A:

Most of us will shy away from doing our own tax returns, especially if it involves reporting capital gains or losses, education expenses or deducting interest paid on mortgages, and we prefer to have it done by tax experts.

If you fall into this tax-return category, but you can't afford to get your taxes done by an expert, see these IRS aids:

  • The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, under which free tax assistance is provided to individuals who are unable to afford professional services. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations, many of which also offer free electronic filing.
  • Tax counseling for the elderly, which provides free tax help to people age 60 and older.

Those brave enough to tackle the tax task, regardless of the level of complexity, can forge ahead and find out what they need to file their own returns. If you are one those individuals who like the challenge of foraging through all the tax laws and caveats, you may find these resources provided by the IRS helpful. These include the following:

  • Tax education and assistance programs, where the IRS provides free assistance with preparing tax returns. Assistance is provided by volunteers who are trained by individuals or businesses in partnership with the IRS.
  • Small business tax workshops, where small business owners can learn more about their tax responsibilities.
  • Free IRS publications and tax forms by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676)
  • Braille Tax Material, which may be ordered at no charge by calling the IRS at 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). The Braille print files are in .brf format and can be sent directly to an embosser for high-quality Braille output.

To learn more about these programs, call the IRS at 1-800- 829-1040. And unless you are an expert tax preparer yourself, it may be wise to have the tax return you prepared reviewed by an expert tax preparer.

To read more frequently asked tax questions, see How do I avoid paying excess taxes on securities I have sold?, How can I make sure I'm ready to file my taxes? and Which is better for tax deductions, itemization or a standard deduction?

Question answered by Denise Appleby, CISP, CRC, CRPS, CRSP, APA

RELATED FAQS
  1. Are dividends considered passive or ordinary income?

    Despite the fact that earning dividends requires no active participation on the part of the shareholder, they do not meet ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Are spousal Social Security benefits taxable?

    Your spousal Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on your total household income for the year. About one-third ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do you calculate penalties on an IRA or Roth IRA early withdrawal?

    With a few exceptions, early withdrawals from traditional or Roth IRAs generally incur a tax penalty equal to 10% of the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are credit card rewards taxable?

    Credit card rewards are taxable in the United States some of the time. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies credit ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Are Social Security benefits taxable after age 62?

    Eligibility to collect Social Security benefits begins at age 62. Many seniors, to collect larger benefit amounts, wait until ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are the best free online calculators for calculating my taxable income?

    Free online calculators for determining your taxable income are located at Bankrate.com, TaxACT.com and Moneychimp.com. Determining ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    Understanding Taxes on Life Insurance Premiums

    Learn about the tax implications of life insurance premiums, including when they might be taxable and whether they are tax deductible.
  2. Taxes

    What IRS Form 990 Tells About a Nonprofit

    Want a picture of an organization's activities? This annual form, open to the public, sums up everything from salaries paid to missions accomplished.
  3. Taxes

    What IRS Form 1023 Is Used For

    To be treated as a tax-exempt organization, start by filling out this form.
  4. Taxes

    Late with Your Taxes? Grab IRS Form 4868

    Fill out this form to get a few more months to file your tax return. But remember, April 15 is still the payment due date if you owe taxes.
  5. Taxes

    What IRS Form 8949 Is For

    Selling a painting or that lake property? Disposing of your fossil fuel stocks? You need to know about this IRS form.
  6. Economics

    The Problem With Today’s Headline Economic Data

    Headwinds have kept the U.S. growth more moderate than in the past–including leverage levels and an aging population—and the latest GDP revisions prove it.
  7. Taxes

    What's Wrong with the American Tax System

    American's are highly taxed and we still run a deficit. We explain why.
  8. Professionals

    Advisors: Warn Clients About These Audit Triggers

    There are several factors that may increase the risk of an audit, especially with high-net-worth clients.
  9. Retirement

    Top Tips for Minimizing Taxes on Social Security

    Social Security benefits are taxable under certain circumstances. Here are some ways retirees can lessen the tax burden.
  10. Taxes

    Employers: Don't Forget IRS Form 941

    Your obligations as an employer include various employment taxes. Use this form to report them.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Duty Free

    Goods that international travelers can purchase without paying ...
  2. Tax Deductible Interest

    A borrowing expense that a taxpayer can claim on a federal or ...
  3. Deferred Tax Asset

    A deferred tax asset is an asset on a company's balance sheet ...
  4. Form 8949

    An Internal Revenue Service form implemented in tax year 2011 ...
  5. Buffett Rule

    A tax rule proposed in 2011, by President Barack Obama, stating ...
  6. Substitute Return

    A tax filing that the IRS will create for a taxpayer in order ...

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!