Tax help Feed

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 →


Artificial intelligence has long been a part of our lives, although most of that has been in popular culture depictions. The recalcitrant Hal who wouldn't open the pod bay doors in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner's deadly replicants evolved into Star Trek's more loveable Commander Data and all his TV and movie cousins, like I, Robot's Sonny, Voice-only Samantha in Her, and very human Dorian in Almost Human and Mia and pals in Humans. And bad bots are still out there, at least for entertainment purposes. This month, a warrior nun takes on an all-powerful, and evil, artificial... Read more →


Photo by Amina Filkins Lots of folks have taxes on their minds as Tax Day 2023 nears. It's April 18, in case you forgot. But some people aren't necessarily focusing on their 2022 returns. They're dealing with other worrisome tax matters. They might be able to get some help this Saturday. That day, the Internal Revenue Service is offering assistance to folks who have unresolved non-filing tax issues. Fifty IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) will be open on April 8 in 29 states and 2 U.S. territories. These facilities usually are open only on weekdays, and taxpayers must make appointments... Read more →


via Giphy The Internal Revenue Service is exploring how it can offer free tax filing on its own, no help from outside private tax software companies as is now the case. But the agency already offers a sort-of tax prep service. I, and the IRS, emphasize sort of. You still have to fill in some (possibly a lot of) paper forms. And you have to send them by U.S. Postal Service mail by Tax Day, which is April 18 this year. Plus, there are lots of limitations — income levels, forms that don't apply, deduction methods, and more — on... Read more →


Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash When you make a mistake on your Form 1040, the best thing that could happen is the Internal Revenue Service will catch your relatively insignificant error, fix it, and send you a notice about the change. A worse outcome is the IRS changes reduce and/or delay the refund you're expecting. And the absolute worst tax error outcome is that your mistake isn't a minor one, and the IRS decides to take a longer, closer look at your filing. The only way to avoid these situations is to double check your return to ensure it's... Read more →


Image via CFI Even before film makers began sticking extra scenes at the end of credits, I sat in the darkened theater until the last credit rolled. I do the same when I screen movies and television shows at home … when I can. As I tweeted today, I'd love it if streamers used an artificial intelligence (AI) program to note that I like to watch full show openings. And recaps. And all the closing credits. OK, not so much the information about who's dubbing the actors when the shows are streamed in other countries, but I do use that... Read more →


Photo by Army SPC Sara Wakai In addition to their duties as members of the armed forces, U.S. service members also have to answer to the Internal Revenue Service. When it comes to those taxes, many military men and women must deal with situations vastly different from civilian taxpayers. They also get some special tax considerations. Here are some resources to help members of the military community navigate their sometimes complex tax situations. Official IRS guide: The IRS' Armed Forces' Tax Guide is a good place to start. The 39-page PDF document, officially known as IRS Publication 3, covers the... Read more →


Photo by Tim Mossholder If you need some help with a tax that's NOT filing your annual return, Internal Revenue Service staff might be able to provide some in-person help this weekend. The second round of the agency's Saturday walk-in hours at certain Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) nationwide will take place on March 11. IRS TACs normally are open on weekdays only, and taxpayers must make appointments to receive services. TAC help options: But during these special Saturday hours, walk-ins are welcome to get the help that the centers usually provide, except for making cash tax payments. If you need... Read more →


You need to file your taxes, but you need help. You're on a tight budget, so you gave Free File a look. But you quickly discovered that you want more help than a tax software program provides. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) could be your answer. VITA and TCE sites are nationwide, usually at locations that are convenient for community residents to find and get to. They are staffed by Internal Revenue Service-trained volunteers. In many locations, the tax preparers are able to help taxpayers whose first language isn't English. And they are... Read more →


The IRS has been given millions of dollars to look into how to transform Free File from a partnership with private sector software companies into a system solely under the tax agency's control. Last year, the Internal Revenue Service received more than 152 million electronically filed tax returns. Nearly 67 million of those digital 1040s came directly from individual taxpayers. The 2023 filing season data so far seem to be a repeat of prior seasons. The IRS' weekly filing statistics, however, don't dive deeper into just how the individually sent e-filings were delivered. So we don't know how many of... Read more →


The IRS has implemented a document upload process to deal with certain tax notices that looks so easy, you shouldn't need your cat's, or any other, help to use it. (Photo by Ruca Souza) I've spent the last few days online, downloading documents we need to file our tax return, which I'll eventually do electronically. I am not alone. More of us handle most of our lives' issues online. In addition to taxes, we shop, bank, watch entertainment programs, and communicate with friends and family digitally. Now the Internal Revenue Service has expanded our electronic tax interaction options to help... Read more →


Free File 2023 has been open for almost a month. Have you tried it out yet? This partnership between Uncle Sam and the private tax software industry has been around since 2003. Free File's original mandate was to make electronic tax help available to taxpayers who might not be able to pay a tax professional or even afford tax software. However, the program hasn't really caught on as much as the Internal Revenue Service had hoped. Some of the lack of Free File enthusiasm might be attributed to roadblocks the program has encountered in recent years. Free File problems: Some... Read more →


Photo by RODNAE Productions Last year, as the country started emerging from COVID-19 closures, the Internal Revenue Service joined the resocialization. It opened some of its Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the country so individuals could get some face-to-face tax help, no appointments needed. That resumption of more-normal taxpayer interaction was such a success, the agency is doing it again this 2023 filing season. For one Saturday a month, beginning in February and continuing through May, TACs in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico will be open on four upcoming Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.... Read more →


Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich You tried doing your own taxes last week when the 2023 filing season officially opened, with tried being the operative word. It didn't take long to realize that you need more help. You didn't feel quite comfortable with the tax software you tried. And your tax circumstances are a bit more complex than those typically handled by the various tax preparation chains. So now you're looking for more professional, personal tax assistance. Be ready to wait: Good for you for admitting that your taxes are too important and confusing for you to deal with on your... Read more →


The Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, is one of the most beneficial tax breaks for lower- and moderate-income workers. It's also one of the most under-claimed. The reasons are many, starting with its complexity. You have to work to be able to claim the EITC. But if you make too much money, you're ineligible. Your marital status comes in the calculation of the final credit, as does the size of your family. And many single people ignore the EITC because they think it's only available to filers with dependent children. "This is an extremely important tax credit that helps... 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 →