free help filing taxes. To find them, contacting your local bar association or one of your state's nonprofit associations might be a good place to start. or LegalMatch lets you search by state, province, or city for attorneys specializing in your legal issue.

For more information on these opportunities, click here.

The Bottom Line

Although tax season and filing taxes may be a daunting (and perhaps even expensive) task. From tax credits, to documents and figuring out what forms to fill out, tax season can be confusing and frustrating. But this doesn't have to be your case.

From volunteering programs, to tax clinics, there are many options available for you that can get you your tax returns for free.

It is always important to consult your case with professional help, for more information, click here.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.