Tax season is here! We are all aware of how complicated filing your taxes can be and to ensure you get back everything you deserve, having a little help doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately, many places require a fee for their service – but there is free help out there. Below are a few organizations that will help you file your taxes at no charge.
First off, here is a list of some items you will need to bring (some requirements may vary):
- Proof of identification – Picture ID
- Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration or
- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter for you, your spouse and dependents
- Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
- Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
- Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc from all employers
- Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
- A copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available
- Proof of bank account routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit, such as a blank check
- Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number (the provider’s Social Security Number or the provider’s business Employer Identification Number) if appropriate
- To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.
- It is extremely important that each person use the correct Social Security Number. The most accurate information is usually located on your original Social Security card. If you do not have an SSN for you or a dependent, you should complete Form SS-5, Social Security Number Application. This form should be submitted to the nearest Social Security Administration Office.
If you or your dependent is not eligible to get a Social Security Number, you may need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Below are the different programs and organizations that you may be able to take advantage of:
Find a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Site Near You – Help for Low Income Individuals/Families
The VITA Program generally offers free tax help to people who make $52,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in local communities. They can inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations.
There are thousands of VITA sites located across the country. You may find a site near you between January and April using the VITA Locator Tool or call 1-800-906-9887.
Tax Counseling For The Elderly (TCE)
The TCE Program offers free tax help for all with priority assistance to people who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement issues unique to seniors. IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.
Find a TCE or AARP Tax-Aide Site Near You
A majority of the TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide Program. To locate the nearest TCE site or AARP Tax-Aide site between January and April use the AARP Site Locator Tool or call 888-227-7669.
Self-Help Tax Preparation – For Simple Returns or Those with No Computer Access
In addition to traditional face-to-face tax preparation, the IRS is offering a self-assistance service at many VITA and TCE locations. If individuals have a simple tax return and need a little help or do not have access to a computer, they can visit one of the participating tax preparation sites and an IRS-certified volunteer will guide them through the process.
Local Tax Support for Low Income Families in North Alabama
UAHuntsville, along with United Way of Madison County, will be offering free tax preparation and fast electronic filing for households earning less than $52,000 per year with one or more children or $20,000 per year without children. The free tax preparations begin mid-January. For appointments call: 1-888-99-TAX-AL (1-888-99-829-25).
There will be two locations: Optimist Recreation Center (703 Oakwood Ave, Hsv, AL 35811) and United Way of Madison County (701 Andrew Jackson Way, Hsv, AL 35801)
Local Tax Support for Military Families
The Office of the Staff Judge Advocate offers free tax assistance and electronic filing for state and federal taxes to Military Family Members.
You can call 256-840-1040 to make a reservation or ask a tax question.