Tax help Feed

Free File is back for its 22nd filing season. The no-cost tax preparation and e-filing partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and tax software manufacturers opened today, Friday, Jan. 12, to eligible taxpayers. This year, Free File eligible taxpayers are those whose 2023 adjusted gross income, regardless of filing status, was $79,000 or less. 8 software options: Eight private-sector tax software companies are part of this 22nd Free File season. They are — 1040Now Drake (1040.com) ezTaxReturn.com FileYourTaxes.com On-Line Taxes TaxAct TaxHawk (FreeTaxUSA) TaxSlayer Each IRS Free File provider sets its own eligibility rules for products based on age, income,... Read more →


Now that we know the Internal Revenue Service will start processing our 2023 tax returns on Jan. 29, taxpayers are thinking about how they'll deal with this annual filing task. Many taxpayers are concerned about tax law complexity. Some are looking for the most tax breaks that will get them a big refund. Others worry about the cost of filing. And all of us just want the process completed as painlessly as possible. Regardless of your tax concerns, you have lots of filing options. Here's a quick overview. Go pro: You can hire a tax professional, either an independent tax... Read more →


Photo by Anya Batalova on Unsplash We don't get many — OK, not any — kids dressed as ghosts on Halloween night. Our neighborhood's youngsters seem to prefer dressing as comic book icons turned movie characters. Heck, last week I even saw an adult, or a very tall teen, dressed as Spiderman, full-face mask included, during my last grocery store visit. But that's for another blog post. Or a call to the local authorities. Getting back to ghosts, notably those with tax connections. As I mentioned in an earlier post, ghost employees and ghost employers can wreak havoc when it... Read more →


Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash In these hectic times, you might think you don't have any more minutes to offer, especially in an unpaid capacity. But volunteering can pay off in unexpected ways. You can meet new people, and make new friends, who share your passion. Many times, you learn new skills, some of which could help advance your paying career. The satisfaction of helping others also just might make you happier. That's something that all of us could use. And if your inclination to assist involves taxes, then you are exactly who the Internal Revenue Service is seeking.... Read more →


Super helpful is how millions of taxpayers describe VITA and TCE volunteers each tax-filing season. The IRS has awarded new grants to keep the nationwide free tax preparation and filing programs going. (Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash) More than 62 million of us did our own taxes and e-filed them this tax season, at least through May 12, the date of the Internal Revenue Service's latest count. That represented almost 44 percent of all 2022 tax year filings so far. Some of those taxpayers, however, got some no-cost help from IRS-trained volunteers in filling out and electronically filing their... Read more →


The 2023 filing season officially ended for most U.S. taxpayers on Monday, the Oct. 16 extension deadline. Now the Internal Revenue Service is looking forward to next year. The agency today announced that its finalizing a Direct File program that will involve at least four states. Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and New York officials have decided be a part of the 2024 filing program, which will be under total IRS purview rather than in conjunction with the tax software industry as is the current Free File system. State tax help key: Getting the buy-in of California and New York, home to... Read more →


If you're just now getting to work on your extended 2022 tax return, which is due to the Internal Revenue Service by Monday, Oct. 16, don't panic. These tips will help you make the most of the little tax time left. (Image courtesy Taxpayer Advocate Service, which also has some tips for Oct. 16 filers.) It's almost Tax Day for extreme procrastinators. The extension you got for your 2022 return ends on Monday, Oct. 16. Since the tax clock is ticking, let's get right to these eight tips that can help you complete your Form 1040 by the fast approaching,... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Philip Oroni Get ready fellow taxpayers. Our robot tax overlords are here. Or rather, getting more here. The Internal Revenue Service began using artificial intelligence (AI) bots last year to help taxpayers complete some tax tasks, such as setting up a payment plan. Today, the agency announced that it is expanding its use of chatbots to help answer some tax notice questions. Specifically, the technology should help quickly answer basic questions for people who get notices about possibly underreporting their taxes. Those are CP2000, CP2501, and CP3219A mailings that tell taxpayers the information the IRS received... Read more →


New IRS digital tax plans aim to get both taxpayers and tax agency employees out from under such paper piles. It's not your grandparents' Internal Revenue Service anymore. The Treasury Department today announced that a new IRS paperless processing initiative will be available to taxpayers by the 2024 tax filing season. The following year, the IRS will more fully digitize its side of the tax paperwork equation. The multiyear moves, according to the Treasury press release, will eliminate up to 200 million pieces of paper annually, cut processing times in half, and expedite refunds by several weeks. The IRS receives... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images The Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Bill of Rights includes the right to challenge the tax agency's position and be heard when it comes to what it says you owe. But that's not always as easy as the official IRS stance might make it seem. True, the IRS has several alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, programs in place. These programs use an IRS mediator to resolve taxpayer-IRS differences, and may be faster and less costly than the often-lengthy traditional tax appeals process. GAO issues with IRS ADR options: However, a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)... Read more →


