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UWGC NEWS

February 14, 2020

4 Ways to Get Your Taxes Done for Free

Want to save a few hundred of dollars this spring? Prepare your taxes for free.   

Even if you aren’t a typical “DIYer” there are many programs that help you prepare your taxes for free instead of paying someone to prepare and file them for you. Average Americans spend more than $250 each year of tax preparation and filing fees. For some, that expense can mean the difference from paying down a credit card, having money in an emergency savings account, or getting a car repaired.  

So, before you spend several hundred dollars on a fee-based service, check out these three free (and professional) alternatives. Depending on whether your tax situation and income meet qualifications, you might be eligible for these free programs:   

1. United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Free Tax Prep Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Sites  

This free IRS-sponsored program (VITA) uses trained, professional volunteers to help taxpayers complete basic state and federal tax returns.   

Who’s eligible: Generally, low to moderate taxpayers, those on fixed incomes, with disabilities and people with limited English-language abilities are eligible for free tax preparation and filing. United Way of Greater Cincinnati supports more than 30 different locations; find locations and learn about your eligibility by calling 2-1-1- or visiting www.makeworkpay.com.    

Free Tax Prep


2. Self-prep at a Free Tax Prep Site  

“Self-prep” is an alternative to having your return filed by a trained VITA volunteer. Some Free Tax Prep sites host “facilitated self assistance”. This means you prepare and file your own basic state and federal tax forms using web-based tax software and with help from a tax coach, who is an IRS-certified volunteer. The option is available at VITA locations that list “Self-Prep” in the site listing.   

Call 2-1-1 to learn more or visit www.uwgc.org/freetaxprep to find a site near you.   

3. MyFreeTaxes.com (A partnership of United Way and H&R Block)  

MyFreeTaxes.com is a United Way program that offers free tax help using H&R Block software. The software guides you through the return and there’s additional help available through answers to common questions.    

Who’s eligible: MyFreeTaxes is completely free to individuals & families, regardless of income, unless you need to file a Schedule C, Schedule D, Schedule E or HSA documents. So, if you have anticipate receiving a 1099-MISC form from any employment in 2019, own rental profits or need to report a capital gain/ loss, you may not be eligible.   

4. IRS Free File  

Lastly, if you are a true DIY person and want to prepare your taxes on your own, Free File is a partnership between the IRS and makers of commercial tax-preparation software participating in the IRS Free File program. Depending on your level of income, eligible taxpayers get free use of one of the following:  

  • Free File, secure, free brand-name tax preparation software that includes help with state returns.  

  • Free File fillable forms. State tax preparation is not included. 

Who’s eligible: If your income is below a specific level, you qualify to use the Free File tax preparation software. If your income is above that amount, you are limited to using the free, fillable, electronic versions of paper tax forms. These forms will do your tax math for you, but you only receive basic guidance. Visit https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/ to learn more and search for free resources.   

Adapted from https://www.moneytalksnews.com/tax-hacks-2017-7-ways-get-your-taxes-done-for-free/ 

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