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 →


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 →


When folks call the IRS for help, they often get the feeling that this 1914 switchboard is how the agency is operating its telephone hot lines. Now, however, the IRS has integrated voice and chat bots in the hopes it will help both taxpayers and IRS staff. (Photo courtesy Library of Congress) Would you rather wait on hold to talk to an Internal Revenue Service representative, or use an automated service? Most of us already deal with online apps and phone menus instead of human contact for much of our financial lives. The IRS is counting on that familiarly to... Read more →


Photo by Kevin Bidwell from Pexels Need in-person help with a tax issue? Then mark your calendar for Saturday, March 12. That day, 36 Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Assistance Centers in 24 states and the District of Columbia will be open for in-person guidance. You don't have to make an appointment. TAC staff will welcome walk-in taxpayers between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on March 12. Not for filling out 1040s: Before you head out, though, note that the Saturday session is not to help taxpayers fill out their tax returns. Rather, IRS agents will help with such matters as... Read more →


Don't let filing your taxes scare you. Take that fear and turn it into awareness of common Form 1040 mistakes you need to avoid making. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels) The only thing worse than paying taxes is having to fill out the required paperwork every year. Just looking at a Form 1040, whether through the step-by-step Q&A lens of tax software or with the guiding hand of a tax pro, can send chills down the spines of most taxpayers, even those whose tax circumstances are relatively simple. There's that nagging fear that this is a test from Uncle... Read more →


Welcome to your first tax return filing. Yes, it can be frustrating, but these tips should help make your initiation into the taxpaying club a bit easier. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels ) Lucky you. You're filing your first tax return in 2022, a tax season that's still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Even in more normal tax times, filing your very first Form 1040 can be scary. But it doesn't have to be if you follow these eight steps a novice taxpayer can take to successfully make it through their first filing season. 1. Get organized. This is... Read more →


Taxpayer Advocacy Panel members provide information on how to improve the IRS at the agency's annual Tax Forums. (Photo courtesy TAP News) That old saying about everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it applies to most things. If you substitute "complains" for "talks," then it definitely applies to taxes. But with taxes, unlike the weather, there is a possibility for change. Really. The Internal Revenue Service is looking for volunteers to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP). The TAP is a federal advisory committee whose members look for ways the IRS can improve services and... Read more →


via GIPHY Getting fired is never fun. Most of us have been there or have a family member or close friend who's lost a job. Sometimes people get let go when they're paying for services. It happens every year at accounting and tax preparation offices across the United States. The reasons tax professionals cut some taxpayers loose are many and varied, as I blogged about years ago in my posts Are you a good or bad tax client? and Bad tax clients, revisited. All types of troublesome taxpayers: Sometimes, famous customers get dumped, too. Recent case in point, Donald J.... Read more →


Many taxpayers (and tax professionals) have felt frustrated in trying to get help from the IRS over the last few COVID-stricken years. It's not officially Kick the IRS While It's Down Day, but it seems like it. At a Senate Finance Committee hearing today on Internal Revenue Service customer service issues, the consensus, to put it as kindly as possible, is that it's not good. Critics of the IRS and those simply exploring ways to help the agency improve its operations didn't have to look far for problems. "By any measure, the 2022 tax filing season is shaping up to... Read more →


UPDATE, March 6, 2022: The IRS has announced the TACs that will be open on March 12. The link to the post with that information is in the "Special in-person Saturday hours" section below. As the April and May TAC Saturdays near, I'll add those follow-up post links there, too. The Internal Revenue Service is starting to emerge from the crush of COVID-19. No, it hasn't caught up with the pandemic-produced paperwork backlog. Sorry. However, the tax agency is resuming some face-to-face public outreach that was common in the before times. The IRS is opening some Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs)... Read more →


Eager tax filers, especially those with relatively uncomplicated returns, can now take advantage of Free File. The Internal Revenue Service and Free File Alliance of tax software manufacturers are open for filers. Just go to IRS.gov, click the File Your Taxes for Free line under How can we help you?" and you're there. 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. 8 participants in 2022: This year, the... Read more →


There aren't any surprises in National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins' annual report to Congress on the 2021 filing season. Something else that's not surprising is that Collins warns that things aren't likely to get any better for taxpayers, tax pros, or the Internal Revenue Service this year. Unprecedented tax annus horribilis: "Calendar year 2021 was surely the most challenging year taxpayers and tax professionals have ever experienced," wrote Collins in the prologue of the required report issued today, Jan. 12. The problems included long processing and refund delays, difficulty reaching the IRS by phone, correspondence that went unprocessed for... Read more →


The Child Tax Credit (CTC) was expanded as part of the COVID-19 relief bill signed into law by President Joe Biden. Instead of $2,000 per child, the CTC in for the 2021 tax year is $3,600 per child age 5 or younger. It's $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17. Part of the 2021 credit money is going out through the end of the year as advance payments. The October payments went out last Friday. Two more rounds, on the 15th of November and December, will be issued. Few of us will turn down money, so the credit increase and... Read more →


Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels Everyone needs help now and then. That truism especially applies to filing taxes. But not everyone can afford to hire a tax professional. That's where the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs come into play. For decades, these two programs have provided free tax preparation and filing assistance during the annual filing season to millions of lower- and middle-income taxpayers, as well as elderly filers. The Internal Revenue Service just announced its financial support for 334 VITA and TCE programs in 2022. Now the agency is looking... Read more →


Free tax-preparation and filing help is offered ever tax season through groups community groups nationwide, like this Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program run by the Summit-Medina, Ohio, United Way. As the COVID-compromised 2020 and 2021 tax filing seasons demonstrated, most taxpayers needed some help to make sure they got all the tax breaks they were entitled to, as well as just file their annual returns. That need for tax assistance isn't going away, even if we do (fingers and toes tightly crossed) get to a more normal tax season next year. And volunteers who've received the Internal Revenue Service... Read more →