Photo by Cash Macanaya on Unsplash Any great change brings hopes and fears. The possibilities and threats of artificial intelligence (AI) becoming a regular part of our lives have ramped those hopes and fears up to level gazillion. On the positive side, tasks that take up an inordinate amount of time for us humans to do can be accomplished much more quickly by AI. That can make everyday life more convenient and enjoyable for many of us. The downside of that is that some of those tasks are paying jobs for people. Those folks are out of luck (and work)... Read more →


Need an in-person helping hand with a tax problem? New and reopened Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the United States and Puerto Rico could be the place to find it. Plus, the Internal Revenue Service is holding community visits in places far from TACs. (Photo by Austin Kehmeier on Unsplash). An IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) is your source for personal tax help when you believe your tax issue cannot be handled online or by phone, and you want face-to-face tax assistance. Now, with the money provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS is reopening TACs that had been... Read more →


We got word today that a person connected to the White House and who didn't pay all his due taxes is pleading guilty to tax evasion. No. It's not that person. It's Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden. The younger Biden has agreed to plead guilty to two charges of misdemeanor tax evasion and enter a pretrial diversion agreement on a firearm possession charge, according to a Justice Department court filing today in Delaware. The two tax charges carry a maximum of one year in prison as well as a $25,000 fine. The arrangement reportedly also includes repayment of... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service announced last week that during filing season 2024 it will run a pilot program in which some taxpayers will be able to file their returns directly with the tax agency for free. Such no-cost, direct filing has been the tax holy grail. There would be no private software middleman, as is now the case for Free File. All of us could just go to the IRS website and file our taxes. There would be no cost, regardless of our income or filing situation complexity. And unlike the IRS' current Free Fillable Forms, there would be computer... Read more →


Photo by Tim Mossholder Once this year's April tax filing deadline passed, most Americans were done with their annual Internal Revenue Service interaction. Some taxpayers, however, are still dealing with other, non-filing federal tax issues. They might be able to get some in-person help resolving those tax matters from IRS staff at one the agency's Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the country. Such help usually requires taxpayers to make a weekday appointment. But on May 13, the IRS' final walk-in Saturday of 2023 will mean that filers whose local TAC is open can come in, no appointment needed, for some... Read more →


Mike Mozart via Flickr CC In April 2019, the online investigative news site Pro Publica revealed that some major tax software companies who were part of the Internal Revenue Service Free File partnership instead used computer code to funnel taxpayers to their products' paid filing options. State officials soon started their own investigations into the tax preparation marketing tactic. The following year, Intuit, the corporate parent of the popular TurboTax tax prep program, reached a settlement agreement with all 50 states (via 49 state Attorneys General and the Hawai'i Office of Consumer Protection), and the District of Columbia. That deal... Read more →


The IRS gives the green light to improvements that should help small businesses in their interactions with the tax agency. As part of the kickoff of this year's annual National Small Businesses Week (NSBW), the Internal Revenue Service highlighted its current resources to help these business owners meet their tax responsibilities. Now, the agency has announced that more small business tax assistance options are on the way. The IRS' overall customer service, hiring, enforcement, and other priorities are spelled out in the agency's recently released Strategic Operating Plan. The IRS document details how it will spend the nearly $80 billion... Read more →


Tax filing time is ticking away. Make the most of these dwindling hours leading to the Tax Day deadline. (Photo by KoolShooters) If you've put off your tax filing until now, the day before your return is due, don't panic. You've still got time — but not much — to do the tax job right. These 10 last-minute filing tips can help you get the job done by tomorrow's 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, do have to fill out a... Read more →


Still have tax filing to complete on this last weekend before Tax Day, Tuesday, April 18? The following tips could help you salvage at least some of the coming Saturday, Sunday and, this year, Monday. (Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash) Do you have big weekend plans? Or are you going to be working on your 2022 tax return? Here are some tips on this final weekend — plus Monday's extra 24 hours because of Emancipation Day — to help you complete that Form 1040, maybe with enough time to still do what you really want on your days off.... Read more →


Photo by Porapak Apichodilok The Internal Revenue Service on Saturday held its third of four walk-in days at its Taxpayer Assistance Centers across the country. The final one will be on May 13. These special no-appointment-needed weekend events are great for taxpayers living in the United States and Puerto Rico. But what if you're a U.S. taxpayer abroad? IRS service for international taxpayers that formerly was offered at foreign posts of duty is no longer available. Now if you're a U.S. taxpayer abroad with specific individual or business account questions, you must contact the International Taxpayer Service Call Center by... Read more →