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Receive Free Help Filing Your Taxes in 2017

This article appeared in a January 2017 issue of the student newsletter.

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

Spanning Jan. 23 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 2016.

Before you hire someone to help you, however, consider your options. You may qualify for free help filing your taxes. In fact, more than a million residents of Dallas County qualified during the 2015 tax season! 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 $53,000 in 2016 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

B. I earned less than $64,000 in 2016 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

C. I earned more than $64,000 in 2016.

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. 

Learn more about in-person tax prep services that are free.

If you chose B, that means you qualify for free tax help from MyFreeTaxes.
Available 100% 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 2016 must be less than $64,000 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? 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
    * Website also available in Spanish.

Tax Season: Important Dates in 2017

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

  • Jan. 17: VITA sites begin opening with free in-person tax services (you can see site opening dates on the Free Tax Center Map)
  • Jan. 23: IRS begins accepting electronic tax returns
  • April 18: Last day to file

In addition, here are some helpful articles from Forbes:

  • IRS Announces 2017 Tax Rates, Standard Deductions, Exemption Amounts and More
  • 10 Quick Facts About The Upcoming Tax Season That You Need to Know