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. How can I make sure I'm ready to file my taxes?

    Whether you file your return yourself, or have it done by a tax professional, you want to make sure you include all your ... Read Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between federal and state withholding tax?

    Discover whether you can file your taxes by yourself. The three main options for tax preparation are a tax professional, ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    6 Sources For Free Tax Help

    From community-based services to free software, there are many free resources to help with your taxes.
  2. Taxes

    Tax Tips For First-Time Filers

    Here is a quick rundown on what you need to know if you're filing your taxes for the first time.
  3. Taxes

    Does Online Tax Software Really Save You Money?

    Both online tax software and tax professionals have their own set of advantages, but which one is actually better for your bottom line?
  4. Taxes

    5 State Tax Issues For When You Leave the Military

    When you're budgeting for post-military life, certain state tax issues need to be considered.
  5. Personal Finance

    3 Common Tax Questions Answered

    We clarify some rules that often puzzle taxpayers.
  6. Taxes

    Explaining Tax Returns

    A tax return is the form or forms used to file income taxes with the IRS.
  7. Taxes

    Making Sense Of The Tax Code

    If tax rules and regulations are Greek to you, read on to learn how to decipher them.
  8. Taxes

    Choosing A Tax Preparer

    There are many people and companies that can file your taxes. Find out what each has to offer, and which is right for you.
  9. Taxes

    Which Is Better? Tax Preparer or Tax Software

    Every taxpayer – and every year – is different, so here are four factors to help you decide whether a tax pro or software is best for you.
  10. Taxes

    The Most Controversial Tax Deductions

    When it comes to taxes, it's hard to make people happy but these deductions raised more than the average amount of controversy.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance - VITA

    An IRS program that utilizes volunteers to help provide free ...
  2. Effective Tax Rate

    The average rate at which an individual or corporation is taxed. ...
  3. Tax Deductible Interest

    A borrowing expense that a taxpayer can claim on a federal or ...
  4. Tax Base

    The assessed value of a set of assets, investments or income ...
  5. Tax Season

    The time period between January 1 and April 15 of each year in ...
  6. IRS Publication 514

    A document published by the Internal Revenue Service that provides ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Free Cash Flow - FCF

    A measure of financial performance calculated as operating cash flow minus capital expenditures. Free cash flow (FCF) represents ...
  2. Leverage Ratio

    Any ratio used to calculate the financial leverage of a company to get an idea of the company's methods of financing or to ...
  3. Two And Twenty

    A type of compensation structure that hedge fund managers typically employ in which part of compensation is performance based. ...
  4. Market Capitalization

    The total dollar market value of all of a company's outstanding shares. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying ...
  5. Expense Ratio

    A measure of what it costs an investment company to operate a mutual fund. An expense ratio is determined through an annual ...
  6. Mezzanine Financing

    A hybrid of debt and equity financing that is typically used to finance the expansion of existing companies. Mezzanine financing ...
Trading Center