2016 > January > Receive Free Help Filing Taxes

Receive Free Help Filing Taxes

This article appeared in a January 2016 issue of the student newsletter.

With the holidays over, a new season has arrived: Tax Season!

Spanning Jan. 19 to April 18, Tax Season means it is time to file your tax return and let the government know how much income you made in 2015.

Before you hire someone to help you, however, consider your options. You may qualify for free help filing your taxes. In fact, last year more than a million residents of Dallas County qualified! Sadly, few took advantage of this opportunity — instead paying an average of $273 each to file their tax returns.

Ouch. Talk about a missed opportunity, huh? It also cost the Dallas economy some big bucks (nearly $70 million in lost revenue).

Two Tax-Help Options: In-Person or Online

To see if you qualify for free tax prep services, choose which best describes you:

A. I earned less than $54,000 in 2015 and …

• I am not very tech savvy
• I have a complex tax return and/or I don’t understand English very well
• I would like to meet with someone in person to file my taxes

 or

B. I earned less than $62,000 in 2015 and …

• I am more tech savvy
• I have a simple tax return and/or I do understand English well
• I would like to file my taxes online using H&R Block software

or

C. I earned more than $62,000 in 2015.

If you chose A, that means you qualify for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).

Open days, evening and weekends, VITA offers free in-person tax prep services. An IRS-certified volunteer will help you prepare your tax return for filing. Help is available in English and Spanish at more than 30 locations in the DFW metroplex. Many locations are DART accessible.

If you chose B, that means you qualify for free tax help from MyFreeTaxes.

Available 100 percent online, MyFreeTaxes is a tax prep website that uses H&R Block software to help you complete your tax return for filing. There is an option to save your progress as you go and a customer support line you can call if you need help.

Note: You can file one federal return and up to three state returns using MyFreeTaxes. If you are filing jointly with your spouse, your entire household income for 2015 must be less than $62,000 to qualify for the MyFreeTaxes service.

If you chose C, that means you do not qualify for free assistance with filing your income tax return through VITA or MyFreeTaxes.

Make Your Money Go Even Further

Like saving money? MyMoneyDFW.com has tons of information about free resources and easy ways to make your money go further.

Features include:

  • Boost Your Income: benefits, tax credits, FAFSA, local programs
  • Manage Your Money: goal setting, saving, credit, debt, advanced tools
  • Protect Your Money: insurance, comparison shopping, payday loan alternatives
  • Find Local Support: free financial stability services

Tax Season: Important Dates in 2016

Many important dates surround tax season. Be sure to add these to your calendar ASAP. Like … right now!

  • Jan. 7: MyFreeTaxes website goes live
  • Jan. 18: VITA sites begin opening
  • Jan. 19: IRS begins accepting electronic tax returns
  • April 18: Last day to file

In addition, here are some helpful articles from Forbes: