Tax help Feed

Before COVID-19 (remember that far back?), VITA volunteers operated in more open spaces, like here at this United Way location in Florida. The tax volunteers are still helping, but most now do so via one-on-one appointments. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented myriad challenges as far as taxes. Most notable is the backlog of tax documents the Internal Revenue Service still is working to clear. They started piling up when, as a pandemic precaution in 2020, the IRS closed most of its offices. But the coronavirus also created numerous difficulties for taxpayers just trying to send their returns to the IRS.... Read more →


Photo by Michael Burrows Millions of Americans send tax return to the Internal Revenue Service every year. It's a good bet that a lot of them are first-time filers. Dealing with the IRS, even in a routine manner like sending in a completed Form 1040, can be intimidating, even for veteran taxpayers. For newbies, the task also can be overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be. These eight steps can help a novice taxpayer successfully make it through their first filing season, and maybe even get a bit of money back. 1. Get organized. This is a habit that will... Read more →


Being a bit pokey can sometimes pay off at tax filing time. (Photo by Kay Bell) My husband and I have a lot in common. We also are a lot different. I tend to obsessiveness, wanting to take care of things as soon as I can. The hubby, on the other hand, is more deliberative. Unless it absolutely has to be done immediately, he's OK with waiting. And waiting and waiting. We've managed to make out differing approaches work. And I must admit that sometimes, he's right to put off projects. Not always, but sometimes. Situations change, making moot what... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service won't start processing 2022 tax returns until Jan. 23, but you still can file before then. And if your adjusted gross income last year was $73,000 or less you can file for free at Free File. If you use a search engine to find free tax filing, you'll likely discover other options. You'll also probably get such offers in your email box. But the only official, IRS-sanctioned Free File option is the one on its website. To get there, type Free File in the search box at the upper right of IRS.gov. That search result will... Read more →


Nothing ever disappears on the internet. Even, or especially, tax related posts. Take the bad legal take on taxes that tops this post. It was retweeted on Sunday (Dec. 11) by, you guessed it, Bad Legal Takes. But there's no indication of when Dave Champion originally blasted out his bad tax advice. It might have been before he was barred by a federal court in 2012 from promoting a tax fraud scheme. Or maybe he's back, since this Tweet apparently went up in October. His books also are still for sale online. Either way, that item this weekend spurred a... Read more →


Everyone who helps fellow taxpayers, regardless of language, makes a real-life difference. So here's also a look at some of those who do that as VITA and TCE volunteers. Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash Back in October, the Internal Revenue Service announced it had awarded $41 million in grants to 348 programs that help U.S. taxpayers complete their annual federal tax returns. These groups sponsor Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs, where low-to-moderate income and elderly filers can get free tax prep help and e-filing. Even before the sites were announced, the... Read more →


Regardless of what prompts an IRS examination, aka an audit, take advantage of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights guarantee that you can get professional help to get you through the process. Photo by SHVETS Production In an expected follow-up to reports that Donald J. Trump, while in the Oval Office, wanted the Internal Revenue Service to audit his perceived foes, a House tax writing committee member is asking for an investigation into the former president. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-New Jersey), who chairs the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee until the next GOP-controlled House is sworn in, wrote the Attorney General... Read more →


Tyle Perry working on one of his many productions. (Facebook photo) Most of us would celebrate getting a $9 million refund from the Internal Revenue Service. But then, most of us aren't billionaire media mogul and philanthropist Tyler Perry. When an IRS audit resulted in Uncle Sam handing over the multimillions, Perry fired his accounting team. "I'll let you make a million mistakes, but you can't do the same thing over and over again. That's how I run my business. Here's the mistake. Let's fix it; let's move forward," Perry told the audience at a recent Earn Your Leisure Conference.... Read more →


If you've put off your tax filing until this last weekend before the absolutely final extended tax deadline of Oct. 17, don't panic. You've still got a little bit of time to do the tax job right. Image courtesy National Taxpayer Advocate Tax Day for ultra-procrastinators is just days away. Monday, Oct. 17, to be precise. There's no way to make up for lost tax time on this final filing weekend. But these 8 last-minute extended filing tips plus one for next filing season can help you finally get the job done on time. 1. Get your tax documents in... Read more →


Don't look now, but tax filing season is just three months away. The Internal Revenue Service is working on getting ready, both staff and system wide, for the influx of 2022 tax returns in 2023. The agency also is counting on its usual cadre of volunteers to help filers meet their tax obligations. To do that, the IRS has awarded $41 million in grants to 348 groups that support Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. Nationwide help sites: VITA and TCE sites are nationwide, and offer tax preparation and filing help to underserved... Read more →


