User Guide for Filing for Taxes

Filing taxes can turn into a headache very quickly but hiring a CPA might not be an option because they are expensive. Fortunately, there are many ways of getting help and you do not have to sit with an accountant. Here are some options:

(VITA) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

The IRS makes this initiative possible, and it has offices all through the country. You can go to VITA if you want tips to help filing your taxes. However, to use this program, you have to make less than 54,000 dollars per year. Because the appointments fill up fast, you should schedule yours as soon as you have your documentation.

Pros

–          It is free, which makes it the best choice for low income earners.

–          A supervising volunteer who has advanced certification will be in charge of reviewing your returns.

Cons

–          Certification for a preparer is not as rigorous as for those that are in the private sector.

Free File

The Internal Revenue Service has collaborated with a few commercial tax software companies to make it possible for middle and low-income earners to have a free tax-preparation software. The program, known as Free File, lets you handle your taxes from your own home. To use this software, you should be earning 64,000 dollars or less annually.

Pros

–          Free

–          You will have guidance from professional software.

–          This software is endorsed by the IRS, which means that it is legitimate.

Cons

–          You need to have a secure internet connection, which means that it is not a good idea to use public computers.

–          You will have guidance all through the filing process, but it will vary depending on the software that you select.

If you want to use the software, the IRS has a tool that will aid you in identifying software options that are best for your state of residence or financial situation.

Commercial Tax Software

If your income does not meet the limit for Free file software, you should look into different software. Just remember that the tax software you purchase will need an internet connection as well as a secure computer. However, you should know that some software is only available for persons who earn less than 10,000 dollars.

Pros

–          Usually less expensive than storefront tax preparation

–          Offers guidance from professional software

–          Basic returns are usually free

Cons

–          State returns will cost extra.

–          Be careful when agreeing to things in the terms of service.

–          Returns such as homeownership and business income will come at a fee.

–          There might be gotcha fees in the final step.

Before purchasing anything, you should conduct your own research to figure out which software is authorized by the IRS. Instead of buying on a third-party site, you should choose to buy directly from the companies.

Storefront Tax Preparation

Although some people would like to file their own tax returns, not everybody likes doing it. Such people prefer storefront tax preparation where a human preparer can offer them assistance.

Pros

–          You do not have to pay anything until the preparer runs your numbers and gives you a quote.

–          A preparer is sure to have more experience than a VITA volunteer.

Cons

–          They are often charged by the form.

–          You might be able to find an accountant who charges less than most storefronts.

–          A preparer is a trained seasonal worker and not a CPA.

 

Finally, if you have just left your parents’ nest, you can ask them for help when filing your taxes. Their experience might come in handy for you.

 

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