This year, the Internal Revenue Service will begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns on Feb. 12, 2021. If you’d like to see more details about how to do it and how to navigate tax season this year based on your changing status, you can read more at . A number of go.usa.gov/xAVaGimportant reminders have been highlighted by the IRS to bring attention to the many special circumstances many people have encountered this year.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who received unemployment compensation in 2020, you should know this compensation is taxable and must be included as gross income on your tax return. Taxpayers can elect to have federal taxes withheld from their unemployment benefits or make estimated tax payments, but many do not take these options. In that case, taxes on those benefits will be paid when the 2020 tax return is filed. Taxes can be paid throughout the year. For safe and secure ways to pay taxes electronically go to IRS.gov/payments.
If the whole prospect of filing taxes sounds overwhelming, there are a number of places that you can get your taxes done for FREE or at a lower cost:
Here are some options to consider. Some actually file taxes and others are resources you can use to file your taxes. Most services have specific requirements to qualify for FREE or low-cost tax filing. Be sure and visit the website and talk with a representative about available options. In addition, many churches and non-profit organizations will help with tax filing so check with your local community resources too.
•Frontline workers may be able to file both federal and state tax returns for free through H&R Block’s expert-prepared, on-the-go service, Tax Pro Go. Frontline workers can simply visit www.hrblock.com/frontline and click the banner or any price to get started. They will be asked to upload a photo of a work ID to validate they are a police officer, firefighter, EMT or healthcare worker, and then the tax professional will apply the offer.
•The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) – The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.
•The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program – The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers FREE tax help to individuals who are age 60 or older. Cooperative grant agreements are entered into between IRS and eligible organizations to provide tax assistance to elderly taxpayers. The funds provided by the IRS are used by organizations to reimburse volunteers for their out-of-pocket expenses; including transportation, meals and other expenses incurred by them in providing tax counseling assistance at locations convenient to the taxpayers.
•Armed Forces Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program – The military-based Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) provides free tax advice and preparation, return filing, and other tax assistance to military members and their families. The Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC), consisting of tax program coordinators for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, oversees the operation of military tax programs worldwide and serves as the main Internal Revenue Service outreach conduit to military personnel and families. Airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines, and guardsmen and their families worldwide get tax preparation help at offices on their installations. VITA tax specialists are trained and equipped to address such military-specific tax issues as combat-zone tax benefits and the effect of the new Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) guidelines.
•AARP Tax Aid – Provides FREE tax preparation for people and are operated similar to the VITA and Tax Counseling for the Elderly. You can find a local Tax-Aide site by calling, toll-free, 1-888-227-7669 or find a location near you.
•eSmart Tax – Many FREE features plus itemized deductions, dependents, HSAs, ACA forms, and more.
•IRS Free File – Guidelines for income above and below $60,000 available on the website.
•My Free Taxes – The MyFreeTaxes Partnership provides free state and federal tax preparation and filing assistance for qualified individuals. It’s easy, safe, secure and 100 percent free. Sponsored by the Walmart Foundation — in cooperation with Goodwill Industries International, National Disability Institute, and United Way — the MyFreeTaxes Partnership’s online and in-person tax preparation and filing services have helped millions of families. Tax filing software is provided through MyFreeTaxes.com and powered by H&R Block.
•TaxACT – The online arm of Liberty Tax Services offers free federal filing with live chat assistance as you file a simple tax return. Prepare state taxes via the site for $14.95. Taxact.com is another provider offering free federal filing with no income restrictions, with a fee of $14.99 for the state return. For $17.99, you can get the “deluxe” edition, filing both federal and state with free phone support.
•Turbo Tax Federal FREE Edition – Get personalized, expert answers to your toughest tax questions. Our credentialed TurboTax experts, all CPAs and EAs, are here to talk to you one on one, by phone, if you need it. (Fees may apply*)
Rather file your taxes online instead of in person? There are lots of ways to do so for free — or on the cheap!
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