If you must have follow-up discussions with the Internal Revenue Service, one of the rights guaranteed under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights is the option to hire an authorized representative. That can be anyone, from a relative to a paid tax professional. However, in some cases, your representative must be authorized to practice before the IRS. You also need to make sure to officially designate your chosen tax representative, or as it's known in tax-speak, third-party authorization. That's done by filing a written declaration with the IRS — Form 2848 (more on this later) can be used here — stating... Read more →


You have lots of choices when it comes to helping your neighbors and community. There's even an option if taxes are of particular interest to you. Hey, it happens. You are, after all, reading my tax blog right now. If that's you, then the Internal Revenue Service wants you to fill up your free time by helping people prepare and file their tax returns next year. The IRS and its community partners are recruiting people to be a part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs during the coming 2023 tax season.... Read more →


June 14, 2022, at 6:45 a.m. That's the precise point from which the Internal Revenue Service will never be the same. Darren Guillot, IRS Deputy Commissioner of Small Business/Self Employed Collection & Operations Support, offered that assessment today in announcing the agency's expansion of artificial intelligence voice bots. That date and time was when the agency flipped the switch on so-called authenticated voice bots. This new artificial intelligence system can complete more elaborate tax paying tasks for taxpayers. More importantly, it allows taxpayers using the bots to avoid the hold times they would have faced if they called an IRS... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service says that it is "opening mail within normal timeframes and all paper and electronic individual refund returns received prior to April 2021 have been processed if the return had no errors or did not require further review." That's the good news. The not-so-good news is that as of May 14, the IRS also reports on its mission-critical web page that "we had 9.8 million unprocessed individual returns which include returns received before 2022." But the agency also has a bit more good news if you're still waiting on a refund based on your tax year 2021... Read more →


With Tax Day over, most U.S. taxpayers are done with their annual Internal Revenue Service interaction. Some, however, are dealing with non-filing issues. For those who need help resolving those tax matters, the IRS is opening some Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) doors across the United States for one more Saturday. This coming one. May 14. TACs in 24 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, will be open and offering face-to-face help from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (local time) on Saturday. Unlike other TAC sessions that require weekday appointments, there's no need for such scheduling on May 14... Read more →


It didn't take much to convince the hubby and me to put on some going-out-in-public clothes today and head out to vote early. A couple of property tax reduction questions were on our local ballot. Sure, we would have done our civic duty anyway, but those proposals that would help reduce homeowners' real estate taxes definitely are a get-out-the-vote driver. More valuable homes, bigger tax bills: Here in Texas, as in many other places across the United States, home values have skyrocketed. We learned just how much when we got our latest notice a couple of weeks ago from the... Read more →


Most U.S. taxpayers made it through Tax Day 2022. They either filed their 1040 forms, or they got an extension to submit their returns by Oct. 17. The Internal Revenue Service reported that by April 15, which usually is the annual filing deadline, but was pushed to the next business day by Washington, D.C.'s Emancipation Day holiday, it had received more than 122.5 million returns. That's around 73 percent of the people who filed in 2020 and 2021, when filings exceeded historical averages. The count was higher those years because people who normally weren't required to send in a return... Read more →


If you've put off your tax filing until this last week before Tax Day, don't panic. You've still got time to do the tax job right. Tax Day is one week away! Yeah, I know. Not really a reason for celebrating, especially if you're just now tackling your taxes. There's no way to make this final tax filing week festive. However, these 10 last-minute filing tips can help you get the job done by the April 18 deadline. 1. Determine whether you need to file. Most Americans who earn money, be it through full-time jobs or self-employment or investment income,... Read more →


Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels Millions of taxpayers and buckling down to complete their 2021 tax returns by April 18. Some, however, might want to also mark April 9 on their calendars. It's the third Saturday in this filing season where certain Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Assistance Centers will be open. That day, 40 IRS TACs in 24 states, as well as offices in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, will be open for in-person guidance. Normally, TACs are only open by appointment on weekdays. But on Saturday, April 9, taxpayers don't have to make an appointment. TAC... Read more →


TAP members grace the cover of the federal advisory panel's 2021 Annual Report. As the annual tax filing (and payment) deadline nears, complaints about the process increase. It's a natural reaction to the frustration of dealing with our complex tax code, especially these last three years that have been complicated by COVID-created deadline changes, delays, and new laws. Some folks, however, want to do more than grumble. They want to be a part of making the tax system better. They are the volunteer members of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, or TAP. And that group now has some new members. 2022... Read more →


No-cost help fulfilling our annual tax-filing obligations has always been a better slogan than a reality. We are just about three weeks away from Tax Day 2022. This is our third consecutive coronavirus-tinge tax filing season, but things seem (fingers crossed!) to be going relatively well. As of March 18, the Internal Revenue Service had received more than 72 million returns. Almost 70 million of those 1040s arrived electronically. The IRS doesn't break out in its regular filing season statistics how many of the e-filings were submitted by users of its Free File option. That number, however, is likely to... Read more →