Thursday, March 10, 2011

4 ways to find free tax help

The Internal Revenue Service offers free assistance by computer, telephone and in person. The IRS can also help find free tax preparation sites for those who qualify. Here are four ways you can get the information you need to file your tax return.

1. The IRS website is a one-stop shop for a wide array of tax information.
You can even prepare and file your federal tax return through Free File, a service offered by IRS and its partners who make available free tax preparation software and free electronic filing. But you must go through to use Free File.

2. Taxpayer Assistance Centers.
When you believe your tax issue cannot be handled online or by phone and you want face-to-face assistance, you can find help at a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. Locations, business hours and an overview of services are available at Just go to the Individuals tab and click on the link for Contact My Local Office in the left tool bar section under IRS Resources.

3. Community Resources.
Free tax preparation is available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs in many communities. Volunteer return preparation programs provided through IRS and its partners offer free help in preparing simple tax returns for low-to-moderate-income taxpayers.

For a list of the 2011 VITA sites you can visit, or call 800-906-9887. You may also call AARP — the largest TCE participant — at 888-227-7669 (888-AARPNOW) or access to find the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site.

4. Telephone.
Call the IRS Tax Help Line for Individuals, 800-829-1040, to get answers to your federal tax questions. To hear pre-recorded messages covering various tax topics or check on the status of your refund, call 800-829-4477. TTY/TDD users may call 800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or to order forms and publications. To order free forms, instructions and publications call 800-829-3676.

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